by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Study # 29 March 25, 1998 Harlingen, Texas
Thesis:The only solution to the problems brought on by temptation and failure is to return to the attitude of humility before the Word.
Introduction:So far in our studies of James we have seen that he has confronted the perennial problem of the believer's willingness to be self-indulgent and then engage in a self-pity party when his life blows up in his face. We get this overall impression from two things in the text: 1) his immediate plunge into the reality of serious difficulties and its clearly beneficial impact (1:2-12); and 2) his demand that we relate to God as perfect in love and motivation and to ourselves as significantly committed to selfish interests. This evening we are going to look into both of these issues again as they surface in 1:19. We are going to see that life is only effectively lived when we get a grip on the absolute necessity of being avid students of the Word of God who are willing to accept what He says without resistance.
I. The Textual Differences Behind the Translations.
A. The Textus Receptus reading.
B. The Nestle/Aland 26 reading.
C. The probable reading is impossible to determine in a final sense, but the differences are theologically insignificant.
II. The Implications of James' characterization of his readers as Beloved Brethren.
A. That this is WHERE they are liable to be weakest.
1. The powerful fleshly reaction to difficulties is to disbelieve in the professed value that another puts on you. "If you loved me, you wouldn't do this to me...".
a. James does two things with this...
1) He says, in effect, God isn't doing this to you.
2) He also admits, however, that God is the Final Author by way of permission, cause/effect, and end result.
b. James also points to the reality of love as that which is determined by the final end and not by the temporal realities.
2. The powerful fleshly reaction to confrontation is to disbelieve that one's guilt has nothing to do with one's value.
a. Because of the performance focus of our imbeded legalism, confrontation means rejection.
b. But the Gospel is that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us...indicating the fact that love and guilt are not mutually exclusive.
B. That this is the root of all successful response to difficulties.
1. Lending credibility to the command to Get This Fixed in your mind (Nestle/Aland 26).
2. Giving foundation for the truth that no one can ever get his life together without being convinced that the love of God is the reason for confrontation.
III. The Requirements of James Upon His Readers.
A. That there be a deliberate choice to run to the Word...contradicting our assumptions of knowledge.
B. That there be a deliberate choice to speak only after careful consideration...contradicting our desire to make our point of view known.
C. That there be a deliberate choice to refuse anger as the way to respond...contradicting our natural reaction to the weakness of our faith in His love.