James 1:21-27 | “Works have a role in the verdict rendered over our lives!”
Here is the link to the Bible Project video on 'the law', which is so central to this section of James' teaching! Please watch it a few times and slow it down to work through it with your children!
And then here is a not-so-coherent summary of the preach!
Pelagianism believe that with our free will we can choose to follow Adam’s bad example or Jesus’s good example.
To believe this is our most natural theology!
Semi-Pelangianism at least believed that some assistance of divine grace was needed!
Arminian theology affirms the necessity of grace but still believes that salvation is a cooperative work for God and humans!
"While Augustinianism affirms that God does all of the saving and Pelagianism crowns our moral achievement with the "grace" of acceptance, semi-Pelagianism says that salvation is a process that depends on the coworking of God and humans. The technical term for this position is synergism (working together). Donald Bloesch laments, "It must be acknowledged . . . that in much popular Protestantism synergism (salvation through both grace and free will) is even more evident than in Catholicism, and human reason and experience figure more prominently than Scripture in determining the norms for faith. ... Where we land on these issues is perhaps the most significant factor in how we approach our own faith and practice and communicate it to the world. If not only the unregenerate but the regenerate are always dependent at every moment on the free grace of God disclosed in the gospel, then nothing can raise those who are spiritually dead or continually give life to Christ's flock but the Spirit working through the gospel. When this happens (not just once, but every time we encounter the gospel afresh), the Spirit progressively transforms us into Christ's image.
Michael Horton (Christless Christianity)
Where we land on these issues is perhaps the most significant factor in how we approach our own faith and practice and communicate it to the world.
The term often used to say that God is much greater than creation is the word transcendent. Very simply, this means that God is far “above” the creation in the sense that he is greater than the creation and he is independent of it.
Grudem, W. A.
DO YOU SEE GODS WORD AS SOMETHING THAT WELLS UP WITHIN US
OR AS SOMETHING THAT COMES TO US FROM OUTSIDE?
Christianity is about public truth delivered through an external Word!
These references indicate rather plainly that ‘the implanted word’ must depict the proclaimed word of God, not an innate quality within man.
Moo, D. J.
THE WORD HAS BECOME ‘IMPLANTED’ (EMPHYTOS)
1 - NEW BIRTH IS ALWAYS FOLLOWED BY THE COMMAND TO PUT AWAY
2 - WORKS HAVE A ROLE IN THE VERDICT RENDERED OVER OUR LIVES
3 - THE CHRISTIAN MUST NOT THINK HE IS DONE WITH THE WORD OF GOD AFTER IT HAS SAVED HIM
DO WE BELIVE IN CHRST CRUCIFIED OR HUMANITY IMPROVED?
SIN CAN LEAD TO PHYSICAL DEATH - THE WORD OF GOD, PROPERLY RECEIVED, CAN PRESERVE PHYSICAL LIFE.
The Christian must not think he is done with the word of God after it has saved him … That word becomes a permanent, inseparable part of the Christian, a commanding and guiding presence within him. … Christians who have truly been ‘born again’ (v. 18) demonstrate that the word has transformed them by their humble acceptance of that word as their authority and guide for life. …Those who fail to do the word, who are hearers only, are guilty of a dangerous and potentially fatal self-delusion. If the gospel, by nature, contains both saving power and summons to obedience, those who relate to only one have not truly embraced the gospel. That is why James can say that people who only hear the word are deceiving themselves. They think that they have a relationship with God because they regularly attend church, go to Bible studies or read the Bible. But if their listening is not accompanied by obedience, their true situation before God is far different. ‘Obedience’, says Calvin, ‘is the mother of true knowledge of God.’ … James wants to stress to his hearers that the ‘good news’ of salvation brings with it an unavoidable, searching demand for complete obedience.
Moo, D. J.
James now lands with the spiritual 'evaluation' in verse 26&27,
IS YOUR TOUNGE BRIDLED?
ARE YOU VISITING ORPHANS AND WIDOWS?
ARE YOU KEEPING YOURSELF UNSTAINED FROM THE WORLD?
JAMES ASKS US, "ARE OUR ACTIONS PURE?"
"ARE OUR HEARTS PURE?"
“With the searching, radical demand of the gospel comes the enabling grace of God.”
Moo, D. J.