Study # 15
Thesis: James' accusation of instability reveals that his interest is in generating a singleness of mind about God as Life-Giver.
December 10, 1997
This Current Study:
- A. James is fundamentally concerned with the choice to NOT SIN in the face of very trying circumstances.
- B. His claim that God will not give anything to the person who is asking without faith is not to be understood as a denial that God often gives to men things they ask for...it is to be understood within the context of a desire to know wisdom for his difficult situation.
- I. James' Accusation of Instability: Its Meaning.
- A. Its meaning is tied to this context.
- 1. The context is temptation to sin.
- 2. The issue in temptation is to refuse to sin.
- a. James' insistence has been watered down by our current religious culture.
- 1) We are taught that we cannot lose our salvation by yielding to sin--and we tend to lose a sense of necessity by that.
- a) But this is patently untrue.
- 1) Sin ALWAYS causes a loss of salvation.
- 2) There is NO illustration in Scripture that sin led the one who did it into a deeper experience of life.
- b) The truth that is confused is that we cannot lose our justification by sinning.
- 1) Because we expand justification to mean salvation, we make sin meaningless.
- 2) Because we make salvation only freedom from Hell, we demean the real issue of salvation: fellowship with God.
- 2) We are taught that Jesus' death was totally sufficient to cover any number of sins--and we tend to reduce the problem by that.
- 3) We are taught that God is abundantly willing to forgive what we 'confess' and we tend to minimize the seriousness of sin by that.
- b. James' insistence arises from a recognition that sin costs SIGNIFICANTLY.
- 1) He knew that cost cannot be measured before the payment is exacted.
- a) Sin's penalty is never realized until eternity dawns.
- 2) He knew that life is immeasurably glorious so that any loss is very significant.
- 3. The issue, then, is that the charge of instability means that the person doesn't care sufficiently about the losses of sin.
- a. Instability means no consistency in the issue of doing right.
- 1) There IS a significant consistency -- in endeavoring to enjoy without God.
- b. Instability means no perception of the key to life: righteousness.
- B. Its meaning is tied to the larger context of James as given in 4:8.
- 1. James sees God as the Author of Life.
- 2. James sees God ALONE as the Source of Life.
- 3. James sees 'faith' as a commitment to God that is exclusive of anything and everything else.
- a. This is THE meaning of being two-souled.
- b. Being two-souled means having dual deities to provide the security and relationship that is the foundation of life.