Friday, April 11, 2014

James 4:13-17

13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; 14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” 16 But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.

The Apostle James now turns his attention to those who in their self-sufficient pride make boastful assumptions about what they will do, and what they will achieve. And thus in doing so forget that it is God who brings (or takes away) all "good fortune" or success that we have in our lives. For as Jesus Himself warned in His parable of the rich fool. No-one who lives in prosperity and forgets about God should presume upon anything, much less ones own life (see Luke 12:13-21). And so that is what is being cautioned against here. That self-sufficient pride within individuals which boastfully makes its own plans, and then presumes upon fulfilling them. All the while never considering that ones life is, as the Apostle James says here, as transient as a vapor, appearing for a little time before it vanishes away (vs. 14, also consider Prov. 27:1). And so instead of being like that, the Apostle James says one ought to say, "if the Lord will's, we shall live and do this or that" (vs. 15).
For in making boastful assumptions about dwelling in a certain city for a year or so, and there making profit for themselves, is as the Apostle James says here, evil. Evil because it is an open denial of God's Sovereignty in the affairs of this world, as well as ones own life. And so here the Apostle James rebukes all such arrogant boasting and presumptions, not the Christian who seeks to make and do honest business, wherever they may seek to do that, the Lord willing. Just the Christian who thinks that they are some sort of independent entity in their pursuits and affairs in this life. For if one seeks to do the Lord's will, and seeks His guidance in their affairs in this life, they can be quite confident in what they are pursuing and doing. Especially if they are pursuing the riches of Christ (2 Cor 5:15). "Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin." vs. 17

Thus the Apostle James give us here a principal that applies not only here, but also in every aspect of our lives. Like the principal of faith that says, "whatever is not from faith is sin" (see Rom. 14:23). So here we have a Spirit principal that states, if we do not do the good that we know we should do, then that is sin to us. Thus in the New Covenant it's not "the letter" of the Law which would require innumerable statues to be written (and re-written) for every possible situation and circumstance that a believer may encounter. Rather it is being Spirit led (that is living in accord with the fruits of the Spirit of God, Gal 5:22-23) which is to be supreme in governing ones life and affairs.

For the Law of God having been placed in our consciences, and given to us through God's Word, we all know at a rudimentary level what is morally right, sound, and just, and what is not. That is we all start out with that basic understanding from God. And so no-one is with excuse who chooses to reject God, harden their hearts towards Him, and live according to their own ungodly lusts and desires (Rom 1:18-32). Especially now after God has given us the Gospel of His Son the Lord Jesus Christ by which both our redemption and regeneration comes to us from God. For the Lord Jesus Christ having suffered crucifixion death too make atonement for all our sins. He is now freely offering life, liberty and cleansing from all sins, for everyone who repents and believes in Him (Mark 1:15; John 3:16, 10:9-10). Therefore if you have not yet tasted that the Lord is gracious, that He is the One to whom release from sin and death, and new and everlasting life come to one and to all who believe in Him. Then I urge you please receive the Lord Jesus Christ into your heart and life while you can. For that's all it takes, faith that believes that God loves you and sent His Son Jesus Christ to suffer crucifixion death for you, so that your sin debt having been paid in full, He can now both heal you, and restore you too God Himself, when you call upon Him in truth (Rom 10:9-10, 13).
Therefore if you have not yet done that, opening your heart to God through Jesus Christ, then please do that. Make that life changing, soul saving and satisfying decision that will keep you in God's perfect peace, because you believe and received the love of the truth for yourself. For life abundant and everlasting is waiting for you to receive it too yourself (John 1:12; Rev. 3:20). Simply pray something like this inviting the Lord Jesus Christ into your heart and life, too be your Lord and Savior. Dear Lord Jesus I believe that You were crucified for me, so that God could save me from my sins and eternal death and give me new and everlasting life with Yourself. Therefore I now invite You into my heart and life, to be my Lord Savior, in Your Name Lord Jesus, amen.

 Scripture Citations
The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982

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