James 3:1-2 ESV
“Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.”
The only perfect person to walk this earth was Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the second person of our triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. When he lived on this earth, he was both fully God and fully man. Although he was tempted in like manner in which we are all tempted, he was without sin.
We, as human beings, are born with sin natures, separate from God, and unable in ourselves to be acceptable to God. So, Jesus Christ became our sacrifice for our sin when he became sin for us in his death on a cross. He died on that cross, in putting our sin to death, that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness (1 Pet 2:24).
So, through God-given faith in Jesus Christ, in being crucified with Christ in death to sin, and in being resurrected with Christ to newness of life in him, we can be delivered from our slavery to sin, and from the control of sin over our lives, and daily, by the Spirit, we can be putting sin to death (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9).
Yet, just because we have been delivered from the control of sin over our lives so that we can now walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh, it doesn’t mean we will never sin again (1 Jn 2:1-2), but that sin should no longer have dominion over us.
But lack of perfection and a continued propensity to sin should never be used as an excuse for willful, habitual, and premeditated sin against God. Jesus Christ died on that cross to make the way for us to say “NO” to sin, to die to sin daily, and to daily say “YES” to Jesus in submission to him.
So, what’s the bottom line here? Yes, not one of us is perfect. Yes, we all stumble in many ways, but this is not talking about us living and walking in sin. This is not speaking of us still being under the control of sin and Satan. This is merely confessing the reality that not one of us is perfect.
But there is a caution here, especially for those of us who are teachers of the word of God. We must be very guarded in our hearts against sin, and it must be our daily practice to be putting sin to death and to be living for the Lord in doing what he says.
James 3:3-5 ESV
“If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.”
Just because the tongue is difficult to tame, it doesn’t mean it is impossible to bring under self-control. Yes, we will probably all have those momentary lapses of self-control where we slip and say something we wish we had not said, but this is not to say that the tongue cannot be mastered.
As followers of Jesus Christ we have the Holy Spirit living within us empowering us to say “No” to sin and “Yes” to God daily. And, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. So, we can exercise self-control.
If we ask for the Lord to help us in this, he will help us. If we ask the Holy Spirit to prompt or to nudge us when we even think to say something we shouldn’t or when we even begin to say something that is not best, he will, but we then have to listen and stop when he prompts us.
Then, we may need to apologize or make a confession of wrongdoing, and/or we may have to correct what we just said, or if stopped in time, we may just have to stop what we were going to say and just say, “I am not going to go there.”
For, whether we are teachers of the Word or not, as followers of Jesus, we are all to lead others to Jesus by our own example. Thus, we should make every effort in the power of God’s Spirit living within us, to live pure and holy lives, pleasing to God.
None of us should be teaching above what we are living, especially if while giving the impression that we are living it. We should be honest and sincere in our teaching, and not hypocritically judge others for doing what we are doing, and especially if we are doing much worse than them.
But, if we walk by the Spirit, we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. And, if we follow Jesus, we will not walk in the darkness, but we will have the light of life. Daily we must die with Jesus to sin, deny self, and follow our Lord Jesus in obedience.
[Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Pet. 2:24; 1 Co. 6:20; 2 Co. 5:15, 21; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; 1 Jn. 2:3-6]
The Lord’s Anointed
An Original Work / December 16, 2011
Based off Isaiah 61
The Spirit of the Sov’reign Lord on me;
Anointed to preach the Good News;
Sent me to bind up the brokenhearted;
Proclaim freedom for the captives.
He sent me to preach release for pris’ners
Who are walking in sin’s darkness;
Proclaim God’s grace to all men who’ll listen;
And tell them about God’s judgments;
Comfort all who mourn;
Give crowns of beauty;
Oil of gladness and thanksgiving.
They will be called oaks of God’s righteousness,
A planting of our Savior, God,
For the display of our Lord’s splendor, and
They will rebuild God’s holy church.
God will renew them, and will restore them,
And you’ll be called priests of the Lord.
You will be ministers of our God, and
You will rejoice in salvation.
The Lord loves justice;
He is faithful to
Reward those who are seeking Him.
I delight greatly in the Lord;
My soul rejoices in my Savior, God.
He has clothed me with His salvation,
And in a robe of His righteousness.
He has given me priestly garments to wear,
As the bride of Jesus Christ.
As the garden of our Lord and Savior,
He causes us to grow in Him.
He makes righteousness,
Praise, and thanksgiving
Spring up before all the nations.