(1) James no doubt has eternal or eschatological
salvation in mind when he uses σῶσαι in 2:14. Note
how this disciple of Christ refers to salvation
elsewhere in his letter:
"Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of
naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted
word, which is able to save [σῶσαι] your souls" (James
"There is one lawgiver, who is able to save [σῶσαι]
and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?"
(James 4:12 KJV).
"Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner
from the error of his way shall save [σώσει] a soul
from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins" (James
(2) In 2:14, James is not contending that faith is
unable to save humans. To the contrary, he is arguing
that a certain type of faith (ἡ πίστις), viz., faith
divorced from godly works, cannot save the man or
woman professing to have such "faith."
(3) James does not teach that Christians are still
subject to the Law of Moses. In context, he is making
the point that those who were under the Law could
easily become offenders against the entire Law, if
they transgressed in one point. James shows in
2:12 that Christians are not subject to the ancient
Law of Moses, but are going to be judged "by the law
of a free people" (NWT). He probably appeals to
the Law, however, because those reading or hearing the
epistle read were familiar with Jewish precepts and
statutes. Furthermore, James wanted his audience to know that
there is judgment under "the law of a free people."
Yet "Mercy exults triumphantly over judgement."