Required: Living It Out

May 22, 2013

Friends,
If a man thinks he believes the Gospel Message… if he insists that he is a believer in Jesus –one who follows Christ and belongs to Him… if he is confident in having been guaranteed Heaven… yet this man does not put the teachings of the Gospel Message into practice, then this man is mistaken in his belief. Such a man has deceived his own mind and heart and is misleading himself along the path toward Hell. (James 1:21-27)

How many times must God’s Word inform everyone of the Truth of this? Would 50 warnings be adequate to persuade a foolish, deluded man? Would 150 warnings be sufficient? Truly, the Word of God has more warnings than that. Over and over it warns us that belief, and claims, and deeds done that are not in the will of the Father, are of no value in assisting a person in their quest for eternal life. Instead, God’s Word insists that only a careful adherence to the Gospel Message / The Truth is the way to be saved eternally. It insists that this adherence means love for Christ, proved through obedience to Him / the Word, which, in turn, is displayed by a life of purity, godliness, self-control, and the continual pursuit of all that pleases God, brings Him glory, and shines His Truth out to others.

If we study the above passage (James 1:21-27), we can see that this is one of those warning portions of Scripture. Verse 21 tells us to rid ourselves, and be done with, all filthy behavior. It tells us to receive with meekness the Word planted within us which has the power to save our souls. Such exhortation teaches us that we ourselves are responsible to command ourselves to separate –with finality– from all sin, and that we do so by humbly ingesting God’s Word which is our path of salvation. (See also 1 Peter 1:22,23)

James 1:22 warns us that we must be enacting the Word in our lives and not be merely listening to it; otherwise we will be fooling ourselves. Verses 23 and 24 confirm this, using the example of a man forgetting what he looks like after walking away from a mirror. Verse 25 connects that analogy with the importance of carefully and continually looking into “the perfect law of freedom” (the Word of God) so that one might not forget its instructions or forget to live it out.

Verse 26 warns everyone, including those who think they are religious, that an undisciplined tongue will cause one’s religion to be rendered worthless, while verse 27 teaches that the same holds true for anyone who does not walk in what God considers pure and faultless religion –that being, caring for distressed orphans and widows, and keeping oneself from the world’s contamination.

But what do we have, not only among “non-Christians”, but also among those who claim to adhere to Christianity? We have masses going to church (where they glance at the Word and its instructions –“the mirror”), but then go away, and for the rest of the week, behave as if they can’t remember any of its instructions at all. Most of them certainly are doing nothing to help others in need (unless, for selfish gain, they do so with the belief that it will bring them prestige, God’s favor, or other benefit), almost no one is studying the Word on their own, and almost no one is keeping themselves from the stains caused by worldliness. (I am speaking in generalities, for God does have His undefiled, obedient saints.)

Definitely, James 1:21-27 should be a sober warning to us all. For it is a passage that should remind us of this: If we are not living out the commands in God’s Word, then our claim of belonging to Christ is a deception of our own making and a road away, not along, that Road marked “Eternal Life”.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

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