Today James, the brother of Jesus and leader of the church in Jerusalem, writes a letter to the Jewish Christians, during a time of persecution, to encourage them to live out their faith. He tells them that wisdom comes from the Lord and temptation is from Satan. James goes on to give them 4 instructions for living as Christ followers:
1) Be doers of the Word – “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” “Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” Works don’t save you but they do prove your faith. James gives examples using the lives of Abraham and Rahab. Both Abraham and Rahab acted based on faith; Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son, Issac, and Rahab’s willingness to hide the spies and allow them to take refuge with her family under her roof while the Israelites marched around Jericho.
2) Don’t be prejudiced- It appears that favoring the rich is a problem within the church. So James rebukes – “Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?…If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you do well; but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors.”
3) Control the tongue – “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell…But no man can tame the
tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.”
4) Don’t envy – “But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.”
More from James tomorrow so keep reading.