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20 But [de] wilt [thelo] thou know [ginosko], O [o] vain [kenos] man [anthropos], that [hoti] faith [pistis] without [choris] works [ergon] is [esti] dead [nekros]? KJV-Interlinear
20 But are you willing to recognize,
you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? NASB
And following yesterdays study, if indeed you are one
who believes in a deity, but have missed the mark of following the correct path
to Him, then are you willing to listen?
Attitude is the second barrier to getting yourself on
the right track in your spiritual life.
Yesterday, we saw that there are a lot of beliefs, and
that all beliefs are types of faith.
In the world there are many who believe in objects as
their deity.Some cultures believe in
the wolf, some in the eagle, and some in the whale.And in some cultures the cow is sacred, or a
sculpture of a fat man or goat or something similar.Then there are those who believe in the moon,
or stars.Then there are those who simply
believe in an ambiguous system of nature or universe in which we all sort of
melt into at some point in our existence.
But of these, God is not on the table for
consideration, and therefore they are way off base as far as truth is
James suggests that if you indeed believe in God, then
you are far better off than those folks.Getting them to change their minds would be difficult at best.For they can see the objects of their
worship, whereas God cannot be seen.
But then is believing in God enough?No.Even the fallen angels believe in God.In fact they know God far better than any of us.Have you seen God?No.And neither have I.But you and I
are saved.We who have never seen nor
even heard God.And they, the fallen angels,
who know and have heard God for perhaps millions of years, are not saved.
So, believing in God is not enough.We have to approach God in a manner of His
choosing, not ours.
And so this study of today.Are you willing to listen?Are you wiling to learn?Are you willing to accept that which is being
taught in the scriptures? And that is also a tough question, for we can all say
'yes,' but most of us do not follow through.
So, in the first place we need to be positive toward
the concept of God.When we all grow up,
at some point in our life we become conscious of God, or at least of some sort
of afterlife and deity.Our first test
if from our curiosity and desire to know of God.
The second test is our pursuit of the truth.Will we accept what our parents have
believed, or everything that we have been brought up to believe in, or will we
pursue with greater curiosity and even test or question, our own beliefs?
When we are positive, then God introduces us to the
gospel and your first critical question for life is, 'What do you think of
Believe in Christ and you are saved.Reject Him and you are not saved.It is as simple as that.But you do not define you own method of salvation,
God does that, and you just have to accept it or not.
But once saved, then the critical question for your
life is, 'What do you think of Bible doctrine?'And again, you must follow Gods process for spiritual growth, not your
That is where James has been leading us through his
book, the acquisition, and application, of wisdom.
The first chapter was concerned with getting your head
on straight.Do not be double
minded.Don't be carnal one moment and
spiritual the next, flip flopping back and forth between the two.
Then we have the introduction to prejudices, in
chapter two.Preconceived ideas,
prejudices, biases, whether for or against people, for or against beliefs, can
be your downfall.So you still have to
sort out life and you still have to follow Gods procedure for the spiritual
life, not by means of methods of your own convenience.
James will give two examples, which will seal the
truth of works as the fulfillment of spiritual productiveness when combined
with faith, which between the two, will fulfill your spiritual life.And that simply means that you will be
growing up to spiritual maturity, if you do all of this right.
You cannot approach the spiritual life with your own
methods, with indifference, and certainly with an attitude that since you have
believed in Christ, nothing more needs to be done.
When you were born into this world, was your life
completed?No.You still had to learn to crawl, walk, run,
read, write, get a job, become responsible, etc.It is the same with your spiritual life.
When you first believed in Christ, you were born
again.This is your spiritual
birth.And like the physical birth and
life to follow, you have to grow up.But
you have to grow up right, just as you did, or do, in your temporal life.
And here James asks the big question, 'Are you
Now is the time to post a prayer.
End Of Lesson
Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.
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