But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
Our salvation brings with it changes in our hearts, in our minds and our perception of the world around us. And it does so because of the process of sanctification. Sanctification is God’s process of spiritual growth carried out by the Holy Spirit in all followers of Jesus. Our eyes which were once closed because of sin have now been opened by God’s grace. These changes reflect the new heart we have been given and the new love we have for Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Therefore a Christian, born again in the spirit cannot help but to be a doer of the word and not a hearer only. James in this verse is not giving us a passive suggestion, but an imperative command of the Lord. And that is to carry out our faith in our day to day lives. This is such a serious command that the Holy Spirit through James gives us a warning. All those who claim to be Christian and yet are only hearers of the word have made a serious and grave miscalculation regarding their faith.
They need to truly evaluate their relationship with Christ in order to determine if they are truly found with faith and trust in Jesus accepting Him as their Lord, Savior, God and King. The word for “deceived” used above refers to someone who miscalculates a math problem and derives at the wrong answer. And here it’s used to caution against a false salvation not based on God’s grace alone through faith in Jesus alone and not in any good deeds we may perform. The word used for “be” in “be doers” is the Greek word “ginomai” which means we are born into a new position. In other words, we have been changed into a new person as doers of the word. So if we were to sum up what God is telling us we would say that real faith produces genuine works. Genuine works are acts of love and kindness, which are pleasing to God, and done by us as a natural byproduct of the love we have for Jesus. If that by product of love is missing from our lives, then we must look closely at our faith. We need to truly evaluate and determine if what we have is real saving faith. Or have we made a grave spiritual miscalculation with eternal consequences. Consequences that will separate us from God for all eternity. And we must remember God is not looking for good people, God is looking for sinners who have given their lives and hearts to Jesus, by faith alone.