It’s been a very straightforward and dynamic 10 weeks unpacking James’ practical letter… and this week is the finale.
Over the course of these Fridays we’ve pulled our chairs up to the tables and examined insights, words of wisdom, truths and warnings from Jesus’ bold brother. Quick overview:
- Catch this truth men. Grow up in this! We are to count it in the joy column of life when we have various trials because we can know that God is at work sculpturing our character, building our faith and helping us step up to the next level of maturity.
- Realize that temptation is also a test. It is the reverse side of the same coin, but unlike trials its intent is rob, kill and destroy. Temptation comes from Satan. God tempts no man.
- Be slow to anger, be a doer of the Word, and be pure.
- Avoid favoritism and prejudice. Know that we are all God’s favorite!
- You say you believe – great. Satan also believes… We are saved by grace through faith, but know that genuine faith is verified as true by our works – examples Abraham and Rahab.
- Understand your tongue is a fire. Control it and use it wisely.
- Worldly wisdom is driven by envy and selfish ambition. Purity and peace are motives that characterize Godly wisdom.
- Know that life is vapor that is here for a little while and then gone. God is on the throne. Acknowledge Him in all your plans.
- Realize we are all extremely rich and the misuse of resources is rampant, leading to misery and regret.
- Be patient…learn from Job and see with your heart.
…That’s a whole lot of fertile ground and represents a whole lot of growing up!
So, how does James close this letter?
What is the last thing on his mind… his final exhortation, final words of wisdom and direction for living?
How does this man of few, but very select, direct and powerful words wrap things up?
My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. James 5:19-20
There is a reality of backsliding. There is also a responsibility that leads to restoration. Renewal is at stake.
This interactive dynamic reflects the heart of Jesus. James caught it and concludes his letter with a relational directive.
This exhortation is needed, but commonly over-looked, misunderstood and undervalued.
Truth is powerful. It is clarifying. It is uplifting. It is love. James closes on a high note with strong and refreshing perspective.
Join us this Friday at the tables where friends meet and the discussions are rich.
Hope to see you early!
This Week’s Key Verses
My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
But exhort one another each day, as long as it is called “Today,” that none of you may become hardened by sin’s deception. Hebrews 3:13
Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you– unless indeed you fail the test?
2 Corinthians 13:5
In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. Luke 15:10
Let all that you do be done in love. 1 Corinthians 16:14