Satan is looking to devour as many souls as possible. We saw his tactics back in the garden, when he tempted Eve by the lust of the eye (the fruit looked good), lust of the flesh (it would be good for the belly), and the pride of life (she would know as much as God). Eve fell for the lies and temptations from Satan, and Adam, who was passively standing by her, did as well. They both ate from the forbidden tree, resulting in the fall of humankind.
James urges us to not fall for the lies and temptations from Satan – “Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”
James warns against judging one another, putting confidence in ourselves and our plans, trusting in riches, grumbling against one another, and making false oaths. He says we should encourage one another through prayer – “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms… Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”
After James’ letter, we read Paul’s letter to Timothy. “Many scholars believe that Paul was released from imprisonment after some two years in Rome, that he wrote 1 Timothy and Titus during this time, and that he made his hoped-for trip to Spain as well.” (OYCB)
In Paul’s letter to Timothy, “a true son in the faith,” he warns against false teachers in the church. He mentions two false teachers, “Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.”
Paul says the Lord “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle—I am speaking the truth in Christ and not lying—a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.”
Then Paul gives instructions regarding the church structure. He tells the men to pray and worship without wrath and doubting, and the women to dress modestly and not seductively within the church. He also says that the women should not teach men or exercise authority over men within the church. “For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.” So although we are all equal in Christ, we do have different roles and responsibilities. (Women teaching men in church is one area of Scripture that is highly debated. “Paul has a specific context for his restriction about women teaching men in this letter, but it does not contradict his permitting women from prophesying and praying in the assembly in his letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 11).” ~ Iva May)
More from Paul to Timothy tomorrow. Keep reading.
(James 4:1-5:20, 1 Timothy 1:1-2:15)