James 1:12-18 NASB
Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures.
Do Not Be Deceived!
No matter where I read in scripture, whether in the Old Testament or the New Testament, a central message comes shining through, which is God’s purpose for our lives. And, that is that Jesus (God the Son) died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. For God, all throughout history, sacrificed himself for us so that we might die to sin and live for him.
The purpose of our salvation is to transform us, not just to forgive us. If I had to summarize the message of the entire Bible, it would be that God’s purpose is that we turn from our sins and that we follow Him in obedience and in surrender to His will. For, ever since Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden it has been God’s plan and purpose to restore us to himself and to make us into a holy people, set apart for him and for his purposes.
Because this is true, not only did Jesus Christ give his life up for us on a cross, taking our sins upon himself, and then be resurrected back to life, so that we could die to sin and live to righteousness, but we will go through trials on this earth to purify our hearts, to mature us in Christ, to teach us endurance, and to test, try and prove our faith to be genuine, if it is.
In other words, our salvation is not a one-time experience, then heaven is guaranteed us, and then we go about life on this earth until we die. Our salvation is progressive, and we must endure to the end, and we must walk according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh, if we want to have that hope of eternal life with God in glory. For, you see, the crown of life is promised to those who love the Lord, and those who love the Lord will obey him.
This is not works-based salvation, though, as some would have you believe. Read the New Testament, book by book, and chapter by chapter, and you will see that our salvation is not guaranteed us if we do not walk in obedience to the Lord. But, this is also not about having to be absolutely perfect, either, or a hammer is hanging over our heads.
We will reap what we sow, though. If we sow to please the flesh, from the flesh we will reap destruction and (spiritual) death. But, if we sow to please the Spirit of God, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life. Walking in sin will result in us dying in our sins without Christ and without the hope of heaven. Walking according to the Spirit will result in eternal life with God.
So, don’t be deceived by those who would tell you that you can be “saved” and have heaven guaranteed you and that not be followed with a daily walk of faith and commitment to Jesus Christ as your Lord.
We are saved (past), we are being saved (present) and we will be saved (future) when Christ returns and our salvation is complete. And during that process, our faith will be tried and tested, and if our lives (how we live them) prove our faith to be genuine, then we will receive the crown of life God has promised “to those who love him.”
James 1:19-25 NASB
This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.
Be Doers of The Word
I don’t know how people come up with a false grace gospel which requires no death to sin, no repentance, no obedience and no surrender to Christ. For, the scriptures declare the truth of the gospel all over the place, consistently. We must put to death, by the Spirit, the misdeeds of our flesh and we must walk according to the Spirit in holiness and in Christ’s righteousness – all in the power and working of God’s Spirit within us.
The scriptures are given to us for us to read, and we in America are so blessed to have the scriptures so readily available to anyone who wants to read them, too. There is no excuse in America for anyone to not be able to have access to the Bible, I would think, since they are so easy to attain. Even the poorest people in the USA have access to the internet and can read the Bible there or at the library.
Yet, the Bible is not just for the purpose of reading for the sake of knowledge. The Bible is given to us that we might live out what we are instructed to do in it.
But, let me add here that we must discern what is Old Covenant and what is New Covenant. For, we are not under the old ceremonial and purification laws of the Old Covenant. We are under grace, but that grace is not free license to continue in sin without guilt, either.
God’s grace to us and his gospel message to us is the same message of the Old Testament, and that is that we must leave our lives of sin behind us to follow our Lord in obedience and in submission to his will for our lives. We must be doers of the Word and not hearers only. We must not read the scriptures and then close the book and walk away and forget what we read and not apply its truths to our hearts and lives.
For, if we claim to have fellowship with God, but we still walk in darkness, we are liars who do not live by the truth (See: 1 Jn. 1:5-9; cf. Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:19-21; Gal. 6:7-8; etc.).
If we are hearers only, and not doers of the Word, then we are deluded, because we have bought into Satan’s lies which tell us that it doesn’t matter what we do. But, it does matter! And, our eternity depends on it! And, our spiritual lives on this earth depends on it, too. Thus, being doers of the Word is not optional for a believer in Jesus. For, it is the Word of God living within us and out through us that is able to save our souls.
We have to abide by the Word of God and be an effectual doer of the Word if we want to have the blessings of God in our lives. And, those blessings include our salvation, freedom from slavery to sin, power to walk in holiness and righteousness, and peace, joy, and assurance of our relationship with our Lord, of his care over our lives, and of our eternal life with him.
The sun comes up
It’s a new day dawning
It’s time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass
And whatever lies before me
Let me be singing
When the evening comes
Bless the Lord oh my soul
Oh my soul
Worship His Holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I’ll worship Your Holy name…
Thursday, August 2, 2018 – Thank You, Jesus, for your love for us, and for giving your life for us so that we can be free of sin’s deceitfulness and walk in your love, in obedience to your word, and by your grace. Amen!