In its purest essence, to be Christian requires that we be Christ-like.
Christ + ian
-ian --- a noun suffix meaning like, as, from
Christian === like, as, from Christ
22 Don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. 23 For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. 24 You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. 25 But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.
26 If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. 27 Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.
James 1 NLT
Dr Easton notes
The object of the writer was to enforce the practical duties of the Christian life. "The Jewish vices against which he warns them are, formalism, which made the service of God consist in washings and outward ceremonies, whereas he reminds them ( 1:27 ) that it consists rather in active love and purity; fanaticism, which, under the cloak of religious zeal, was tearing Jerusalem in pieces ( 1:20 ); fatalism, which threw its sins on God ( 1:13 ); meanness, which crouched before the rich ( 2:2 ); falsehood, which had made words and oaths play-things ( 3:2-12 ); partisanship ( 3:14 ); evil speaking ( 4:11 ); boasting ( 4:16 ); oppression ( 5:4 ). The great lesson which he teaches them as Christians is patience, patience in trial ( 1:2 ), patience in good works ( 1:22-25 ), patience under provocation ( 3:17 ), patience under oppression ( 5:7 ), patience under persecution ( 5:10 ); and the ground of their patience is that the coming of the Lord draweth nigh, which is to right all wrong ( 5:8 )."
"Justification by works," which James contends for, is justification before man, the justification of our profession of faith by a consistent life. Paul contends for the doctrine of "justification by faith;" but that is justification before God, a being regarded and accepted as just by virtue of the righteousness of Christ, which is received by faith.