by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Study # 15 December 10, 1997 Harlingen, Texas
Thesis:James' accusation of instability reveals that his interest is in generating a singleness of mind about God as Life-Giver.
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.
This Current Study:
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.