unto Jesus and the Gospel as the means to being both a hearer and doer
of the Word of God as compared to looking to that which makes no lasting
impression on us.
AIM: That we
might be doers of the Word indeed and not hearers only.
INTR: James is
a most difficult book only because James is so exacting in the demand
for a life that confirms belief in the truth.
1. James here is not
the Apostle since he was killed much earlier by Herod Agrippa much
earlier. That leaves either James the Son of Alpheus or James the
brother of Jesus.
2. Martin Luther was critical of the book in that
he thought the second chapter was in conflict with the doctrine of
justification by faith. Closer study indicates quite the contrary.
The difficulty lies with us and our tendency to recoil at the demand for
a life of responsiveness to faith and true commitment to the Gospel
principles of Christ.
While we delightfully acknowledge the greatness and the sovereignty of
God, we are given the means of self-examination along with the ability
to submit to the divine mandates and encouragements and so to be doers
of the Word and not hearers only.
I. Salvation and fruitfulness
1. The will of God wins out in every case, but we are not
to presume upon His grace.
1) The fact that we are begotten of God
presents the necessity of the New Birth.
2) The instrumentality of
the Word of truth and the power of the Holy Spirit produces a life that
is consistent with the whole of the divine revelation as to who and what
3) The “wherefore” places here tells us of the necessity that
we be in tune with this fact in
4) Becoming responsive to the Word
and resistant to the things of the flesh.
2. Yet another “wherefore”
brings us to give specific attention to the our actions in the world and
reactions to the world:
1) Compare: Wherefore seeing we also are
compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside
every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run
with patience the race that is set before us, Hebrews 12:1
2) AND 1
Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and
envies, and all evil speakings, 2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere
milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: 3 If so be ye have tasted
that the Lord is gracious. 1 Peter 2:1-3.
3. Particular attention is
drawn to the “the engrafted Word”
1) That that which is received as a
matter of heart and
2) The active component in salvation continued!!
II. Hearing and doing (vv. 22-25)
1. We have all heard the old
saying “all talk and no action” and realize that this is a fleshly
tendency in all in certain areas of life.
2. Nowhere is it (hearing
and not doing) more noticeable than where there is a profession of faith
that is not followed by a consistent life.
1) This is sensed by saved
and unsaved alike and identifies hypocrisy.
2) In one truly who is
truly born again, it produces a disconnect in his faith and a sense of
separation from the Lord – salvation is in the Lord, is The Lord and in
it the Lord is pursued!
3. So it is the objective of the writer to
correct in the sense of bringing the believer to a profitable standing
in the Lord for his own good and God’s glory – to deliver him from
4. The illustration is a powerful one indeed:
Consider our interactions with our own mirrors and the dependence on
them for vanity.
2) But, in the matter of the any lasting impression,
the image seen is soon forgotten, either good or not so good.
like us that is in that we are often impressed with the importance of
the lessons that come from preaching, reading, witness or even in
reading the Bible. (We must ask ourselves the most important question –
did it make a difference in me?
4) In particular we should consider
the effect of messages and meditations on the cross and the subsequent
life of the cross!
5. Looking in to the “Perfect Law of Liberty”
1) In looking to the Gospel (we do not discount the fact that the Law
exposes us all as guilty) we certainly see ourselves being represented
by Christ our Lord before the Just and Holy Father and so enduring that
2) We further see that in the suffering, death and
resurrection of Christ, we have been set free and are at liberty to
praise, worship and serve Him and we may freely love even as He has
3) Implied here is that we will be continually looking –
not just a casual glance from time to time.
6. Such a person is
“blessed” or happy in his deed (doing).
III. Pure religion (vv.
1. Temperance is an element of the fruit of the Spirit and
control of the tongue is most difficult (the third chapter is devoted to
2. Pure religion will be identified by action and not
mere claim and is produced by continually looking into that “perfect law
1) To visit those in need with a view to help and
To keep ourselves unspotted from the world!!