James 1:18-27

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Text: James 1:18-27

The Word of God

I. God used the Scriptures to bring about the salvation of Jewish believers - 1:18a

James 1:18 a - 18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth . . . .

Of his own will, where his is God the Father, is understood in the sense of because (i.e. since or inasmuch as) He wished (i.e. wanted, desired, or willed after previous deliberation.

Begat he us, where he is God the Father and us is the Jewish believers of the Dispersion to whom James is writing, is He gave birth to us or He brought us into being. It refers to the Jewish people being born again at salvation.

With the word of truth, i.e. through or by means of the word of truth, where word means proclamation, instruction, teaching, or message. Truth, which is used to describe the word, is the true word (proclamation, instruction, teaching, or message) or the word (proclamation, instruction, teaching, or message) which is truth.

II. The salvation of the Jewish believers serves as a promise that many more people will eventually be saved, whether Jews or Gentiles - 1:18b

James 1:18 b - 18 . . . That we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

That we should be, where we is James and the Jewish believers in the Dispersion, is in order that (or for the purpose that) we be (or we might be).

A kind of firstfruits is a kind of first portion. As such, the Jewish believers formed the first church in Jerusalem and were the promise of many more people who would eventually be saved, both Jews and Gentiles.

III. Every believer should be careful how he lives. He should be characterized by a swiftness to listen as well as a slowness to speak or to become angry because man's wrath does not produce God's righteousness - 1:19-20

James 1:19-20 - 19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: 20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

Let every man be = every man must be

Swift to hear is quick (or speedy) in order that he might hear (or listen).

Proverbs 10:19 supplies a good reason why a believer should be slow to speak and weigh his words carefully. It says, In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.

Wrath is a state of relatively strong displeasure, with a focus on the emotional aspect. It is understood in the sense of anger, particularly a quick-tempered type of anger.

Proverbs 16:32 makes a similar statement, He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.

IV. Believers should get rid of sin in their lives and receive the Word of God with humility because it is able to save their souls from sin and its consequences and also to give them victory in their Christian lives - 1:21

James 1:21 - 21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

Lay apart = lay aside or rid yourself of

Filthiness is moral uncleanness

Superfluity (surplus, abundance, or excess) of naughtiness is used in a moral sense meaning depravity, wickedness, or vice. Superfluity of naughtiness is reminiscent of Luke 6:45 ,

(45) A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

Receive refers to an action to be undertaken at once and without delay. It indicates approval of the engrafted word and is understood in the sense of be receptive of, be open to, approve, or accept.

With meekness, where meekness is gentleness, humility, courtesy, or consideration, speaks of an absence of self.

The engrafted word is the implanted word (or message). It includes, but is not limited to, the gospel message which has been implanted in their thinking. Its reference is to the Scriptures, which are not only described by James as the engrafted word in this verse, but also as the word of truth in verse 18, as a glass (or mirror) into which a believer looks while comparing his own life with what God expects of him in verse 23, as the perfect law of liberty in verse 25, as teaching the royal law in 2:8, and as the law of liberty in 2:12, which produces true freedom.

Which is able to save is the one which is able to (or can) save (or deliver).

What the implanted word is able to save is your souls.

The engrafted word is able to save an unbeliever from his sins and also to give the believer victory over sin. Inasmuch as James is writing to saved Jews of the Dispersion, James' primary meaning in this verse is that the engrafted word will give victory over sin in their Christian lives.

It speaks of the present tense of salvation rather than its past tense. God has saved believers in the past when they received Christ as Savior in that He saved them from the power of sin and from the eternal consequences of their sin, guaranteeing their home in heaven; and He is in the process of saving them in the present in that He is making them more and more Christlike in the way they live.

V. However, it is not enough just to hear the Word of God; it must also be practiced - 1:22

James 1:22 - 22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

Deceiving your own selves = deluding yourselves

VI. One who hears, but does not practice, the Word of God will be like someone who looks at himself in a mirror, goes away, and forgets what he looked like - 1:23-24

James 1:23-24 - 23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.

Beholding describes this man and means looking at, looking at with reflection, considering, contemplating.

His natural face, i.e. the face of his birth. Although some have modified the original designs of their faces, most people still have the same face they had at birth.

In a glass = in a mirror

Straightway is immediately.

What manner of man he was = of what sort he was

VII. One who looks into the Word of God and practices it will be blessed - 1:25

James 1:25 - 25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

Whereas the individual in verses 23-24 pays little attention to what he sees in the mirror and soon forgets what he saw, the individual in verse 25 looks into the mirror of the Word of God, pays attention to what He sees, and begins to practice it.

The perfect law of liberty refers to the Scriptures.

By perfect James means that it has attained the highest standard. In verse 4 James mentions perfect work, in verse 17 perfect gift, and here he mentions perfect law.

It is the law (or principle) which gives liberty (or freedom).

VIII. Pure religion is illustrated by one who practices the Word of God and keeps out of sin - 1:26-27

James 1:26-27 - 26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. 27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

Seem is used of subjective opinion and suggests considers as probable, thinks, believes, supposes, or considers.

Bridleth means guides with a bit and bridle or holds in check.

Vain describes religion and means idle, empty, fruitless, useless, powerless, or lacking truth. It is absolutely worthless. A religion which does not provide victory over the tongue is not worth pursuing.

It provides him with a religion which works in that it changes his life with the result that he looks out for those in need.

From the world suggests that the world system headed up by Satan will spot or stain the believers and that they need to be separated from the world so that they do not become like the world.