In which I don’t want to be a hearer of forgetfulness.

by Craig on February 10, 2011

But the one who peers into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres, and is not a hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, such a one shall be blessed in what he does. (James 1:25)

Book of James, perfect law of freedom, doer, grace, worksIt’s right there in the words

“…the perfect law of freedom” will bring me blessing in what I do.


I scrutinize it, and pour over it, and analyze and explore it.

But it takes more than this. I know from experience. Because for a very long time I scrutinized, poured over, analyzed, and explored it to death. I “knew” much but didn’t do enough with the knowledge I had.

Then Luke 12: 35-48 ran headlong into me.

In short, much was given, and so much was required, and given the amount I was given – I fell way short. But from the beginning I told God I wanted to be his, in line with him. So he gave me time

and when he knew he had to

when I was almost too far away

maybe because there was no other way

he both allowed and brought about

loving but massively harsh discipline,

to give me what I said I wanted from the beginning – and bring me back in line.

Now I study just as hard, look just as intently, but the knowledge travels to both my brain and my heart – and gets intentionally acted upon. I will never again be, as this verse says literally in the Greek…

ἀκροατὴς   ἐπιλησμονῆς

(sounds like: hakroatase hepilaysmonase – remember, when you say it, to sound like a Greek chef)

I’ll never again be…

“the hearer of forgetfulness”

Instead of that, it’s now all about being, again, literally in the Greek…

ποιητὴς    ἔργου

(poyaytase ergoo)

I am committed to being…

“a doer of the work”

And there’s the word at the center of the whole Grace / Works debate — “works”. The infamous James “faith without works is dead” verse sure isn’t going to come out of left field.

No wonder Martin Luther hated this book. James is all about being a doer of the works – and Mr. Luther – not a big fan of that theology.

What this so clearly tells me – what all of the Book of James tells me, is that if I am not

moment by moment,

living out the gospel,


and obeying,

then the fact that I know the gospel,

or had a response moment,

or believe it,

isn’t enough.

There always has to be “so what” when I look at Scripture.

So what’s the “so what” here?

When someone sees me doing something it had better be either neutral, or engaging in the work of love. What I do counts. And James isn’t suggesting. He’s not saying  it would be nice if I did the work. He’s saying only the one who does the work, will be blessed in what they do. He’s saying I better be about doing the work.

And he doesn’t mean to get all legalistic.

Lord knows I heart the “spirit of the law”

and not so much the “letter of the law”.

I think that James is saying that I’m a Christian, first, and above all, because of the Grace of God, but you can also tell I’m Christian because I do the work.

Imperfectly of course – but it’s what I’m aiming for day by day.

Here’s the thing,

to know is good,

to do is better,

To know – and to do – that’s the best.

And what about this  “perfect law of freedom”?

What’s up with that?

That’s tomorrow.

Actually, I’m probably writing it as you read these words.

God Bless

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymuss February 10, 2011 at 10:05 am

I hear you; if we say we are Christians but don’t have any of the markings of Christians then…..? So true, Craig.

I think the best kind of ‘doing’ comes out of ‘I want to’ rather than ‘I have to’ so hopefully we are so compelled by the love of Christ and Who He is that we obey out of a gratitude love for Him rather than an obligatory love (heart, too, not just head). When I think of how I would want someone to love me, I wouldn’t want a love based on ‘should’; I would want a love based on desire (not ungodly desire).


Craig February 10, 2011 at 10:25 am

I agree A. We “do” because we want – but we also do when we don’t want because it’s what he wants. No?


Anonymuss February 10, 2011 at 11:21 am

Craig, true. Even when we don’t want but because we know He does. Yes.


Anonymuss February 10, 2011 at 11:21 am

That is mature love, I think.


Craig February 10, 2011 at 11:49 am

But you are right too A. The best obedience springs from the heart – the wanting to please Our Heavenly Father – it’s from the wanting to do good – not the following of rigid rules – many man made – many being more strict than Scripture. Amen A. Your point is understood – and it’s important. Obedience from the heart – better than obedience from Rules. God Bless. :-)


Debbie February 11, 2011 at 1:44 am

This was so well written and explained. Thank you for addressing that works vs. grace debate. It’s not really debatable, is it? Not put like this. This blesses me and helps me to know that there is nothing wrong with “works” . . .that I’m not trying to save myself through them, but am just loving Him and being obedient because of His grace and work on the cross for me.
God bless you and all the work you do because of His love!


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