Unstable in All Their Ways

James 1:5-8 ESV

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”

Some people who profess faith in Jesus Christ make bold claims to salvation from sin and to eternal life with God while they also make bold claims that they don’t have to repent of their sins, that they don’t have to obey God, and that they don’t have to submit to Christ as Lord.

Then, there are those who profess to believe in Jesus Christ who claim that the gospel they are believing is the true gospel, and they verbally acknowledge that we must repent, obey, and submit, but their lifestyles (their habits) do not support their claims.

Their lifestyles of sin, instead, support the false grace gospel. For they are still living in sin, chasing after their idols, living to please self and the flesh, craving the lusts of the flesh, and they are regularly yielding to those lusts, while they also believe they are saved and that they are going to heaven.

I am not suggesting here that we must live in sinless perfection or we don’t have eternal life with God. But the Bible teaches that if we walk in sin, and if we walk according to the flesh, and not according to the Spirit, and if we don’t walk in obedience to our Lord, that we will die in our sins, not have eternal life (1 Jn 1:5-9; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 2:3-6; Gal 5:16-21; Rom 5:3-6).

And it teaches here that such people as this are double-minded, unstable in all their ways, going back and forth in their beliefs like on a seesaw (like on a teeter-totter). For, they claim to believe in Jesus Christ and to be saved from their sins while they continue living in their sin without conscience. They will not receive anything from God in answer to their prayers.

James 1:13-15 ESV

“Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”

Many of those who profess to believe in the old-time gospel of the New Testament (in context), i.e. the whole counsel of God, but who are living double lives, for they are not living what they profess, also tend to be liars and those who make excuses for their sins or who blame others, even God.

They will say such things as “I prayed for God to deliver me, but he didn’t do it.” Or they will claim it is not God’s timing for them to be delivered from their addiction to sin. Or they will try to suggest that it is God’s will that they have remained as they are, or they will blame other people.

But it is not God’s will for us to remain in our sins. God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. Today is the day of salvation. It is not God’s fault if we don’t resist the devil, flee temptation, and follow our Lord in surrender and in obedience.

Jesus made the way of escape for us. We just have to take it! In his death he delivered us from our slavery (addiction) to sin so that we would now be slaves of his righteousness. But we must choose him, and we must choose to reject sin, idols, and temptation to sin. For sin, when full grown, brings forth death, not life.

James 1:19-21 ESV

“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore, put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.”

Some people engage in habitual sin out of anger against God and against other people who did not meet up to their expectations. In fact, they will use their displeasures with God and with others to excuse their sins away, too.

Like, they will say that God didn’t rescue them, or a certain person didn’t come through for them, and so they will feel they are justified in their sin.

A lot of them are angry, too, because they are living in sin and they know they are doing wrong, and to some extent they feel guilt or condemnation or lack of acceptance or resentment and bitterness against God and against those who are living righteously, which then just sustains the anger.

They are not quick to hear because they don’t want to hear the truth. They don’t want to be told that they are doing wrong and that they need to do what is right, which includes yielding control of their lives over to God, forsaking their addiction to sin and their idols, and walking in obedience to the Lord and no longer living according to their sinful flesh. For, they want to justify or rationalize the sin away or to call it something less than it is.

But look what it says here. It says we are to put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save our souls. We have to die with Christ to sin so we can live to him and to his righteousness (Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Pet 2:24; 2 Co 5:15, 21).

James 1:22-25 ESV

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.”

Repentance, obedience and submission to Christ are not works-based salvation, or the Scriptures would not teach us that this is what we must do to inherit eternal life with God and that if we don’t that we will die in sin.

Going back to those who profess faith in Jesus and in the full gospel message, but who are still living in sin, living in idolatry, and who are double-minded, they are like those who look at themselves in the mirror and they see what they look like spiritually, but they willfully walk away and intentionally forget what they look like inside their hearts.

They say they want to be in relationship with Jesus Christ and to walk in his ways, but they circumvent that by their unwillingness to be crucified with Christ in death to sin and to die daily to sin and to self and to follow Jesus in obedience to his will for their lives.

They may even be those who know the word of God inside and out in their minds, and some may even be teachers of the word or they may be pastors or elders in the church. But it goes in one ear and out the other for they do not put it into practice in their daily lives, not consistently and continuously.

They are self-deceived, but they are without excuse. For they know the truth. They willfully turn their backs on God, and they reject his moral standards, and they refuse to be faithful, but instead they continue to go their own way, living in adultery against God and perhaps spouse, too.

But those who are doers, and not hearers only, will be blessed of God.

Have Thine Own Way, Lord

Words by Adelaide A. Pollard, 1907
Music by George C. Stebbins, 1907

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine!

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway.
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me!

3 thoughts on “Unstable in All Their Ways

  1. Amen Sue. So insightful and true, true, true. While reading your article, I happened to be brought to mind ” progressive Christianity”, I hadn’t heard of it, so I looked it up and read about it. I was floored and discussed it is updating with the times, and has the Holy word completely out of context to suit different lifestyles. Yuck. shame on them. Anyway, as always Sue, so wonderfully spoke. To God be the Glory.. Good day blessings to you. 🌼

    Liked by 1 person

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