James finishes his letter with a call to prayer. Although it may seem unexpected, it is totally appropriate when we think that in order to become "perfect and complete" we must rely on God's power. Prayer is reliance on God's power! When we embody this truth ourselves, we become a community of prayer and praise in a world of self-sufficiency and entitlement. We embody the kingdom of God.
James understood how critical God-given wisdom is for enduring trials (1:5). But he also knew the human tendencies to rely on self-guidance and worldly advice when tough times arise. In this section James reminds us that real faith produces gospel wisdom, which in turn produces gospel fruit. James shows us that our goodness comes from God-given wisdom, not our own human wisdom. We see that God's people are to be a community of fruitful, gospel wisdom in a world of envy, jealousy and selfish ambition.
After James discusses the importance of our works over simply saying you believe, he now contends that our words are very much important to our faith, too. So which is it? Should we focus on our demonstration or our declaration of faith? What we find, as we look into the wisdom of James, is that both our works and our words flow from our worship. With hearts rooted in the love of Christ, we will bear the fruit of a faith that speaks and acts.
If we are saved by faith alone, solely because of God's grace, why would James use such bold words about the works we are supposed to have? Just as an apple tree, sprouting from the seed of an apple, will produce the fruit of more apples, as we are rooted in the loving works of Christ we will produce, through the power of the Spirit, more works of love... because of his grace!
James continues to encourage God's people to become "perfect and complete" (1:4), wholehearted in their devotion to God as they love others, especially the poor. In this section James teaches that followers of the "Lord Jesus Christ" (2:1) will not show favoritism, for faith in Christ is in no way compatible with partiality toward others. Real faith fights against prejudice. Real faith produces self-giving love. The Christian community is under the "law of liberty" and now free to demonstrate equalizing love in a world that thrives on status and privilege. In addition, the people of God are to be known for their solidarity with the poor and vulnerable, showing utter dependence on God in a world of self-sufficiency.