Study # 40
June 10, 1998
Harlingen, Texas

Thesis: The idolatrous pursuit of security apart from God often produces a hyper-religious delusion that pits self-righteous performance against the conviction of sin in order to maintain the pursuit of the idolatry. Introduction: In our study of chapter 2 of James, we have noted that the issue of the chapter is dealing with the temptation to seek security in possessions. Security is one of the three legs of God's definition of life for man. As such, it finds its only real root in the God of the life. There are at least three ways to see this definition: 1) in terms of the divine provisions (intermediate agents) for sustaining the life [land of plenty, persons of good will, and power to do important things;] and 2) in terms of the actual results of the provisions [a humming physical body, a soul rejoicing in security, and a spirit exulting in exaltation] and 3) in terms of the roots of the results [the Spirit of God as the Energizer of the Body, the Son of God as the Guarantor of Security, and the Father as the Lover Who grants Significance]. It is at the level of roots that true godliness or idolatry are revealed. In James 2, James has surfaced the fact of idolatry in the larger issue of the soul's joyful rest. He has claimed that the lust for material possessions is present and obvious by reason of the actions of the readers. However, there are always deep-seated defenses in sinful human hearts that attempt to come to the rescue when the person is being accused of sin. James addresses one of the most deceptive in 2:8-11: self-righteous relativism.