James; Practical Theology


I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

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. 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.  James 1:26-27

James teaches us practical everyday religion. It reminds me of what an inspired commentator said about Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan.

“In the story of the good Samaritan, Christ illustrates the nature of true religion. He shows that it consists not in systems, creeds, or rites, but in the performance of loving deeds, in bringing the greatest good to others, in genuine goodness.”  {Desire of Ages 497}

I remember years ago, a lady who loved to study her Bible.A tornado hit our community and the church asked her to help with our community service center in aiding those who needed help. Turned out she was too busy studying her Bible to help. Later we needed her help with VBS but once again she was too busy studying her Bible. Nothing wrong with Bible study, but there comes a time to put into practice all those wonderful things we have learned.

James tells us in chapter 1, verse 22, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” When we are not genuinely putting the Word of God into practice we fool no one but ourselves. Everyone can see right through a phony Christian.

James gives us a practical lesson on faith and works.

“But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?” James 2:20-22.

James teaches us that Faith works. In Genesis 15:6 it says that Abraham believed the Lord and it was credited to Him as righteousness. Later, in Genesis 22, we see that belief and faith at work when Abraham went to offer Isaac on the altar just as God had commanded. When we believe in God’s love and that He has our best interest in mind, we act upon His commands. If I believe God loves me I won’t be afraid to obey Him. Eve disobeyed God when the serpent convinced her that God did not love her and have her best interest in mind. When we have faith in God’s love we then act like we have faith.

“Here is the patience of the saints: here [are] they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Revelation 14:12.

This verse in Revelation sums up what James is saying. Those who have faith keep the commandments. There is no true faith without commandment keeping. When we trust we obey.

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