|James 1 |
1 [James was an Apostle, a natural brother of Jesus, and a pillar of the church in Jerusalem along with John and Peter. After Peter resigned as the head of the Apostles' Council to preach the gospel, James became the council's head: the head of the church in Jerusalem. This letter is James' plea against the false doctrines that were already beginning to take hold of Christendom in the Apostles' time. It is interesting to note that the founders of Protestantism, particularly Luther, had great disdain for this letter along with Revelation, Hebrews, Jude, and Esther because they did not support the theory of grace being instant salvation. Luther called this letter "an epistle of straw." (Luther also wrote of extreme hatred for the Jews, justifying the Nazi's later holocaust). In their arrogance, Luther and the founders of Protestantism never supposed that their theory of instant salvation and sainthood was flawed; nor that James, the natural brother of Jesus, and head of the miraculous, powerful early church in Jerusalem, might have more spiritual discernment than themselves. Like many unregenerated founders of sects in Christendom, Luther built a doctrine of salvation on subsets of the scriptures, ignoring or discounting scriptures that did not support his opinions. In effect, Luther created a new God and Christ from his selected subset of scriptures. In contrast, the early Quakers found all the scriptures to be wholly compatible with their understandings and beliefs.
All scriptures are compatible; if you have to disregard one scripture to maintain your understanding, then you don’t understand the other scriptures you think you do.
To everyone, from the Word of the Lord within: "Dear, a ratify of James will do wonders. Ratify James." The Lord is telling us that this letter is key to understanding the requirements of becoming a true Christian.]
1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes that are scattered abroad, greetings.
2 My brothers, count it all joy when you fall into various trials; [It is through many trials and tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. Acts 14:22. Many are the trials of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all. Psa 34:19. He shall deliver you in six troubles; yes, in seven no evil shall touch you. Job 5:19 ]
3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith works steadfast endurance. [When God delivers you from a trial, it strengthens your steadfast endurance, your faith, and hope of your coming eternal salvation.]
4 But let steadfast endurance have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.1 [Note! If you lack nothing, then you have everything possible, (including fellowship with Christ and the Father, raised to heaven, sitting with Christ in the kingdom, in union with Christ and God, free from even the desire to sin, pure, holy, permanently perfected, protected from ever sinning again — all while still alive on earth), as Paul wrote the perfect man does: Until we all come to the unity of the faith, and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; Eph 4:13. If you are a perfect man and possess the fullness of Christ, you have everything possible.]
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God who gives to all men liberally and does not criticize, and it will be given to him.
6 But let him ask in faith, not wavering [in doubts]. For he who wavers is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
7 For do not let that man think that he will receive anything from the Lord,
8 For a double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
9 Let the brother of humble circumstances rejoice that he is exalted,
10 But let the rich [brother] rejoice that he is humbled, because like the flower of the grass he will pass away.
11 For the sun has no sooner risen with a burning heat, than it withers the grass; and the flower of it falls and its beautiful appearance perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in his pursuits.
12 Blessed is the man who endures trials because when he is proven genuine, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love him. [Your faith is tested through trials; is it strong enough to last through suffering, or do you become offended and cease seeking God as your first priority?]
13 Let no man say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God;" because God cannot be tempted by evil, neither does he tempt anyone. [God will never allow a temptation to come on us, greater than what we are capable of withstanding; but he definitely allows temptations to come our way so that we either grow stronger in resisting them; or in falling to them, suffer the pain of sin to motivate our improvement.]
14 But every man is tempted when he is drawn away by his own lusts and evil desires.
15 Then when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin; and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death.
16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers.
17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights,2 with whom there is no variableness, neither is there a shadow cast with his turning. [When the source of light turns, there is no shadow to be seen. God is light and the source of all goodness, virtue, kindness, mercy, wisdom, purity, cleanliness, gentleness, self-control, honor, peace, faith, humility, love, joy, knowledge, life, power, glory, holiness, and light.]
18 By his own will he fathered us by the word of truth, so that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.
19 Therefore, my beloved brothers, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.
20 For the anger of man does not lead to the righteousness of God. [This verse confirms that righteousness is not instantly received by believing in Jesus. Righteousness must be aimed at and pursued. 2 Tim 2:22. Our obedience to what we hear the Lord speak to us leads to righteousness. Rom 6:16. We must seek His righteousness as the highest priority in our life. Mat 6:33. We must patiently wait, by faith, through the Spirit, for the hope of righteousness, Gal 5:5, as the Spirit reproves us for our sins; and with our obedience to the commands we hear, sin is removed from our hearts. When we have crucified our selfish, sinful nature on the inward cross of self-denial, we become righteous. From the Word of the Lord within: "Do not be misled; anger must be eliminated to enter the kingdom."]
21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and residue of wickedness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.3 [If you humbly believe and obey the words that you hear Christ speak to you, they are engrafted into your heart, fulfilling the scripture: I will put my laws into their hearts, and I will write them in their minds (inward understanding). Heb 10:16. From the Word of the Lord within: "You must obey every law the Spirit establishes."]
22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. [James is saying that if you fail to obey what you hear spoken by Christ to you from within your heart, you are deceiving yourself that obedience is not essential. Obedience leads to righteousness, and obedience leads to salvation; without obedience you will experience neither.]
23 For if anyone is only a hearer of the word, and not a doer,4 he is like a man looking at his natural face in a mirror,
24 Who looks at himself and goes on his way, immediately forgetting what he looked like.
25 But whoever looks into the perfect law of liberty, and continues looking into it, if he does not forget what he heard, but he does the work [obeys],5 this man will be blessed in his deed.
26 If anyone among you considers himself to be religious but does not bridle [restrain] his tongue, he deceives his own heart [thinking to be religious], and this man's religion is worthless.6 [For we all err in many things; and if any man does not err in his words, he is a perfect man, and able also to control his whole body. James 3:2. The fruit of a tongue that roams is death: "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it shall eat its fruit." Pro 18:21]
27 Pure religion and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit the orphans and the widows [and aged people, who cannot help themselves] in their need, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world [its lusts of the flesh, lusts of the eye, and pride of life].
1 My brothers, count it all joy when you fall into various trials; knowing this, that the trying of your faith produces steadfast endurance. But let steadfast endurance have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. Trials, tribulations, and afflictions from the hand of God are necessary to bring a man to perfection. God humbles a man, allowing the adversary, (Satan and his fallen angels), to sift and try a man, just like he did Peter and the disciples.
The trials produce steadfast endurance, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing, which means you have everything possible, (including fellowship with Christ and the Father, raised to heaven, sitting with Christ in the kingdom, in union with Christ and God, free from even the desire to sin, pure, holy, permanently perfected, protected from ever sinning again), as Paul wrote the perfect man does: Until we all come to the unity of the faith, and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; Eph 4:13. If you are a perfect man and possess the fullness of Christ, you have everything possible.]
Because narrow is the gate and compressed is the way that leads to life, and there are few who find it. Mat 7:14. (Tribulation and suffering is the pressure; as you approach the gate, the pressures and trials intensify).
Therefore, since Christ has suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same mind because he who has suffered in the flesh is finished with sin, so that you should not live the rest of your time in the flesh in the lusts of men, but to the will of God. 1 Pet 4:1-2. Tribulation is not a hard day at the office, a car wreck, a death in the family, a divorce, or some natural difficulty; it is unmistakably, supernaturally imposed.
Jesus said to Peter: Simon, Simon (Peter), listen! Satan has demanded to have you all, that he may sift you like grain. They were all turned over to Satan for testing. If you are a serious seeker of God, Satan will be allowed to test and sift you, (a slow process), as well as inflict suffering upon you to test, try, and develop patience, faith, and love within you. You must suffer with faith that the suffering is part of your cross, but your cross will be nowhere as painful as the cross of Jesus; your pain will be far, far less and does not result in loss of blood. Remember, the Lord allows Satan to afflict you in order to chasten and scourge any son whom he accepts. If you think you are a son of God, without having suffered, having been chastened, and having been scourged, you are not; you are instead, illegitimate: For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and scourges every son whom he accepts. Endure your trials; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom the father does not chasten? But if you are without chastisement [correction and discipline], of which all [true sons of God] must share, then are you illegitimate, and not sons. Heb 12:5-8
Fear none of those things that you will suffer. Behold, the devil will cast some of you into prison, so that you may be tried; and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful to death, and I will give you a crown of life. Rev 2:10
It is only when a person is besieged by a supernatural enemy, sent by God, which he is helpless to fight against, that the person discovers how he is so easily resentful, angry, impatient, doubtful [loss of faith], and profane. Under the pressure of the adversaries, a man discovers what a low, selfish, angry beast he really is. It is a necessary humbling process. It is a necessary suffering. A man must see over a significant period of time how low he is, how selfish he is, how profane he is, how evil he is — and he must learn this so that he never forgets it. A man must be humbled, and it is impossible for a man to voluntarily humble himself; any such voluntary attempts to humble one's self only increases a man's pride. Only the hand of God can truly humble a man. His only hope has to rest in God's mercy; there can be no other escape. His only objective must become to be rid of his selfish, cursing, profane, hating, resentful self; so when it is finally taken away, he hates evil so much, that he would never even consider drifting back into selfish behaviors again. A man must be broken by God: The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. Psalm 51:17; and then he accepts him: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor [in Spirit]; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted [who mourn due to their slavery to sin], to preach release to the captives [of sin], and recovery of sight to the [spiritually] blind, to deliver [free] those who are oppressed [in slavery to sin]. Luke 4:18, Isa 61:1
After passing a few of the Lord's tests, to see if a man will return to sin, the Lord in his mercy rewards a man with the seal of the Holy Spirit, the down payment of the final reward to come: salvation, union with Jesus and the Father, and the kingdom.
I beseech you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service and worship. Rom 12:1
2 comes down from the father of lights. While you have light, believe in the light, that you may be the children of light. John 12:36. And: For you were once in darkness, but now are you light in the Lord. Walk as children of light. Eph 5:8. And: You are all the children of light, and the children of the day; we are not of the night, nor of darkness. 1 Thes 5:5. And: if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:7. When we start waiting silently on the Lord, we hear his voice. If we persist in hearing and obedience to what is heard, God will cause his light to shine in our hearts. We then walk in the light of God, as children of the light.
3 engraft — to cause to grow together, parts from two different plants; like grafting a plum branch onto a peach tree. The two parts to which this scripture refers are: 1) your heart, and 2) the words Christ speaks to you.
receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save you souls. Hear the word of God from within your heart spoken, remember the words heard, practice any teachings and obey any commands.
Christ in you, the hope of glory. Col 1:27
The words we hear him speak to us are Spirit and impart the life of God to us, John 6:63;
which life of God is Christ, John 1:5,14:6, so that Christ is formed within you, Gal 4:19.
Until finally Christ is fully formed and actually resurrected in you. 2 Cor 4:14,Col 2:11-12,3:1, Eph 2:5-6,Rom 6:13
You then see Christ, the glory of God, appear in your heart and witness him bringing your salvation and eternal life.
His spoken words that you hear and keep, (practice, obey, hold true), are spirit and impart the life of God to you. Works of the flesh profit nothing; reading the Bible is a work of the flesh. Only words heard, as spoken by the Spirit, will give life. You can hear and grow spiritually by hearing the Word of Life spoken by the Holy Spirit in your heart if you wait in humble silence, as you listen, watch, hear, believe it to be true, and then obey what you are told to do. It is the words you hear from God and obey that actually create the new spiritual life within you, which life is Christ, the life. Those words heard are engrafted to take root in your heart to change you to become more like him, forming Christ within you; until Christ is fully formed and resurrected in you to be your true Lord, ruling your thoughts, your words, and your deeds.
Jesus told the Apostles they were cleansed by the words that he had spoken to them. John 15:3. And Paul tells us the church of believers is sanctified and cleansed with the washing of the water of the word to become glorious, without spot or wrinkle, Eph 5:25-27; and both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all of one, Heb 2:11; and those who are made holy are forever cleansed and perfected. Heb 10:14. So the words we persistently hear Him speak to us result in being cleansed, sanctified, in union, and perfected forever.
receive with meekness. What is the meaning of meekness? Gentleness, humility, restrained under provocations and insults. Do not confuse meekness with timidity or lack of courage. Meekness is controlled strength, controlled courage, controlled reply, controlled reaction — the ultimate control to being able to only react as God directs a man — abandoning his own mind, judgments, words, actions, and emotions. Moses was called the meekest man on the earth because he never defended himself against accusations; he let the Lord take the defense and the vengeance.
4 to be only a hearer of the word and not a doer of the word is to be shown by the Lord some aspect of your slavery to sin, and then to ignore it, continuing in your old way. When a man loves his ways, he cannot hear the Lord's gentle attempts to alert him to his errors. So he blithely continues on his chosen path, which, unless eventually forsaken, leads him to destruction. As Jesus said: But he who hears, and does not [practice my teachings], is like a man who built an house upon the earth without a foundation; against which the torrent struck violently, and immediately it collapsed; and the ruin of that house was great. Luke 6:49. Note "hearers of the word," not readers of the word; James is speaking about hearing the word that is in your heart.
5 whoever looks into the perfect law of liberty, and continues looking into it, if he is not a forgetful hearer, but he does the work [obeys], this man will be blessed in his deed. So if Christ shows you something about yourself with His light that shines in your darkness, making it obvious that you need to repent, (change your behavior), and you "do the work" of change, then you will be blessed. This is describing works of obedience to the word of the Lord within you heart, which is obedience and the love of God; so here is a direct conflict with Luther's basic Protestant doctrine of "not by works, by faith;" the Protestants totally failed to understand the difference between dead works, works of the law, done by the will of man, and obedient works ordered by God, which are absolutely necessary for growth to salvation.
Note, after looking, don't forget what you heard. James is using a figure of speech, like looking into a mirror; but here you "look" at the Lord's teachings and commands, which show you things about yourself. By looking, you are hearing his voice, or sometimes seeing a vision with immediate, clear understanding of what he is showing you about yourself and why. If you remember what he has shown you, (keep his teachings), and then repent and obey, your works and deeds will be blessed to become free from the lusts and pride of the fleshly, old man.
6 If any man among you seems to be religious but does not bridle [restrain] his tongue, he deceives his own heart [thinking to be religious], and this man's religion is worthless.
Look at ships, which though they are so great and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, wherever the pilot wants to go.
Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it can boast of great things. Consider how great a forest a little fire kindles!
And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. It is set among our members, defiling the whole body, and setting on fire the course of our life; and it is set on fire by hell.
For every kind of beasts and of bird, and of serpent, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and has been tamed by mankind.
But no man can tame the tongue, it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. James 3:4-8. (Only the grace of God can tame a man's tongue.)
Even a fool, when he doesn't speak, is considered wise; and he who shuts his lips is esteemed a man of understanding. Pro 17:28
A fool utters all his mind, but a wise man keeps it in until afterwards. Pro 29:11
In a multitude of words there is no lack of sin; but he that refrains his lips is wise. Pro 10:19
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it shall eat its fruit. Pro 18:21
[Those who love to talk will never see salvation; the fruit of a tongue that roams is death.]
But let your 'yes' be 'yes,' and your 'no,' 'no;' for whatever is more than these comes from the evil one. Mat 5:37
[Until cleansed and purified, the Spirit of Satan is in every man's heart generating the words that men speak.]
But I say to you, For every idle [non-edifying] word which men speak, they will give an account of the same in the day of judgment.
For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. Mat 12:36-37
For we all err in many things; and if any man does not err in his words, he is a perfect man, James 3:2
So if you are going to be condemned for speaking idle words, and if you cannot control your words until you are perfect, then perfection is obviously required to be justified and obtain salvation.
Before you are perfect, you are speaking from your carnal mind, which is enmity with God; so we all should practice speaking as little as possible. To help us minimize our words, the following messages are from the Word of the Lord within: (the words in parentheses are not the Lord's and have been added for further understanding.)
This will be hard at first, but it gets easier with practice. Don't start the unintended conversation with, Hi, how are you, just wave hello. Use email instead of initiating phone call conversations. There will be times when it is absolutely necessary for you to initiate an oral communication; make them as few as possible. When asked a question, answer yes or no if possible; and if not possible, stay conscious of what you are saying as you speak as few words as possible. Watch yourself in reaction to others speaking, and you will realize you are paying little attention to what they are saying and instead thinking what you want to next say; unfortunately that is what most conversations are — listening to oneself talk.
In your occupation it is often necessary to orally communicate; some of you even have jobs where you are in phone support. My advice is practice making your answers short, and avoid trying to establish rapport with war stories and asking pointless questions such as "how are you today," or "how's the weather out there," or "how about that xxx football team," "who's your favorite yyy?", etc. Net: stick to business.
The early Quakers practiced speaking as few words as possible as William Penn describes below from his Introduction to George Fox's Journal:
"They recommended silence by their example, having very few words upon all occasions. They were at a word in dealing; and their customers' many words could not tempt them from it; having more regard to truth than custom, to example than gain. They sought solitude; but when in company, they would neither use nor willingly hear unnecessary or unlawful discussions. Thus they preserved their minds pure and undisturbed from unprofitable thoughts and diversions. ... Their practices opportunely and profitably halted conversation; by making their company uneasy to their relatives and acquaintances, it gave them the opportunity of more retirement and solitude, where they met with better company, even the Lord God their redeemer. They grew strong in His love, power, and wisdom, and were better qualified for His service; and their success abundantly showed it; blessed be the name of the Lord."
When just before speaking you can hear what the Spirit prompts you to speak, the following messages from the Word of the Lord within apply :