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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.

The High Christology of the book of James

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Dale Allison: we know next to nothing about the Christology of our author...The Ebionites, according to the church fathers, did not believe in Jesus' divinity. What did James believe? We do not know (James: A Critical and Exegetical Commentary, ICC, page 90-91). 


On the contrary, we do know that James believed the Lord Jesus is God.

1. James referred to himself as a slave of Christ (James 1:1).[*1]

2. The Lord Jesus is the the Lord of glory (James 2:1; Psalm 24:10[*2]; cf. 1 Corinthians 2:8)

3. The name of Jesus is the beautiful name called upon us (James 2:7).[*3]

4. The Lord Jesus is the absolute Lawgiver and Judge (James 4:12; cf. James 5:9).

5. The will of the Lord Jesus is supreme (James 4:15; cf. Acts 21:13-14; Ephesians 5:17).

6. James employs the expression "in the name of the Lord" in equality to God the Father (James 5:10) and to the Lord Jesus (James 5:14).

7. The Lord Jesus is the Lord who receives prayer and praises are to be sung unto Him (James 5:13-15; cf. Ephesians 5:19).



[*1] This means that the Lord Jesus is the proper recipient of worship for in the Old Testament a slave of the Lord "applied to individuals who are worshippers of Yahweh, desire to reverence his name or are his humble suppliants" (Slave of Christ: A New Testament Metaphor for Total Devotion to Christ, Murray Harris, page 132). 

It also signifies that the Lord Jesus is God:

Murray Harris: The very existence of the phrase 'slave of Christ' alongside 'slave of God' in New Testament usage testifies to the early Christian belief in Christ's deity. Knowing the expression 'slave of the Lord' from the Septuagint, several New Testament writers - John, Peter, Paul, James and Jude - quietly substitute 'Christ' for 'the Lord', a substitution that would have been unthinkable for a Jew unless Christ was seen as having parity of status with Yahweh (ibid., page 134, the underlined is mine). 


The Expositor' Greek Testament (James 1:1): Generally speaking, to the Jew δοῦλος ( עֶבֶד), when used in reference to God, meant a worshipper, and when used with reference to men a slave; as the latter sense is out of the question here, δοῦλος must be understood as meaning worshipper, in which case the deity of our Lord would appear to be distinctly implied. 


[*2] As the Lord of glory He is to be ascribed glory (Psalm 29:1; 2 Peter 3:18)


[*3]  Bruce Chilton and Jacob Neusner: Finally, we may notice that the "beautiful name" invoked over Christians according to James 2:7 is most likely the name of Jesus invoked in baptism. But it corresponds to a usage in the Hebrew Bible and later Jewish literature, according to which God's ownership of his own people Israel is indicated by referring to them as those "over whom the name of YHWH has been invoked" (e.g., Deut. 28:10; 2 Chron. 7:14; Dan. 9:19). This treatment of the name Jesus as equivalent to the divine name of the God of Israel is a piece with the considerable influence of Joel 2:32 ("everyone who call on the name of YHWH shall be saved"), understood Christologically, in early Christian usage (Acts 2:21, 38, where it is connected to baptism in the name of Jesus; Acts 9:14, 21; 22:16; Rom. 10:13; 2 Tim. 2:22). Once again the implicit Christology is high (The Brother of Jesus: James the Just and his mission, page 135, the underlined is mine).



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