God · gospel · Theology · Uncategorized

What Does James Teach us About the Tongue?

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It should be evident through our human experience that what we say in passionate discourse, driven by our jealousies and self ambitions, is sinfully disordered. (James 3:13-18)  We can say, scream, or spitefully whisper, things that should not be said.  These things can destroy relationships, ruin opportunities, and discredit our witness.  The enemy is the father of lies.  When we allow our tongue to run unfettered it does the work of the devil.

Let’s take a look at what God says about the tongue in the book of James.  He says that it is, “tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity”  In this context, fire is destructive.  It destroys and consumes everything it touches.  It defiles the entire body.  It sets the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.  Wow, and ouch!  It sets the course for our life?  Yep, by the sinful, undisciplined, words that come out of your heart and mouth, your entire life’s course is changed.  Look at how many public figures careers have been ruined by something they said, or how many Evangelist who were caught by an open mic saying something unbecoming.  It is set on fire by hell.  That paints a very scary picture in my mind.  It is a restless evil and full of deadly poison.  How many times have you poisoned someone by saying words out of a selfish position?  How much hurt have you caused to those you love by expressing your sinful heart’s passion recklessly?  I know I am guilty of of it for sure.  I look back and regret the hurt and injury I inflicted with my words.

Like Jesus said, “Do you not understand that everything that goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and is eliminated? But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man.” (NASB) Matthew 15:17-20”

With it we curse men who are made in the image of God.  This indicates our elevation of ourselves.  It demonstrates how we see ourselves better than other men, more entitled, and deserving.  What did Paul say, “ It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.” (NASB) 1 Timothy 1:15

James quotes the psalmist when he says, “But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (NASB) James 4:6  So what instruction can we receive from the scripture?  Are we hopeless to control our tongues?  The scriptures are clear that we can have our sinful natures changed by the work of God.  Christ’s work justifies us, and the Holy Spirit brings us to new life.  As the new man learns and grows, he can, and will have more success battling against the destructive self-centered overflow of the heart.  This is due to the Holy Spirit’s work applying the truth of God and His word to our hearts.  We have new hearts, with new desires and affections.  As these begin to rule and dominate, we are conformed to the likeness of Christ our Savior.  We begin to speak wisely, and gently.  We aren’t perfect, but by God’s grace we are justified and sanctified.

So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things.
See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by  hell. For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water?  Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh. (NASB) James 3:5-12

Wisdom from Above
Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly,  natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the  seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. (NASB) James 3:13-18

God · gospel · love · Theology · Uncategorized

What Does James Chapter 2 Teach us About Faith, and Works?

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In James 2:14-26 we learn that what a person does as works is driven by their beliefs. Their works are a manifestation of what they believe. If one believes in being made right with God by doing works, they demonstrate that they don’t understand the gospel. They don’t understand the work that Jesus did on the cross to atone for their sins. The example of Abraham and Isaac is given. Abraham would not have went to sacrifice his son Isaac if he didn’t truly believe God told him to do it. By obeying God, he demonstrated his true belief in God. When we do God’s will because we believe Him, and His word, it demonstrates the kind of faith that separates us from demons who believe in God and tremble, as well as those who attempt to attain righteousness by their works. The believing heart and mind agree that there is nothing worthy in them, and entirely rely on Christ, and in so doing rejoice in Christ and His grace. This moves them to do works that are pleasing to Him because of His great love, and mercy, true believers demonstrate grace to the lost world of suffering sinners for the glory of Him who saved them.
James 2:14-26
Faith and Works
What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.
But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God. You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. (NASB) James 2:14-26