The Book of James


James is another book like Jude–it has received very little attention by the church, probably again like Jude, it presents very unpopular doctrines that get right to the heart of human nature.

James is considered an example of wisdom literature because like Proverbs, it consists primarily of moral exhortations.

There are many similarities with Christ's Sermon on the Mount, such as Matthew 7:7 and James 1:5.

Matthew 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

Contrary to modern fluffy and empty theology, James concern is with the true Israel of God, God's Kingdom, Christ's Lordship, the law of God, and the necessity of true faith, along with true works of the Spirit:

James 1:1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.

Galatians 6:16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

As with Jude, this ignorance of this book or epistle is amazing, because the church has rejected the relationship of the old and new Israel of God to church history.

James carefully traces speech to its origin in man's heart. James insists that speech reveals who we are, so why does the church ignore this fact?

Hebrews emphasizes the necessary relationship between faith and life, faith and works. Then James says that faith without works is dead, telling us that faith is not a matter of mere words, but a manner of life. The Christian landscape is littered with grave yards because the actions of so many do not correspond with their words. They are dead Christians–that is, not Christians at all.

1 Corinthians 15:34 Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.

Paul tells us dead Christians results in lost souls.

James practiced what he taught, and it cost him his life.

Professing Christians are to have a humble, meek and quiet spirit.

1:8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

James tells us that Christians cannot be double-minded, or as psychiatry would say, schizophrenic. Another secular term that has replaced schizophrenic and has become very popular in Christian vocabulary is "Bipolar".

According to Mayo Clinic:

Bipolar disorder – sometimes called manic-depressive disorder – is associated with mood swings that range from the lows of depression to the highs of mania. When you become depressed, you may feel sad or hopeless and lose interest or pleasure in most activities. When your mood shifts in the other direction, you may feel euphoric and full of energy. Mood shifts may occur only a few times a year, or as often as several times a day. In some cases, bipolar disorder causes symptoms of depression and mania at the same time.

Although bipolar disorder is a disruptive, long-term condition, you can keep your moods in check by following a treatment plan. In most cases, bipolar disorder can be controlled with medications and psychological counseling (psychotherapy). (Mayo Clinic)

Bipolar disorder in King Saul was a result of rebellion against God. Bipolar disorder according to James and Paul, is a result of uncontrolled imaginations and thoughts.

Mood swings are part of life, and some people are more susceptible to those swings than are others. But there is absolutely no Biblical justification for what is called Bipolar disorder. It is a term invented by "mental health professionals", trying to find humanistic answers to a spiritual problem. Society has abandoned the Christian God, and is paying the price in "mental illness".

"Mental Health" is a new medical term, and Bipolar is even newer. I do not at all remember talk of mental health until around the late'60s. The term did not really come into common use until the Vietnam era. Vietnam with its Agent Orange shows us that chemical exposure can also cause nerve damage, including brain damage.

As Christianity has waned, "mental health" issues have expanded. "Mental Health" has not only proved to many to be a convenient means of avoiding reality and getting a government check, it has proved to be a "golden goose" to the drug makers. Laura's friend Larry is playing that game, and receives his check.

But James destroys the modern mental health myth, as he tells us that a double minded man is unstable in all his ways, 1:8. And Paul presents God's non-medical answer to mental problems:

2 Corinthians 10:1-6 1 Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you: 2 But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

Paul tells us that the battle ground in for control of the mind. How many doctors, or even pastors, give their patients Paul's answer that they need to cast down imaginations, delight in the law of the Lord, and meditate in his law day and night? (Ps 1:2) How many patients want that kind of answer, and will obey Paul's advice? God says that the first issue that must be addressed is to bring the thought life under control, but the world, flesh and the devil will fight that answer to the death with many appealing physical answers.

I have heard more than one report of that memorizing Scripture strengthens the mind, even those minds considered hopeless by the medical profession.

Admittedly, bringing the thought life into conformity to the Word of God is the most difficult task any person will face, For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:12

That wrestling match takes place first of all in our minds. The mind is the primary spiritual battle ground between the forces of darkness and the forces of light. We welcome other physical answers.

If a doctor or pastor would offer Paul's instructions to gain mental health, how many would be like Martin Padgett, whom I have mentioned before. The doctor told him to quit smoking because of his heart problems, but he did not want to hear that prescription. So he found another doctor who would not tell him the truth. He died of lung cancer.

Modern "mental health professionals", or the medical-industrial complex, would never admit the problem could be spiritual and control of the mind. Nor do we really want to hear that answer might be right. Even the vast majority of Christian counselors have bought into the world's antichristian attitude toward mental health. They will recommend about anything except what is really needed, genuine "Thought Control".

Again, Agent Orange in Vietnam has shown that chemicals can effect one's mental and emotional state, and the medical-industrial industry will view mental "health" issues in the light of anything except Scripture.

Human nature desires a humanistic answer to our ills, not a Scriptural answer.

As we look around us, particularly in the church, we see the results of ignoring James' letter, and the dire need of his corrective instruction.

James 1:1

James, the Servant

As we mentioned in Jude, it is commonly accepted that both James and Jude were half-brothers of Christ, as mentioned in Matthew 13:15 & Mark 6:3.

From James' many similarities with Christ's Sermon on the Mount, more than likely, he was present, and greatly impressed by what his half-brother said.

James the brother of Jesus was martyred in A.D. 62, and this book was written much earlier. The date has been placed between A.D. 35 and 52, making it probably the earliest book in the New Testament. Thus James wrote in the midst of horrible persecution by both the Jews and by Rome under Nero.

V. 1, James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. Usually greeting is used as a benediction—that is, greet so and so. This is the only place where this unusual introduction opens with greeting where it means exceeding joy be with you, be glad.

the Lord Jesus Christ both here and in 2:1, makes two assumptions:

First, the letter assumes without question or argument the lordship of Jesus Christ. His lordship is not open to question nor debate. James, being the Lord's brother was a strict keeper of the law and he was widely respected. He introduces himself as a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Second, James, as did his brother Jude, assumes the complete unity with the Old Testament. The lordship of Jesus Christ and the revealed Old Testament Scriptures are seen as a unit and assumed to be one throughout his letter. Accordingly, the works James talks about are works according to the law and commandments.

The letter is addressed to the twelve tribes–that is, to Israel in its full and complete sense, which includes the New Israel of God as identified by Paul. (A.T. Robertson). The letter was addressed to the Jews of the Dispersion, so it was in Greek. Jude knew of no "lost" tribes of Israel.

James addresses all Israel in the name of King Jesus. James, along with Paul, unites the new Israel of God with the true Israel of God by faith from the Old Testament. It was Christ who destroyed the wall of partition between the Old and New nation of Israel, and they were united as one in Christ. National Israel of old was completely erased from world history starting in A.D. 70.

Ephesians 2:14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

Those who reject Christ separates themselves from the true Israel of God which is made up only of the redeemed.

James 2:2 For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment;

The word assembly is from synagogue. Christian Assembly or Christian Synagogue was the earliest name for what has become known as the Christian Church. When one rejects Christ, they are separated part from God's elect, and separated from God's Israel. God's elect is the true synagogue, for God's true dwelling place is in His elect, which is our hope of glory.

Hebrews deals with the denial Christ's high priestly status over the true Israel of God. James, which was probably written before Hebrews, presents the true Israel of God is in the person of Jesus Christ. That is to say, the true Israel of God is made up only of the elect—those genuinely converted from sin to Christ. Hebrews and James are connected by the common requirement of both faith and action. Both assure us that if the faith is not living and acting out, there is no faith.

Those are those, even Christians, who believe that old Israel still exists, but without the Lord Jesus Christ, there can be no Israel, for Christ Himself is identified as the true Israel of God.

Isaiah 49:3 And said unto me, Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified. 6 And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.

As we pointed out above, James opens with greeting, meaning exceeding joy be with you, be glad.

V. 2, James follows exceeding joy and be glad by reminding them of the trials and troubles that will come their way. In other words, greeting and joy in the face of unnumbered and various trials and troubles, including medical problems. How can there be exceeding joy and gladness in the face of such trials and troubles? Their great Redeemer-King has come. Our joy can only be found in Christ.

Circumstances may make us happy over what happens to us, but happenings also make us unhappy.

Our call is to count it all joy, and that can only take place with a proper relationship with Christ, who is our joy. Paul tells us that our joy is based in the atonement:

Romans 5:9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. 11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

Remember that James was martyred early on, so he was not writing from theory.
* He is telling us that joy in various distresses is the Christian faith in action.
* He is telling us that various distresses is the way it is in the present.

Yet the key words in James are rejoice, joy, patience, perfect.

James calls himself a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. Neither James nor Jude claim any honor in their physical relationship with the Lord. Both profess it a privilege to be a servant of Christ.

We have two New Testament books written by two brothers of our Lord. Neither mentioned their relationship to Christ. Rather, they saw their relationship to Him as one of grace and service.

Unlike James and Jude, many religious leaders today base their relationship to Christ on their superior knowledge, superior education, or some physical relationship to another of religious importance. "The son of Billy Graham" makes no small amount of personal money with his charitable work with the name Graham attached.

I know of several well known pastors who turned their churches over to their sons, and their sons are profiting on their good names, but the sons have taken the churches down a completely different road than their father's did.

Though the place of James and Jude in the early church was central and powerful, their place rested entirely on service not on blood. They saw their dignity and honor in being servants of Jesus Christ. Because the church and its leaders represent God's new human race on earth, their status and dignity must rest on God's grace, and no more.

Vv. 2-18

I have read through the Bible a good number of times. I have seriously studied it for many thousands of hours. But this is the first time I understood vv. 13 and 14, which I plan to cover today.

We will start with our next section, vv. 2-7, Faith and Wisdom

We have already dealt with v. 2, so on to v. 3, the testing of our faith results in patience.

1 Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

Afflictions reveal, test and purify our faith. Those afflictions are ordained by God, and bring praise, honour and glory to Jesus Christ.

Faith must be refined by fire, for fire exposes the impurities, so they can be recognized and removed. But the fires of life that remove the impurities are not at all pleasant. We do our best to stay clear of the storms of life as did the captain of Paul's ship. But Providence will have His way, as even the winds obey His will.

The true view of faith is that any sort of trial—hardship, or misfortune of any kind or degree—is an opportunity to prove what we are made of. James tells us that the ordeals of our faith brings out endurance, or the staying power of life.

The word faith here is the same as found in Ephesians 2:8 as being the gift of God. The trial of our faith – that is, those things that bring us to the point of saying "what's the use" – tests our determination to be true to our profession of love for our Lord, and develops His image in us.

Patience is not presented by James as passivity. Patience is not a passive endurance that hides away and says, "Whatever will be will be". Rather, it moves against various hindrances, persecutions and temptations that befall us in our conflict with the outward and inward world.

As James did to his death, we must continue on in our Christian responsibilities despite hindrances, persecutions and temptations.

V. 4, patience has an active and perfecting work as it prepares us to be perfect and entire, wanting nothing in our Christian life. As we saw with Providence, we must not see life as a serious of various, unrelated events. We must see everything that comes into our life as an orderly sequence ordained by God according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord. That eternal purpose is to prepare us for our responsibilities in time and eternity.

As Paul said, these seemingly unrelated events are ordained in the Wisdom of God,

Ephesians 3:10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, 11 According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: 12 In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him. 13 Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.

God has not randomly placed us where we are with our God-given abilities for no purpose except to eat, drink and be merry.

V. 5, If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. True wisdom comes from God, and is available to those who ask for it.

Wisdom from above understands that God's purpose is being worked in our individual trials and testings. That understanding results in calmness of spirit.

There are no qualifications on this requests for wisdom. Other requests are subject to God's approval, thy will be done, but if we truly ask for wisdom, we shall get it. But there will be a price to pay for God's wisdom. We see from James' context that the price for wisdom is higher than many are willing to pay–it requires serious testing and adversity. We pray for wisdom, and then wonder why adversity comes our way.

V. 6, if we do ask for wisdom, we must ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. Many who profess their concerns for Christianity are actually caught in self-concern: self-salvation, self-esteem, self-promotion and/or self-enrichment. Their concern is not about godly faith and wisdom

These men are double-minded. They are unstable men, wavering men in conflict with self and with God rather than in conflict with the evils of the world around them. Where the world is concerned, they are like corks floating on the waves, going which ever way the wind of self fulfillment is blowing. They profess love for the Lord, yet their desires are after the things of the world and for the god of their own making. Their god is self, what pleases them and appeals to their sensual appetites, not what pleases God.

"He loves god", but which God? Is their love for Thrice Holy God of Scripture, or for the god after the imagination?

James tells them,

V. 7, let not such a man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. For his prayers must be in faith, nothing wavering.

* History tells us that James was a man of strong and uncompromising faith.
* He was a firm, loyal and determined leader in the church.
* His book shows that he was a strong defender and promoter of God's law as revealed through Moses
* James strongly emphasizes a personal faith and commitment.
* He shows us that storms and troubles come from without, and faith and wisdom come from within. Both the storms and the faith come from the hand of God, whose purpose for us is for His own glory.

Who does not want to be spared the storms of life, but James makes it clear that every man's faith certainly will be tested. He tells us it is impossible for one to survive those testings without God's faith and wisdom. James' teaching on wisdom is tied to the Lord Jesus Christ.

James presents the whole of the Old Testament and the coming of the Messiah as an unbroken unity. By the early dating of James, AD 36, he shows that when the division will be made, it will be made by others, and those dividers will bring judgment upon themselves.

V. 7, the dividers will be unstable and worthless. James speaks contemptuously of them: let not that man think that he shall receive any thing from the Lord. The Lord is Jesus Christ. The Crucified One requires decision and sacrifice from His followers.

The church today stresses faith, but with almost an exclusive emphasis on salvation. Yet seldom is mentioned faith with regards to sanctification.

James insists that true faith is marked by works. In other words, faith without works with God's wisdom is both stupid and dead.

Vv. 8-18

Now we come to the Double Minded

1) v. 8, James calls for a clear-cut faith, one of total commitment:
2) vv. 9-11, he points out that riches are a curse when they are a man's priority.
3) v. 12, he pronounces a beatitude, or a blessings on all who retain their integrity in the midst of temptations and trials:
4) vv. 13-15, James defines temptation
5) vv. 16-18, temptations and trials are only for the good for the Elect, as he points out that evils are self-inflicted, and every good and perfect gift from above..

1) v. 8, James calls for a clear-cut faith, one of total commitment:

In this letter, James is writing to professed believers who are not believers. Considering James' early date, we can understand why he was concerned with double-mindedness. The date shows that the newly professed believers faced a very difficult choice, Christ or the Temple as the proper approach to the Father of lights, v. 17. James wrote before the book of Hebrews was written. Both were written to the double-minded; that is, the Hebrews who were caught between Christ and the Temple.

During the years between Christ and the Temple's destruction, both were promoted as the only proper approach to the Father. Christ claimed to be the only way, truth and life. Yet those to whom Christ preached had been trained from the youth up that the Temple in Jerusalem was the only proper approach to the Father. This double-mindedness created a great conflict for the new church.

1 Peter 1:17-21 speaks of that conflict, with the promise that the precious blood of Christ would free the new believers from the old traditions of the Temple, and bring them into the promised new life in Christ through His blood sacrifice.

(Though the context of Hebrews, James and Peter is the "new Israel of God, Christ, vs. the Old Israel of God, the Temple" conflict, the double-mindedness applications are unlimited for us. Double-mindedness between Christ and self will not go away in this life.)

We see from the gospels, as well as from the epistles, that the old traditional Temple worship had pretty much devolved into little more than a traditional ritual. Hebrews tells us that the Temple rituals had no life changing effect on the worshipers. Maybe the followers of the Temple were much like the majority of professed believers today. They go through a once a week religious ceremony, and then go on about their business as though there were no Holy God with a Holy Standard.

Christ's message was that He is the only way to the Father of lights and the Temple was now useless. It was not a welcomed message for a great many, and resulted in Christ's death and the persecution and even death of the first preachers.

Men want the best of both worlds, but James would not let the matter rest. He insists on a decision by all professed believers. If Jesus Christ is indeed Lord (as James insists in 1:1 and 2:1), then the dead traditions of the past must be abandoned, and Christ must be followed and obeyed with total commitment. Without unreserved trust in Christ, he is an unbeliever.

James also deals with the issue — the New Israel of God in Christ, or the Old Israel of God in the Temple. From Christ until the destruction of the Temple, the controversy raged, and the New Testament is written in the context of that controversy. Christ made it clear that He replaced the Temple, and that He alone was the true approach to the Father. He was crucified over that claim.

Every New Testament book deals with men, called the Judaizers, who did not deny Christ, but said that the proper approach to God required both Christ and the old Hebrew rituals as represented by the Temple. To properly serve God, one had to be circumcised, and become a Jew.

The Israel of God as represented in the Old Testament was finally laid to rest in 70 AD, but he did not Rest In Peace. The old rotten corps was resurrected in the early 1800s, and he is now a serious curse upon the New Israel of God in Christ.

All of the early preachers, faced terrible persecution, even death, for saying that the Temple was no longer valid, and that Christ fulfilled the temple.

I have found that men of God today face the wrath of other professed Christians who are determined to promote the Old Testament Israel.

Early on, James warned the double mindedness that would become so prevalent.

V. 8, the double-minded man is described as extremely unstable in all his ways, not merely in regard to Christ Jesus. More than mental indecision or reservation is involved.

V. 7, our commitment to the Lord governs every thought and action. Our faith is either unreserved, or it is dangerous in the instability it gives us.

Observe. This man has two souls and has no firmly established principles. He is controlled by his passions and influenced by his popular feelings. He is indecive and unstable. He is not necessarily a hypocrite, but he is a fickle, a wavering man.

2) vv. 9-11, he points out that riches are a curse when they are a man's priority.

James tells us that if we seek out stability in wealth, we are seeking stability in sand.

Matthew 7:26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

Christ described the ruin of those whose lives have a false foundation. James defines that false foundation as wealth. Wealth is easily departed, and can at any moment take wings and fly away.

Proverbs 23:5 Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.

True faith will endure. Those who trust in wealth rather than God are "double-minded," and their prayers will get him nothing from the Lord.

The brevity of life, like the short duration of green grass, leaves the rich naked and dead before they know it. The voice in Isaiah 40:6 cried out All flesh is grass. God ordained that the grass cannot take the heat of day no more than flesh without God's grace can take the heat of life.

James 1:8-18

This next section can be outlined:

1) v. 8, James calls for a clear-cut faith, one of total commitment:
2) vv. 9-11, he points out that riches are a curse when they are a man's priority.
3) v. 12, he pronounces a beatitude, or a blessings on all who retain their integrity in the midst of temptations and trials:
4) vv. 13-15, James defines temptation
5) vv. 16-18, temptations and trials are only for the good for the Elect, as he points out that evils are self-inflicted, and every good and perfect gift from above.\

1) v. 8, James calls for a clear-cut faith, one of total commitment:

During the years between Christ and the Temple's destruction, both were promoted as the only proper approach to the Father. Christ claimed to be the only way, truth and life. Yet those to whom Christ preached had been trained from the youth up that the Temple in Jerusalem was the only proper approach to the Father. This double-mindedness was between Christ and the Temple: Which was the proper approach to the Heavenly Father. The question created a great conflict for the new church.

The Israel of God as represented in the Old Testament was finally laid to rest in 70 AD, but he did not Rest In Peace. The old rotten corps was resurrected in the early 1800s, and he is now a serious curse upon the New Israel of God in Christ.

V. 8, the double-minded man. This man has two souls and has no firmly established principles. He is controlled by his passions and influenced by his popular feelings. He is undecided and unstable. He is not necessarily a hypocrite, but he is a fickle, wavering man.

2) vv. 9-11, he points out that riches are a curse when they are a man's priority.

James repeats Christ's warning about the false foundation of wealth. It is like the house built on the sand in Matthew 7:26, 27. James tells us that if we seek out stability in wealth, we are seeking stability in sand. Wealth can at any moment take wings and fly away.

Isaiah 40:6 cried out All flesh is grass. God ordained that the grass cannot take the heat of day no more than flesh without God's grace can take the heat of life.

Now we come to

3) v. 12, Blessed is the man... he pronounces a beatitude, or a blessings on all who retain their integrity in the midst of temptations and trials:

Job 2:3 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause. 9 Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die. 10 But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.

Job's wife said lay aside your integrity, curse God and die. Job's answer, you speak as a foolish woman.

Job 1:22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.

James 1:12 gives a beatitude, or blessing for enduring temptation. In 5:11, James uses the endurance of Job as an example Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

Job retains his Christian integrity no matter what came his way.

The promised reward for enduring trials and temptations is the crown of life. God's gift to those who endure is fullness of life here and eternal life now and forever.

As my wife and I have been reading through the book of Job, we are reminded of Job's many tremendous statements of his faith in his Redeemer. We cannot get this close, and not preach the gospel from Job.

Remember, he is speaking in the time frame of Abraham, a few hundred years after the flood. He speaks of events that would not take place for another 2,000 years. He speaks as though those events were but a few days old. We speak the same words concerning the same events that history tell us took place 2,000 years ago.

Job 19:23 ¶ Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book! 24 That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever! 25 For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: 26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: 27 Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.

It was clearly revealed to Job that through faith in the coming Redeemer, he would have his physical body would be resurrected, and he would literally see God with his own eyes. Sitting on the ash pile scraping his sores, Job spoke in the most horrible circumstances imaginable. His sustaining hope in the midst of his terrible circumstances was the same hope we have—in my flesh I shall see God.

Hebrews 6:17 Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: 18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: 19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;

The gospel of Christ could not be more clear than what Job preached as he said I know that my redeemer liveth...

Speaking at least 500 years before Moses, Job said,

Job 23:8 ¶ Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him: 9 On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him: 10 But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. 11 My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined.
12 Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food. 13 ¶ But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth. 14 For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him. 15 Therefore am I troubled at his presence: when I consider, I am afraid of him. 16 For God maketh my heart soft, and the Almighty troubleth me: 17 Because I was not cut off before the darkness, neither hath he covered the darkness from my face.

1 Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.

Over 1500 years before Peter, Job made it clear that God is the One who ordains the refining fire of adversity in our lives. His purpose is for the praise, honour and glory of Jesus Christ.

It seems that David also knew the book of Job as many of his psalms say the same things Job said a thousand years previously.

James 1:12, James speaks a beatitude. The beatitudes of the Bible are not intended to be comforting thoughts. Rather, the beatitudes are promises from God of the results of certain stands and actions on our part. A beatitude is thus an assurance of God's faithfulness to those who maintain their Christian integrity in their hour of temptation and tribulation.

Again, Job is an example of James' beatitude or benediction:

Job 42:12 So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses.

Job was already the richest man of the East. Then in one day, his riches and his dearly loved children took wings and departed. Nevertheless, Job retained his integrity, and did not charge God foolishly. Blessed is the man that endureth... Job endured, and God's blessings were abundantly bestowed Job, as God doubled his possessions and family.

Psalms One

1 ¶ Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

James does not promise material prosperity, but he does promise God's blessings. Our greatest blessing is the crown of life, as well as seeing our children walking in the ways of the Lord.

I found this next area very enlightening, as James now makes a clear distinction between trials and temptations to sin.

4) Vv. 13-15, James defines temptation:

James gives the contrast or difference between trials or testings of our faith, and the temptations to sin. Temptation is the urge to stray from the narrow road, and take the appealing broad road to destruction. That is, commit sin as defined in James (2:9, 11) and 1 John 3:4.

V. 13, God sends the temptations and trials our way for a purpose.

V. 12, 19-27,

1 Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.

God has given man freedom to do good or evil, and man is to use that freedom for good in order to inherit the blessings of God. But the sinful nature and lusts uses that freedom for sin, which brings the judgment of God.

V. 14, But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. James tells us that those temptations and trials are meant to promote holiness in us to the glory of God. But the sin nature, evidenced in our own lusts, influences us to do evil rather than good.

We are assured many times over that the New Birth gives a New Nature, yet the Old Nature is a powerful foe. Sinlessness is a attribut of the Son of God, for He came into this world without that sin nature, so He could pay the price of the sins of His people. So in our God-given freedom, we choose sin, making us responsible for our own sins.

James makes no reference to the devil, making it clear that there is no moral ground for blaming the devil. "The devil did not make me do it." Whatever part other persons or even the devil might play, we ourselves are responsible for our own sins. We can blame no one but ourselves, not God, man nor devil. The sin of Adam and Eve was not only to succumb to temptation, but also to reject responsibility, and blame God, the devil, and others.

V. 15 speaks of desire, which leads to conception, which leads to the birth of sin, and then sin brings forth or gives birth to death. Sin and death are the normal direction of the old man, but we have the new nature, created in righteousness and holiness.

Ephesians 4:24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
Romans 6:19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.

The fifth section:

5) vv. 16-18, temptations and trials are only for the good of the Elect; their purpose is to promote holiness in us and glory to God, not to lead us into sin.

V. 16 do not err... We are warned against blaming God for our sin.

V. 17, God's gift to us is then cited: it is always good and perfect. God is the father of lights, not of darkness, and with Him there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. All other things change and are variable, but not so God. He is the unchanging and changeless One who is always the same yesterday, and today, and for ever (Mal. 3:6, Heb. 13:8).

V. 12, trials and temptations are meant to promote holiness, to bring God's blessings upon us and to bring us more into the likeness of Christ. James identifies those trials and temptations as good and perfect gift from above because with them comes His victorious grace, and blessings of God:

1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

God is the author of all good things in men, and men are the authors of those things which are evil.

V. 18 of his own will... James seems to reach back to Job 23:14 For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him.

The firstfurits... According to the law, the first of the harvest belonged to God, and were to be dedicated to Him for His use. His people in Christ are likened to those firstfruits of the harvest. That is, God begat us to new life in Christ. He brought us forth, or created us, that, like the firstfruits, we should be dedicated and consecrated to His service.

This consecration to His service comes through the maturity of enduring temptation through the power of the risen Christ, v. 12.

1 Cor. 15:20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.

In v. 15, we have the origin and birth of sin. Sin starts with lust for unholy things, and the final result is death.

In v. 18, we have the origin and birth into new life. Of his own will... The new birth starts in mind of a Sovereign, Electing God. Then through the word of truth, the new birth takes place, with the final result of life in Christ.

The authors of both James and Hebrews call for a decision between the Old Israel with its rites and rituals of the physical Temple of the past, and the New Israel of God, the Elect. The Temple offered no indwelling Spirit of God to make a new creation in Christ. The new Israel of God make a new man in Christ; a man who can see God's hand in everything, and see His purpose in all things, and that purpose is always good and perfect, and for the well-being of His own people.

The historical crisis in the first century church as confronted in Hebrews and in James is presented as a moral crisis. The choice is between being double-minded and unstable, or strong and single-minded in allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ (1:1; 2:1). This is ever the choice, from James' day to our own.

Double-mindedness has been the curse of the church over the centuries. Certainly Hebrews indicates that the double-minded existed in the early church. We do not know how many of the double-minded and unstable remained in the church of that day.

But we do know that in our time the churches are full of people who are unwilling to give an unwavering and unequivocal allegiance to Jesus Christ. Messages as strong as are presented in Hebrews and James cause people to flee to a more loving pastor and church. The church is often paralyzed by their double-mindedness.

The next and last division of the first chapter of James is vv. 19-27, v. 27, pure religion and undefiled.

James clearly tells us that our Christian faith does not make us judges over other men. Rather, the Christian faith is to enable us to grow, and improve ourselves, and even be a blessing to others, rather than a curse.

He begins with,

V. 19, Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

I can easily and quickly spot and condemn the evils of others, but not seems I am almost totally blind to my own evils. Our spouses have a way of seeing those things, and bringing them to our attention, as they should.

In v. 18, James spoke of regeneration by the word of truth. Peter spoke of regeneration by the non corruptible seed, which is the word of God.

1 Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

Peter compares the new birth with a newly planted seed that in order for it to thrive, it must be carefully cared for if it will thrive. The divine seed must have clean soil if it will prosper.

Since we are compared to the firstfruits of the seed that was planted in Israel of old, there must be good soil for.

The first mark of good soil is vv. 19, 21, swift to hear... For the seed to prosper, the Word of God must be heard with meekness and humility.

It also must be planted with meekness and humility:

2 Timothy 2:24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, 25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; 26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

The mother in a family in Harrisonburg had a degree in theology. She listened to messages in order to find errors she could correct. She even approached me after I had spoken, and tried to correct something according to the Greek that I had said. Bro Sprinkle heard her, and soundly rebuked her in private. They soon left the church in the dead of night, with just a note on the pastor's desk. They were being paid to clean the church at the time.

slow to speak or rebuke

The word must be received with humility and meekness. James does not flatter his readers. He summons them to lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

The second mark of good soil is vv. 22-25. James tells the readers how humility is to be used. It is not something that is limited to a proper attitude, but is to be used in active obedience. Humility will result in being doers of the word, not hearers only. Those who are hearers only are self deceived and they cheat themselves.

Vv. 23-25, natural face... James uses the unusual illustration of a mirror.

Those who hear only and do not the Word of God are like a man who looks into a mirror to see if he is pleased with himself. He, or she, makes sure his hair is properly combed, his clothing in place. He looks to see if his general appearance is suitable to him and thus to others. How many hours do people spend in front of a mirror to make sure all that appears on the outside is as perfect as can be.

When he is satisfied with his natural face, he moves on, with no thought of what is on the inside. Or no mind to what manner of man he is on the inside.

V. 25, but the man who makes God's law-word his mirror tries to conform himself to the image required of him by God. God's law is the perfect law of liberty, and it motivates the man to be a doer of the work as required by the word. Such a man has the beatitude of blessed in all his works.

In other words, the Christian faith is not how we look on the outside, but how we look on the inside. Folks dismiss their outward appearances by saying "The Lord Sees the Heart". This is certainly true, but the work of Christ in the heart will be reflected by the outward appearnce.

Mr Ward and I went to lunch together at the new BBQ place behind the Pizza joint. There were two young lady servers. Mr. Ward was telling me how good of Christians they were. Yet their immodest appearance certainly did not say that they has a modest heart. Their appearance did not say they had the perfect law of liberty working in their hearts. They were in bondage to their mirror of outward appearance, not to the mirror of the heart of God. Certainly, God alone sees the heart, but men see the results of the heart. An immodest heart will be revealed in immodest apparel.

I will never understand how a professed Christian can think that short shorts is modest apparel.

The work of God takes place in the heart, and His work will be revealed on the outside. The outward physical appearance will reflect the inward appearance.

As the natural mirror reflects our natural outward appearance, the law of God is the mirror that reflects our inward appearance. When we neglect that true mirror, we reject seeing ourselves as God sees us.

V. 25, when we use God's law as our mirror and our works reveal God's inward works, we shall be blessed in his deed. Blessed in all we do in this present life. It is in the present where God blesses those whose mirror is His law, because they are the doers of His law.

The third mark of good soil. Vv. 26, 27, as Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: James now shows us the conclusion of this matter. He tells us that the result of humility and obedience to God's law, is a morality that is God-shaped, a morality that leads to social and personal righteousness or justice.

The man whose mirror is only glass is wrapped up in himself.
The man whose mirror is society may submit to whatever society he desires to be accepted in, but his motive will be humanistic rather than Godly.

James insists on the law of God as our only true mirror because it alone reveals the righteousness or justice of God.

James says that true religion easily manifests itself in our speech. Sound religion does not have an unbridled or uncontrolled tongue.

In chapter 3, James has more to say about the tongue. It is a barometer of our faith; it tells others how seriously, or how lightly, we take our faith. James is very much concerned about the use of harsh language, and he sees it as an important test of the reality and seriousness of our faith.

V. 26, if anyone seems to be religious, or appears to be a devout Christian, but does not bridle his tongue, that person deceives his or her own heart, and his or her religion is vain.

Folks can bridle their tongue: Apple in Linden

Inward anger comes out through the mouth.

James uses blunt language, and means to be taken very seriously. James says plainly that much surface religion is voided by an unbridled tongue. James required the mirror of self-examination that begins with our speech.

V. 27, pure religion and undefiled is defined. The negative side is an uncontrolled tongue. Harsh words are the enemy of the true religion.

The positive side is To visit the fatherless, and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world".

James is writing in the context of the early church. We know from Acts 6:1-7, that the early church in Jerusalem had many widows as members. Living in Jerusalem, James was very familiar with their needs. We are told in Acts 6 that these widows were fed, but James goes beyond that to require that they be visited. The care of widows and orphans is basic to God's law, and God Himself uses such care as a test of man. James' concern reveals how thoroughly he is a man of the law, a man for whom God's law is his mirror.

Vv. 25, 2:12, this law of God is the perfect law of liberty. Freedom is under God, not man. Our outward appearance and our words reveal who or what we serve in the heart.

James summons us, as the servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, to a life of freedom in Him. It is Christ who set us free from sin and death (John 8:34-36), and His law is the perfect law of liberty.

The goal of the Christian is to keep himself unspotted from the world. This means to continue morally unblemished, not necessarily perfect, but always growing in the right direction.