1. At another level, the letter may be referring to the progress from venial to mortal sin. Se 1 John 5:16-17.

        1. Physical death is one punishment for sin. See Gen. 3:17-19; Ezek. 18:4; Catechism of the Catholic Church 400. But here, sin is presented as leading to an even deeper death, the death of goodness, when allowed to grow to maturity. See John 5:24; 1 John 1:3, 5:16; Rev. 2;11, 13. St. James will later describe final destruction as death. See James 5:20.

    1. As with St. Paul, there is a call for liberation from sin and death. See Rom. 6:15-23, 7:6, 25.

        1. This passage adds the phrase "Father of lights." At one level, that phrase could refer to God as the Father of the heights of creation, i.e., the sun, the moon and the stars. See Gen. 1:14-18, Ps. 136:7-9; Jer. 4:23, 31:35, Sir. 43:1-12. Those lights shining on in the world also reflect the fact that God is our light showing us the truth and the way of life. See, e.g., Ps. 27:1, John 1:3-5, 3;19-21, 8:12-20, 9:1-5, 39; Eph. 5;8; 1 John 1:5-7. At a deeper level, the passage is referring to those realms of the sun and the stars to give the reader an image of a realm beyond sin and death, without shadow or change, and give a sense of God's gifts coming from that glorious realm.

      1. This part begins with a comment on listening carefully, rather than speaking or reacting rashly. This advice reflects common advice in the Jewish wisdom literature. See, e.g., Prov. 1:8, 10:19, 15:1, 29:20; Sir. 4:29, 5:12-15, 6:33-35, 20:5-8; Eccl. 7:8-9. The focus is especially on restraining anger, which is contrary to the righteousness of God.

      1. The letter then calls for a cleansing that leads to receptiveness to God's word. There is the image of clearing a field of weeds and filth so that the word of God can be implanted and grow, see Mark 4;1-9, or perhaps of receiving clean clothes of righteousness, rather than filthy garments of sin that , see Rom. 13:12-14; Zech. 3;3-5. In any case, there is a notion that one must in a sense clean house that one's soul is fit to receive God. See Col. 3:8, 1 Pet. 2:1-3.

      1. The meekness here is docility to the word of God, to the calling of God. See Matt. 5:5.
      1. The letter then indicates the active aspects of the faith, calling upon Christians to live out our faith in deeds, contrasting merely hearing with hearing and acting.

      1. St. James hammers away at the point that living out ones faith is essential, saying that no one should consider himself religious, or believe that his religion has any value if he does not control his desires and act in a fashion that shows forth the love of God. He rapidly goes through three points that he will pick up on elsewhere.