Every Good Gift from God
James 1:16-18 ESV
“Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.”
By grace we are saved, through faith. This is not our own doing. It is the gift of God. None of it is our own doing. It all comes as a gift from God. For, we can’t even come to faith in Jesus Christ unless the Father first draws us to Christ. And Jesus is the author and the perfecter of our faith, not us.
So, we are not to be deceived. Since every good and every perfect gift is from above, it is going to be consistent with who God is, with his divine character, and with his expressed will for humankind. And he never changes. Therefore, just as obedience to the Lord was synonymous with faith in the Old Testament, so it is today. And disobedience is the same as unbelief.
How do I know this? It is what is taught in the New Testament. If we do not make obedience to our Lord our practice, but sin is what we practice, it doesn’t matter what we profess with our lips. We will not inherit eternal life with God. But we will die in our sins because we would not die to our sins.
God’s moral laws have not changed. His view on sin has not changed. Yes, Jesus died on that cross to take away our sins, but what that means is that he died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died to put sin to death in our lives, not to pacify it.
[Eph 2:8-10; Jn 6:44; Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2; 1 Co 10:1-22; Heb 3:1-19; Heb 4:1-13; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Pet 2:24]
Put it All Away
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.”
When it comes to listening to our Lord speaking his truth to our hearts, we must be quick to hear and to obey. We must be slow to render our own opinions or beliefs, for it is not what we think that matters. What matters is what God thinks and what he says we must do.
When we believe in Jesus with God-given faith in him, we die with Christ to sin, and we now live to Christ and to his righteousness, if we have believed on him with genuine faith. The old us was crucified with Christ in death to sin that we might live to the Lord and to his will for our lives.
Therefore, we are not to live like we did before. We are not to commit the same sins we did before, either. For Jesus set us free from our slavery (addiction) to sin so that we might now become slaves of God and of his righteousness, empowered by God’s Spirit to live holy lives, pleasing to God.
So, we are not to be those who habitually, deliberately, and premeditatedly sin against God. We are not to be those who practice gossiping, greed, unfaithfulness, adultery, murder, hatred, stealing, cheating, and lying. But we are to be truth tellers who live with integrity.
We are to be those who receive the word of God into our hearts and minds with the full intent to obey. And this word is to take hold in our lives and be put into practice. We are to obey all instructions to us, the body of Christ, i.e., Christ’s followers. For, the word is able to save our souls.
Doers, Not Hearers Only
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.”
The Bible is not just a collection of books of history, poetry, prophecy, and teachings with regard to holy living. It is the living word of God. And we are to be those who put that word, which applies to believers in Jesus Christ, into practice in our daily lives.
But it isn’t just the New Testament books that we are adhere to, but all Scripture is God-breathed and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness. So, we can learn godly principles from reading the Old Testament, too, which we then apply in New Covenant terms.
The Bible is not to be something we just read for a few minutes a day so that we can say that we had our quiet time with God. And God/Jesus is not someone we try to squeeze into our busy schedule so we can say that we spent time with our Lord.
We don’t read the Scriptures out of routine, but we read them so that they can be applied to our lives, so that we can grow in our walks of faith to maturity in Christ Jesus, our Lord. So, we don’t read and then walk away and forget what we read, for what we read will be no use to us.
So, we are to be ones who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, which is the gospel of our salvation. For, it teaches that we die with Christ to our bondage to sin so that we might now become slaves of God and of his righteousness. For, this is the essence of the gospel of our salvation.
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.