Chapter 3 adds another dimension to our Christian maturity by discussing how we utilize our words in our teaching and in general when speaking to or about people. The quality and content of our speech show how much spiritual knowledge we have let to grow in us. Our speech should bring glory to God.
The main theme of chapter 3 is righteousness and peace through Jesus Christ. As Christians, our goal is to live out this truth in our daily lives. We must be careful with what we say because it can either help or hurt others as they seek the Lord. Our words should lead people to faith in Jesus Christ. When we speak, we should allude to Jesus at some point during our conversation.
Our speech should also promote harmony and unity among those who believe in Him. Since we belong to different backgrounds and cultures, it's important that we learn how to communicate effectively with other people. This means showing them respect and not being judgmental while still sharing the truth with them.
Finally, our speech should lead people to love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength and then others will be drawn to Him too.
James 3:10-12 says "The tongue is a fire, the most dangerous of weapons. It can burn up happiness and destroy relationships before they have a chance to grow. So use your tongue wisely."
James 2 expands on the concept of maturity introduced at the beginning of the book. When James begins his letter, he encourages his readers to see adversities as opportunities for growth rather than hurdles to bemoan. He claims that every difficulty we face helps us grow as Christians. If we lament over setbacks that occur in our faith, we deny ourselves the benefit of learning from them.
Maturity allows us to recognize good things when they happen to us and not focus only on the bad. It means being able to discern what is beneficial from what is harmful. Maturity also prevents us from being swayed by popular opinion or the desires of our flesh. Our priorities are straight; there are no distractions holding us back.
James 2:14-26 explains that even though we may experience trials, they are really opportunities that help us grow if we will only take them that way. We need to look at problems from God's perspective instead of from ours. If we do that, we can hope beyond the trial itself because we know that God has a purpose for everything that happens to us.
The topic of growth in faith continues into chapter 3 where James talks about tests that come from outside ourselves. He says that such trials reveal whether we are truly living according to God's intentions for our lives or not. If we remain constant despite external pressure, then we have proven ourselves to be children of God.
The notion of redemption as an act of grace on God's behalf is masterfully reinforced throughout the second part of the chapter. The gospel message is that God provides forgiveness as a gift, and we get it by faith, not via good actions. Jesus' death also served to atone for our sins.
The purpose of Paul's letter was to refute any claim that people could earn their way into heaven by obeying the law. Since salvation is by grace through faith, there are no works required of anyone to be saved from judgment.
People can fall away from Christ and go to hell, but Christ can also raise them back to life through his church. Those who have been born again cannot be lost; they can only fail to keep growing in their new life in Christ.
God is always ready to save us, but we have to open our hearts to him. Jesus paid for our sins so that we don't have to. We can trust in him and receive his free gift of salvation.