The General Epistle of James (Part 8)

d. Mind that the Biblical classification of creatures is everything “...after his kind...” (GEN 1). (1) Collectively, humanity is mankind. JAM 3:7. (2) The distinction between the elect and the non-elect is described as a separation of kinds at Christ's Second Coming which is the general resurrection. MAT 13:47-50 c/w JOH 5:28-29. (3) The elect are of the same kind as Christ “...the firstfruits of them that slept” (1CO 15:20), being begotten by God out of death in sin with him (COL 2:13) Who is “...the first begotten of the dead...” (REV 1:5). (4) Christ was begotten from physical death by God by the Spirit (ROM 8:11) and God's elect are begotten from spiritual death by God by the Spirit (JOH 3:5-7). They are thus of the same kind and are the “...children of the resurrection” (LUK 20:36). 5. God's begetting of us by His own will delivers us from the uncontested mastery of sin so that we may live as sons of God ought to live. PHIL 2:12-15. 6. This is not only a good gift; it is a perfect gift: it is not in any way deficient nor gained by degrees. We are so made complete. COL 2:10. a. Sin is begotten by degrees by the will of the creature. JAM 1:14-15. b. The new birth is a begetting by decree instantly and intact by the will of the Creator. vs. 19-21. A. These verses set forth the logical progression of James' preceding remarks about owning up to sin and owning God as the Giver of one's regeneration. 1. Mind the connective “wherefore” in vs. 19, 21. 2. God's making us His own is a making of us a holy people by a change of our nature. EPH 4:24. 3. Because we have such a new nature, we are called to holiness. 1PE 1:15. 4. The new birth makes practical holiness possible and requisite. 5. Holiness gives one assurance of seeing God favorably. HEB 12:14. B. There is a broad application of v. 19 that speaks to proper Christian speech and temper: 1. (PRO 18:21) Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. 2. (PRO 21:23) Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles. 3. (PRO 14:17) He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly: and a man of wicked devices is hated. James 8-24-14 Page 18 4. (PRO 14:29) He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly. 5. (PRO 18:13) He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him. 6. (PRO 10:19) In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise. 7. (PRO 29:20) Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him. 8. (PRO 16:32) He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city. 9. (PRO 25:28) He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls. 10. (PRO 19:11) The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression. 11. (ECC 7:9) Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools. 12. (MAT 5:22) But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. 13. (1CO 13:5) Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 14. (EPH 4:26) Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: B. James leads his exhortation with “...let every man be swift to hear...” (v. 19). 1. Discernment is needed here. PRO 19:27. 2. We ought NOT be swift to hear: a. lies. PRO 17:4. b. filthy communication. COL 3:8. c. heresies. ROM 16:17-18; 2TI 2:16-18. d. backbiting. PRO 25:23. e. fables. TIT 1:14. 3. We ought to be swift to hear truth, even uncomfortable truth. PRO 8:32-36; 13:1. 4. It is in hearing that believers are saved. 1TI 4:16. 5. It is the rebel that will not hear. ISA 30:9. a. This condition is owing to a hardened heart. ZEC 7:11-12. b. If we will not hear God, God will not hear us. ZEC 7:13; PRO 28:9. c. Those who refuse to hear will NOT escape. ACT 3:22-23; HEB 12:25. 6. Being swift to hear rather than speak would have been beneficial in their assemblies. ECC 5:1 c/w 1CO 14:26. C. Against the weaknesses of the old man, James exhorts the believers to meekly receive the word of God. v. 21. 1. As the rest of the chapter shows, this word of God is gospel instruction: God's law which a man may hear but not do. JAM 1:22-23. a. It is the hearing of the word that is of primary concern here. v. 19. b. Since faith comes by hearing the word (ROM 10:17), one reluctant to hear it starves the growth of his faith. c. Those who were hardened against the word “...stopped their ears...” (ACT 7:57). 2. The word of God often reproves, corrects and rebukes. 2TI 3:16; 4:2. 3. It pricks the heart where it needs pricking. ACT 2:37. 4. As such, it can cause the flesh to kick against the pricks. ACT 9:5. James 8-24-14 Page 19 5. One who treasures his filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness (v. 21) more than holiness might not be swift to hear, might not be slow to speak against it, and might not be slow to wrath in reacting to it. a. This instruction was particularly important for a people whose history was one of gainsaying (denying, speaking against, contradicting) the preached word which condemned them. ROM 10:21. b. Such unbridled speech evinces a deceived heart and vain religion. JAM 1:26. c. Israel was often guilty of reacting to the truth with wrath against the prophet or teacher. LUK 4:24-29; ACT 7:51-58. wrathful reaction to the word of God “...worketh not the righteousness of God” (v. 20). 6. A a. It is the fear of God's wrath that works the righteousness of God, not the wrath of man who rejects the word of God. HEB 10:24-27; ACT 10:35. b. Cain reacted in wrath to God's rebuke and slew Abel. GEN 4:5-8. c. Cain had previously rejected God's instruction concerning worship, not offering by faith as did Abel. GEN 4:3-5 c/w HEB 11:4. d. Religion is to be performed “...without wrath and doubting” (1TI 2:8). e. “Dr. Manton here says of some assemblies, 'That if we were as swift to hear as we are ready to speak there would be less of wrath, and more of profit, in our meetings.'” (Matthew Henry's Commentary) f. Being slow to wrath would also apply to the way in which one reacts to the disobedience or provocation of others. 2TI 2:24-26; 1CO 13:5. (1) Israel provoked Moses to a hasty, wrathful reaction. PSA 106:32-33. (2) Moses' wrath did not work the righteousness of God; God was willing to give the congregation the water they desired. NUM 20:8. 7. We ought to meekly receive the truth in all circumstances, especially when it exposes and condemns our unholiness. PSA 141:5; PRO 9:8. 8. (JAM 3:14) But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. D. In order to meekly receive the word, one must “...lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness...” (v. 21). c/w 2CO 7:1. 1. filthiness: Moral corruption or pollution; obscenity; vileness, wickedness. 2. superfluity: Superabundant supply, superabundance; the condition of there being (or of one's having) more than enough; an instance of this. 3. naughtiness: a. Wickedness, viciousness, depravity. b. Waywardness, disobedience. 4. We have plenty of naughtiness but we are not called only to lay apart some of it but ALL of it. 5. Sin must be laid aside to make room for the word. 1PE 2:1-2. a. God's order is “...repent ye, and believe...” (MAR 1:15). b. Those who prefer unrighteousness to truth will receive delusion. 2TH 2:10-12. E. Mind that this is instruction to saints to “...receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls” (v. 21). 1. meekness: Gentleness of spirit; humility. a. Meekness speaks of lowliness and submissiveness. MAT 21:5 c/w ZEC 9:9; 1PE 3:4-5. b. God teaches the meek but resists the proud. PSA 25:9; JAM 4:6. 2. This salvation is obviously not eternal salvation since he is addressing brethren with the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ. JAM 2:1. 3. This must be temporal salvation through proper response to the truth, by which a brother's James 8-24-14 Page 20  soul can be saved from death. JAM 5:19-20. a. He may be saved from death in carnality. 1TI 5:6 c/w ROM 8:6. b. He may be saved from death of fellowship with the Father. 1CO 5:5 c/w LUK 15:24. c. He may even be saved from the death of the body by God's wrath. ACT 5:1-5. d. There are other salvations that come by meek receiving of truth: from ignorance, fear, deception, spiritual immaturity, sin's pull on the soul, etc. e. God was always said to “...command deliverances for Jacob” (PSA 44:4). 4. This word to be received is engrafted. a. engraft: To graft in; to insert (a scion of one tree) as a graft into or upon (another). b. This word is in the past tense: engrafted. What believers are commanded to receive has already been graft into them. HEB 8:10; ROM 10:8. 5. James thus concurs with Paul, who endured “...all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (2TI 2:10). 6. For the Jews of James' day who longed for liberty, he presents them the one genuine path to liberty: truth. JOH 8:31-32.
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