Study # 30
Thesis: Man is fundamentally incapable of exercising vengence in a righteous manner.
Introduction: In our last study we saw that James was fundamentally interested in creating a spirit of humility before the Word of God. We saw that he apparently believed that it was only as believers get solidly fixed upon the love of God for them that such a humility is developed. We also saw that there are three things that are required of believers in the light of the stresses of temptation: 1) that they be absolutely fixated upon the thesis that the Word is to be heard; 2) that they be willing to curb their natural tendency to speak in contradiction to that Word; and 3) that they be willing to reject their natural tendency to act to "set things right". This evening we want to see at least a part of James' foundation for such instruction.
April 1, 1998
- I. The Background for James' Instruction.
- A. There is an assumption of rather significant pain that is seen as "unjust".
- 1. This assumption is evidenced by the call for the exclusion of the wrath of man.
- 2. This assumption is also the foundation for all that has been written in chapter 1.
- B. There is an assumption that man is typically not geared to think properly about difficulties.
- 1. James declares the benefit of difficulties.
- 2. He also declares the final end of those who buy into his benefit thesis.
- C. There is an assumption of a multitude of human "solutions" to the pain.
- 1. This assumption is rooted in the three exhortations James gives.
- a. That men will either ignore or twist what the Word says.
- b. That men will attempt to verbalize what they see as the solution.
- c. That men will engage in actions designed to compel the existence of righteousness.
- 2. This assumption has been validated by the history of man.
- II. The Nature of James' Declaration.
- A. He fundamentally denies man's ability to bring God's righteousness about in the context of relationships of pain through the application of justice.
- 1. The issue is justice.
- a. Both "wrath" and "righteousness" have to do with justice. [See the notes on orge.]
- b. James has already founded his entire thesis upon the coming Judgment.
- 2. The denial is absolute: man cannot bring about the existence of divine righteousness by pursuing justice.
- a. The denial does NOT extend beyond James' context of personal resolution to injustice. The state IS commissioned to pursue the exercise of vengence.
- b. The denial DOES cover every category of personal injustice.
- B. His roots for such a denial are bound up in the thesis of "being beloved".
- 1. Man cannot establish justice because he is imperfect in both his perception of his condition of being beloved and in his exercise of being the lover.
- a. This will throw his efforts off.
- 2. Man cannot bring about justice because he does not have the capacity to establish equality.
- III. The Significance of James' Declaration.
- A. Believers are forbidden to pursue vengence at the personal level.
- B. Believers are required to pursue righteousness at the personal level.