James 1:22-24 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.”
Discerning the True Word
If we are going to be doers of the word of God, and not hearers only, we need to make certain that the “word” we are hearing is the truth of God’s word and not a lie, not a twisting of truth. And we do this by studying the Scriptures in their context, and by comparing Scripture with Scripture on the same subjects, such as grace, salvation, faith, and eternal life.
We listen carefully to the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking his words to our hearts, as we pray for wisdom and understanding. And we open up our hearts and minds to receive from him what he wants to teach us from his word. But what we believe is coming from the Spirit must not be contrary to God’s divine nature and will and must not be in opposition to the gospel.
For, there are many deceiving spirits out there twisting the Scriptures to their advantage, confusing and convincing naïve and fleshly minds to follow after a perverted gospel of grace which is not true to the whole of teaching in the Scriptures on salvation, grace, faith, and eternal life with God. But it is based off Scriptures taken out of context and twisted to say something else.
For, the word of God teaches that faith in Jesus comes from God, and therefore it submits to the will of God and to his purposes. Thus, those who are believing in Jesus Christ with God-given faith are going to surrender their lives to Jesus Christ, forsake their lives of living for sin and self, and they are going to follow our Lord in obedience, in his power and strength.
They are going to live holy lives which are separate from the world because they are being conformed to the likeness of Jesus. Thus, they will no longer unite themselves with the pleasures of this sinful world. They will no longer be enslaved to sin, living out of control lives, and living in self-indulgence, but they will be honoring Christ as Lord and living to please him.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rom 12:1-8; 1 Co 12:1-31; Eph 4:1-16; Jn 6:44; Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2]
Doers of the True Word
So, step one is making certain that “the word” you are hearing is the truth that is in Christ Jesus. You should have been taught “to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Read Eph 4:17-24; cf. Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Lu 9:23-26; Tit 2:11-14).
Then, step two is to believe on Jesus Christ with all your heart, repent of (turn away from) your sins, and follow Jesus Christ in obedience to his commands. For, Jesus Christ gave his life up for you on that cross, not just to forgive you your sins, but to deliver you from your slavery to sin so that you would now be slaves to God and to his righteousness (Rom 6:1-23).
What you are to forget and to walk away from is not the truth of God’s word, but it is the lies, the twisting of truth, the perversions of grace which give people free license to continue in deliberate and habitual sin against God without conscience, without remorse, and with no requirements for repentance, obedience, or submission to Christ as Lord (owner-master).
For the true word of God does serve as a mirror in our lives to reveal to us what we are doing that is in error, that is sinful, and that is displeasing to God so that we can turn away from those things and obey the word of God planted within us. But many are being taught that they can ignore that mirror and walk away and forget what they look like, and that it is okay.
So, there are many professers of faith in Jesus Christ today who are still enslaved to sin and headed to hell but on the promise of forgiveness of their sins and heaven as their eternal destiny. They are being lied to, and they are believing the lies, because the lies appease the flesh, and they give them permission to walk away from the mirror and to do whatever they want.
But God’s grace, which brings salvation, trains us to say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly passions and to live self-controlled, godly, and upright lives while we wait for our Lord’s return. And it teaches us that if we walk (in practice) according to our flesh that we are going to die in our sins. We will not inherit eternal life with God (Tit 2:11-14; Gal 5:16-21).
So, we need to be people of discernment who listen to our Lord, and who study his word, seeking truth, and then who obey the truth of God’s word.
James 1:25 ESV
“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 perfect law is the gospel of our salvation as Jesus taught it, and as the New Testament apostles taught it, in its fulness, as a whole. We must die with Christ to sin and live to Christ and to his righteousness, for if we live to the flesh, we will die in our sins, but if we live to please the Spirit, we will have eternal life with God (see all previous Scripture references).
It is the “law of liberty” not because it frees us to live however we want now that we are under grace. For, it is not liberty to continue living in sin only now without guilt or remorse. It is freedom from our slavery to sin so that we can now becomes slaves of God and of his righteousness (Rom 6:1-23).
This is what we are to seek after and to follow with our lives. This is the word of God that we are to be doers of and not hearers only.
For, Jesus said that if anyone would come after him he must deny self, take up his cross daily (daily die to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him. For, if we hold on to our old lives we will lose them, but if we lose our lives for Christ’s sake, we will have eternal life with God (Lu 9:23-26).
So, believe the true gospel, walk in it, do what it teaches, and surrender your all to Jesus Christ and make him truly Lord (master) of your lives.
I’ll Go Where You Want Me To Go
Lyrics by Mary Brown, 1891
Music by Carrie E. Rounsefell, 1894
It may not be on the mountain’s height,
Or over the stormy sea;
It may not be at the battle’s front,
My Lord will have need of me;
But if by a still, small voice He calls,
To paths that I do not know,
I’ll answer, dear Lord, with my hand in Thine,
I’ll go where You want me to go.
I’ll go where You want me to go, dear Lord,
O’er mountain, or plain, or sea;
I’ll say what You want me to say, dear Lord,
I’ll be what You want me to be.
Perhaps today there are loving words
Which Jesus would have me speak;
There may be now in the paths of sin,
Some wand’rer whom I should seek;
O Savior, if Thou wilt be my guide,
Though dark and rugged the way,
My voice shall echo Thy message sweet,
I’ll say what You want me to say.
There’s surely somewhere a lowly place,
In earth’s harvest fields so white,
Where I may labor through life’s short day,
For Jesus the Crucified;
So trusting my all to Thy tender care,
And knowing Thou lovest me,
I’ll do Thy will with a heart sincere,
I’ll be what You want me to be.
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