when I was studying the Book of James…
and then got sidetracked,
and then sidetracked,
and sidetracked again?
I have biblical ADHD.
So I better catch myself up before digging in. Lets see…
James has so far written about: trials, and wisdom, and faith, and doubt, and pride, temptation, and joy, and our unchangeable Father of Lights, and the magic that is his “word of truth”, and quick listening, and slow anger, and getting rid of the bad and putting on the good…
a classic James verse
James 1:21, “Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves.”
Oh James, how I have missed you.
We know James has a really famous verse coming up later – one that he’s warming us up for.
I never before took this verse, this “doer” verse, as a preamble to the “faith without works is dead” one – but it kind of seems obvious to me now.
My behavior counts, it’s not just James that says it.
And in the whole faith/works debate thing?
People are always throwing out “proof texts”.
But stuff doesn’t really mean much without context.
here is the Apostle Paul,
who people like to say opposes James – and his view of how our behavior counts for salvation.
And it’s in context just to be sure:
“Therefore, you are without excuse, every one of you who passes judgment. For by the standard by which you judge another you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, do the very same things. We know that the judgment of God on those who do such things is true. Do you suppose, then, you who judge those who engage in such things and yet do them yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you hold his priceless kindness, forbearance, and patience in low esteem, unaware that the kindness of God would lead you to repentance? By your stubbornness and impenitent heart, you are storing up wrath for yourself for the day of wrath and revelation of the just judgment of God, who will repay everyone according to his works: eternal life to those who seek glory, honor, and immortality through perseverance in good works, but wrath and fury to those who selfishly disobey the truth and obey wickedness.” (Rom 2:1-9)
That’s some pretty tough stuff from a guy everyone says is all Grace, all the time – and never ever “works”.
I think that once I’ve heard the word of truth, and don’t do my faith – I’m asking for eternal trouble.
And of course I can’t do my faith perfectly – that’s why there’s Grace.
The striving, the intentional living, the will to do faith – that’s the thing.
But, like James is warming up to his famous “faith without works” verse,
I’ll stop right here for now too.
Lots of context will be needed for that verse – and it’s a long way off.
Tomorrow some more good stuff about this verse.
I heart this verse.