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Thursday: James “the Just” — 8 Comments

  1. James gave us a couple of worthy principles:

    But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
    But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
    James 1: 22-25

    He was concerned that Christianity did not become just an intellectual pursuit or a repetitive liturgy but extended into practical every day life. Today we could probably make the distinction between theoretical and practical Christianity. If all we get is the theory then what is the use of it.

    I have made the illustration before that I studied electricity as a physicist, and in so doing I learned a lot about it. But I am not an electrician. An electrician may not know as much about electricity as a physicist, but he knows the practicality of wiring up a house in such a way that it does not electrocute people or start fires. That is practical knowledge gained by years of experience.

    James had the same approach to our spiritual lives. In fact he goes as far as saying:

    Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. James 1:27

    Now what could be more practical than that. And in the light of recent comments, how does that relate to preaching the Three Angel's Messages?

  2. If we see salvation in terms of escaping the punishment that a righteous and holy God 'must inflict' upon sin, we tend to see such escape as the core necessity - and living a life of self-renouncing love then becomes something that 'should' be tacked on in a gratitude response.

    But what if salvation is instead about actual restoration from a terminal condition (ie the inherent 'perishing' referred to in Jn 3:16, 2 Pet 3:9, Ps 1:6 and explained in Gal 6:8) that is caused by sin itself (see Gal 6:8 as Paul's more detailed description of what he is referring to in Rm 6:23)? If this was the case, would not the actual restoration back to living a life of self-renouncing love then become the core necessity and therefore focus?

    And would not this awareness be a much more powerful motivation for the necessity of salvation as how we live and treat others on a daily basis - simply because that is the only way true (abundant) life can viably work?

    And wouldn't the doing of this inherently vindicate God's character against the charges that Satan leveled against God - that there was another and allegedly superior way of living that was possible and that God was arbitrarily holding Adam and Eve back from that allegedly viable reality?

  3. James 1:27
    27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

    Pure - what is pure and holy?
    Being separated from the world living in a cave or a hilltop away from the world.
    Absolutely not, to live to share the love of God to others.
    set apart to serve others.
    My wife grew up without a father in India many were life struggles.
    One time when she did not have money to pay for her tuition, a man came from USA visiting the nursing school asked whom he could help.
    My wife's tuition was paid and she was able to continue her education.
    He never met her just simply paid the money and left.
    Christianity is the only religion regardless of race, color or creed extends a helping hand across the gulf.

    undefiled and unspotted
    It was much easier for God to deliver the Israelites from Egypt.
    God was unable to deliver Egypt from the heart of the Israelites.
    It's not because He is incapable His love for us is greater than His will.

    Truth - Living the truth of God no matter the circumstances.
    Justice - Standing for the justice regardless of the outcome.
    Righteousness - Being morally upright Acts 24:24-26
    Love - embrace humanity in love John 3:16

    Job 29: 7 - 17 This passage demonstrates the practice of truth, justice and righteousness and love in the life of Job.

  4. In reading James 2. Have some of our beloved SDA churches/congregations departed from the faith of Jesus? Are we in line with the book of James?
    My observation at some congregations- assign seats for some members(rich), reserved seats (rich). Parking lot has assigned lots for certain people, (your vehicle will be towed away if park in this spot), certain people have special wash rooms/restrooms/toilets (rich). The list can go on and on. James is saying whether rich or poor we should all be treated the same. Is this practical for our congregations. Do we only invite the rich brothers and sisters to our children birthday party and leave the poor out because we remember they invited us the last time to theirs?
    How have we fallen from grace. It is only by the power of the Holy Spirit that our eyes can be open to see our wrongs.

    • May God help us to preach and fulfill our preaching with charitable deeds lest we become barking dogs which dont bite... Thank you Lyn with your comment(s) *... May God give us confidence as individuals and improve our love for one another in the church and out of church.

  5. “If we love one another, God dwells in us, and His love is perfected in us.” (Ellen G. White, 10/20/1898). “ John and Judas are representatives of those who profess to be Christ’s followers. Both these disciples had the same opportunities to study and follow the divine Pattern. Both were closely associated with Jesus and were privileged to listen to His teaching. Each possessed serious defects of character; and each had access to the divine grace that transforms character. But while one in humility was learning of Jesus, the other revealed that he was not a doer of the word, but only hearer. One, daily dying to self and overcoming sin, was sanctified through the truth; the other, resisting the transforming power of grace and indulging selfish desires, was brought into bondage to Satan. Such transformation of character as is seen in the life of John is ever the result of communion with Christ. There may be marked defects in the character of an individual, yet when he becomes a true disciple of Christ, the power of divine grace transforms and sanctifies him.“ (The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 558, 559). “Much more than sermonizing is included in preaching the gospel. The ignorant are to be en- lightened; the discouraged uplifted; the sick are to be healed. The human voice is to act it’s part in God’s work. Words of tenderness, sympathy, and love are to witness to the truth. Earnest heartfelt prayers are to bring the angels.” (Welfare Ministry, p.32)

    • Sorry this is off topic. But Sylvia. I was discussing your comments with my sister Sylvia Woodward in Riverside California.
      Small world.

  6. In the story that James tells, there is nothing that lets us know why the rich man came to the church. It occurred to me that a rich person might come to a church because he heard of its works of charity to the poor, the widows and the orphans. It might be that his heart was yearning to do a work for God and he wanted to unite himself with a group that would help him meet this goal.

    If that was the case, how disheartening it would be to enter the church and be treated with deference at the expense of a poor man.

    Just a thought.


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