James 1:1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.
This message to all of the twelve tribes and not just the Jews. It is also a message to all of Spiritual Israel.
1:2 My brethren, count it joy when you fall into various temptations [or trials], 1:3 knowing this, that the trying of your faith [trusting] worketh patience. 1:4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect [endure and patiently grow and overcome that we might attain to godly holiness] and entire [we are to be complete in internalizing the whole nature of God], wanting nothing. [lacking nothing in the keeping of the whole Word of God]
James encourages us to become perfect through the diligent keeping of the whole Word of God, and in patiently enduring the trials and temptations associated with zeal for keeping God’s Word, enduring the trials and temptations which Satan throws in our direction.
In overcoming sin and trials, we develop patient perseverance in striving toward perfection in godliness; and eventually with the power of God’s Spirit, we can overcome and achieve that perfection; not achieving through the strength of our flesh or our own efforts alone, but becoming godly through the power of God.
1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
James tells us that we need to ask and then we must actively seek godly wisdom through diligent study and the application of God’s Word to every circumstance. When we sincerely repent and turn away from sinning, turning toward keeping God’s commandments; the sacrifice of Christ is then applied to us, and we may then enter the presence of the Father and ask for the wisdom of His Spirit, we may ask that His Spirit of understanding and power be given to us.
1:6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering or diverging. For he that wavers or doubts is like a wave of the sea tossed with the wind and driven. 1:7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.”
If we do not believe God’s Word enough to diligently obey and seek to please Him, Do not think that we are going to receive anything from God. We must KNOW that God exists, and that God keeps his promises; and we must add to that knowledge the works of faith, loving and diligently keeping the whole Word of God and seeking God’s will and seeking to please him will all of our beings. Only then can we expect a positive answer to our petitions.
James 1:8 For a double-minded [doubting] man is unstable in all his ways.”
It is only by knowing that God exists and that God’s Word will not be broken, that we can believe and trust God enough to obey and please Him. If we ask for something according to God’s will, Word and Promises, and doubt Him and His promises so that we are not zealous and passionate to learn, and to keep the whole Word of God; if we do not seek to do God’s will and to please God in every way, we will not receive our requests. We must learn to TRUST [which is Faith] God enough to do His will, before we can expect God to bless us.
1:9 Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted.
A person who has a low place in this life, can rejoice knowing that he is called to become a king or a priest, or both king and priest in the kingdom of God. He has a high reward if he has faith in God, if he trusts and believes God, and if he acts on that trust and belief and keeps the whole Word of God, doing God’s will.
1:10 But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he Shall pass away. 1:11 For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth [like] the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.
The rich man who gives up his physical riches for God’s sake and for the kingdom’s sake, should rejoice in that he is humbled now so that he will be made fit for the riches of eternal life; and should know that physical things mean nothing, that like the flowers they shall wither and pass away.
This applies not just to giving away wealth, it also applies to those who lose their good jobs and must take inferior ones due to persecution. Often God tests us to see how much we love him and how much we willing to give for that pearl of great price.
1:12 Blessed is the man that endures temptation: for when he is tested, [if he passes the test] he shall receive a crown of life, which the Eternal has promised to them that love him [love him enough to follow him and to keep his Word].
If we love someone, we will seek to please them and if we truly love God, we would never walk around saying, “Oh, I love the Lord” while not obeying him. What we would do, is to enthusiastically try to please Him by doing what He says.
1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 1:15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”
When we see some unlawful thing and we dwell on it and begin to desire it in our hearts and we let that desire grow and develop in us, eventually we are going to do it. When God sees something evil he does not dwell on it as if it were some desirable thing; he immediately rejects it as the loathsome filth it really is.
The key to overcoming temptation is that when we are tempted, we must immediately reject it and not let it take root within us.
We need to recognize the consequences of sin by thinking beyond the immediate pleasure, and dwelling on the temptation, and wrongfully thinking that it is desirable to contract a cancer that will eat us away and destroy us, which is what sin really is!
1:16 Do not err, my beloved brethren. 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, no changing, nor even a shadow of turning.”
God knows the way that is right and he sticks to it and there is not even a shadow, not even the remotest possibility that He is going to turn away from the righteousness of his Word; and that should be the case with all of us.
1:18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth [which is the whole Word of God], that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. 1:19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear [always be seeking to learn] slow to speak and slow to anger.
Anyone who is quick tempered is not in control of himself and needs to learn to get control of himself, to listen, to think and to make sound judgments before proceeding.
1:20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.
A man who cannot control his anger cannot do what is right in God’s sight and is easily led astray. Righteous anger is anger that is under control and governed by the law of righteousness the whole Word of God.
1:21 Therefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness [sinful shallowness], and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your lives.
See also: The Fruits of The Spirit: Meekness
Godly righteousness is to turn away from the filthiness of sin and all uncleanness and worldliness; and to be zealous to learn and to keep the whole Word of God with meekness before God because it is the only thing of lasting value and is able to save our lives.
1:22 be ye doers of the word, and not just hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
For if a man hears God’s Word, saying, “Oh, that’s great” and does not actually act on it and keep it, he is really deceiving himself. He is not so special after all; he just thinks he is.
It is he who does the Word of God and has the Works of Faith who is special in God’s eyes.
1:23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 1:24 For he beholds himself, and goes his way, and straightway forgets what manner of man or person he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty…”
God’s law is a law which brings us liberty. It delivers us from the chains of sin, from the burdens of slavery to sin.
1:25 But who so looketh unto the perfect law of liberty and continues therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deeds. 1:26 If any man among you seems to be religious, and does not control his tongue, but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.
Those people who are always talking the good talk and then not walking the walk; have a vain and empty religion. Those who erupt in uncontrolled anger have a serious spiritual problem.
1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
What does this mean? “To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction,” means to have empathy, to have concern, to love others, to care about them and to care about the condition they are in; and to act on that caring and do something about it and to try our best to help eliminate or alleviate the suffering of others. To be kind hearted and generous to those suffering or in need.
And second, “To keep unspotted from the world,” means to turn away from the sins of Satan’s world; and the only way to do that is to sincerely repent of those sins, to reject any compromise with the Word of God; and to passionately embrace God’s ways to live by every Word of God and to wholehearted seek to please God!
Then the sacrifice of Jesus Christ will be applied to us, and we can enter into a relationship with God the Father who will give us His Spirit and empower us to keep His Word and Will, and empower us to keep ourselves unspotted from the world.
James 2:1 My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.
Now, this is a major, major, major problem in today’s church of God groups: People respecting persons above their respect for the Word of God. That is, they do not hold everyone up to the standard of God’s Word.
They do not hold certain people up to the standard of God’s Word, making idols of them. Yet they will turn around and attempt to hold other people to their own ways even when their own ways are contrary to God’s Word and his commandments. This makes them respecters of persons, rather than respecters of God; which is the sin of idolatry; it is the sin of allowing people to come between us and God.
There is also the great sin of respecting those who give the more or who flatter leaders. Many have been ordained and promoted because they excelled at flattery, and many others because they gave more than other brethren.
2:2 For if there come into your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there comes in also a poor man in vile raiment; 2:3 And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, “Sit thou here in a good place” and say to the poor, “Stand thou there, or sit here under my stool.” 2:4 Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? 2:5 Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?
2:6 But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? 2:7 Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by which ye are called?
2:8 If ye fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shall love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: 2:9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convicted of the law as transgressors.
2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. [He is guilty of breaking the whole law.]
Being respecters of persons is wrong and respecting the rich over the poor is wrong. Respecting the poor over the rich is also wrong and respecting some man because he claims to be somebody is wrong.
We are not to study the Scriptures as interpreted or explained by this man or that man: We are to judge the words of all men, by the Holy Scriptures of Almighty God!
We are to study the Scriptures and when someone explains something, we are to test what he has said against the standard of the Scriptures.
We are not to test the Scriptures against some man’s view of them; we are to test that man’s view against what the scriptures actually say.
2:11 For he that said, Do not commit adultery, also said, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if you kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. 2:12 So speak ye, and so do [according to the whole Word of God, for we shall all be judged by God’s Word], as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. 2:13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath showed no mercy; and mercy rejoices against judgment.
If you show no mercy to others, no mercy will be shown to us by God in our judgment. If we break the smallest law we are guilty of breaking the whole law itself. If we cook a meal on Sabbath, have a barbecue etc; we will face the same judgment as the homosexual or murderer, if you do not repent. The wages of sin is death.
Faith and the Works of Faith
2:14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? 2:5 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 2:16 and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body, what doth it profit?
2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 2:18 Yea, a man may say, You hast faith, and I have works. Show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works. 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble [Yet the demons will not obey God’s Word, therefore their belief brings them nothing but the sure knowledge of their coming judgment]. 2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified [by his deeds] by works when he [obeyed God] had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 2:22 Seest thou how faith wrought [worked with] with his works and by works was faith made perfect? 2:23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
2:24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. 2:25 Likewise also was not Rehab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead.
Yes, there is a spirit in our body. It is a spirit of man, a spirit in man. And without the body it doesn’t function; it doesn’t think, it is not conscious. It must be plugged into the body. And the two work together; the spirit must be plugged into the body: And faith must be plugged into works, and works into the faith; so that trust and belief result in the works of faith.
Faith without works cannot stand on its own. If we have faith, if we believe God, we will do what God says which is our works.
We cannot do what God says if we do not believe [have faith that his Word is true] Him; anymore than the spirit can live without the body. These things are inseparable. Faith is inseparable from the works of faith. If you have faith and no works, our faith is meaningless, it is a waste of time. Believing without acting on that belief is a waste of time; it won’t get you anywhere.
We are to grow and learn and perfect ourselves by discarding error for the truth as we learn; that is called overcoming.
James 3:1 My brethren, be not many masters [teachers, leaders], knowing that we [leaders and teachers] shall receive the greater condemnation [a more intense scrutiny].
This is referring to wanting to be masters or teachers of this way. Don’t just jump up and decide you want to be a preacher or a teacher and that you want to teach the Word of God to others without carefully considering the fact that God will hold you responsible for what you teach and someday you will stand before God and He will hold you accountable and judge you on the basis of what you have told others and on the basis of whether you have pointed them toward God or whether you have deceived and misled people away from any zeal for the Word of God.
There are many who want to be elders and to teach, but what they really want is a personal following, they want to think of themselves as a somebody. This is pride, when a true godly teacher must be humble and without carnal pride.
Someone who studies all the pagan traditions and prophecies and then stands on them, or leads people away from a zeal for God into a zeal to follow some man is going to be judged by God as a false prophet.
While someone who points all people toward God will be judged as a godly teacher and will have his reward. There is a very serious responsibility involved in being teachers, because of their influence on others.
Do not decide you can stand up and teach until you weigh the matter and consider the responsibilities that you are shouldering. This is very important and very vital.
It is good to teach the Word of God, but it is wrong to teach people error and lead them astray. Someone who wants to teach must be very, very, very careful to consider all of these things and to consider the responsibility, the heavy burden of responsibility, that we are taking on ourselves, and not treat these things lightly and just go out and say anything we feel like saying.
Many such men teaching falsely have led many astray from the ways of God. The following is a warning to all, and a special warning to the teachers for a godly teacher will offend many; because the Word of God is a sharp two edged sword of TRUTH that cuts deeply against all sin; and we have all sinned.
The TRUTH will cut and offend ALL of us, unless we have the sincerely humble repentant attitude that is a gift of God’s Spirit. If we are filled with God’s Spirit of loving obedience to all of God’s Word, then we shall be delighted when we are shown our shortcomings and sins, so that we may correct ourselves and become right with our Beloved.
If we are offended by Biblical correction; sin and an unrepentant unconverted attitude is in us. We are in trouble and need to seek our God immediately and with all our hearts.
3:2 For in many things we [godly teachers] offend everyone. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.
It is impossible to be godly teachers and avoid offending the ungodly; therefore we must choose to speak the truth and avoid offending God; there is NO “business model” outreach for a true servant of God!
3:3 Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole bodies. 3:4 Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, [so large] and are driven of fierce winds, yet when they are turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth [wherever and in whatever the direction the pilot wants the ship to go].
Speaking ungodly things leads people into sin and brings damnation on the false teacher and the hearer as well.
3:5 Even so the tongue is a little thing, and boasteth great things. Behold how great a matter a little fire kindles. 3:6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members [body parts], that it [which little organ uncontrolled, can bring much destruction] defiles our whole bodies, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.
Our speech is tamed and brought under control by sincere repentance and the power of the Holy Spirit which is the power of a sound mind of self control.
3:7 For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, can be tamed, and has been tamed of mankind: 3:8 But the tongue can no man tame; . . .
The wicked man lacks the ability to understand or speak the things of God and speaks all manner of carnal things in rebellion against the whole Word of God, but God can tame the tongues of men by converting the mind and heart:
James 3:8 . . . . it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 3:9 Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. 3:10 Out of the same mouth proceeds blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. 3:11 Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? 3:12 Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? Can a vine bear figs? So can no fountain also yield salt water and fresh.
3:13 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? Let him show out of a good [Let him reveal his wisdom by his godly conduct and words] conversation [words and conduct] his works, with meekness and wisdom. 3:14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. 3:15 This [worldly] wisdom descends not from above, but is earthly, sensual, and devilish.”
A quick uncontrolled temper and bitter envying and strife are of Satan the devil.
3:16 for where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil thing.
3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy” [or deceit] 3:18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them who make peace” [controlling the temper and angry words of the tongue, by keeping the whole Word of God tends to peace].
We might ask, From whence comes strife and divisions in today’s Ekklesia? Is it not from our pride and lust to get our own way and to have the pre-eminence, as much as it has to do with doctrinal disagreement?
James 4:1 From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members [our fighting has its roots in the worldly lusts of our flesh]? 4:2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.
Very many of our brethren and elders seek selfishly for our own pre-eminence or to have our own ways. Leaders seek a following for themselves, their idols of men, or corporate idols, or cherished false traditions; instead of teaching a true zeal to live by every Word of God. Too many being filled with pride want the adulation of the brethren when we should be humbly serving our Maker and God our Father in heaven.
4:3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
We commit spiritual adultery against the Husband of our baptismal espousal, by seeking the friendship of the world with our worldly business model outreach and our desire for material things as we envy the “successful” wicked of this world.
4:4 Ye [spiritual] adulterers and adulteresses [disloyal to God], know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
4:5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? 4:6 But he giveth more grace [God is merciful to the sincerely repentant who obey him and keep his Word]. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud [who think so much of themselves and their own ways that they turn their noses up at any zeal to keep the whole Word of God], but giveth grace unto the humble [God forgives the sincerely repentant who tremble at his Word, and commit to go forward and sin no more].
Today the Ekklesia is full of spiritual adulterers who love worldliness and their idols of men, and have no zeal for the things of God.
To our great shame we brag about how we are friends with the worldly wicked. To say that we are friends with this king, and that prime minister, and this ruler, and those people; reveals that we value the friendship of the worldly more than we value the Word of God; for if we taught the truth of the whole Word of God we would not be seen as friends by the chiefs of the worldly.
It is wrong to compromise with the Word of God to try and be friends with the worldly and this wicked society. It is also wrong to conduct ourselves in a worldly manner, or to covet the pleasures of the worldly wicked, or to desire the friendship of the world’s wickedness.
We are to set an example of keeping God’s laws, of living God’s way and of overcoming this world and enduring; so that we can become righteous leaders and rulers in the future; and so that we can teach these wicked men the ways of God by being a LIGHT of godly example.
We are not to seek the friendship of wickedness by going to these people and mumbling some double-talk nonsense about; a strong hand from someplace is coming to save us from our troubles.
We are to stand up, to stand solidly on God’s Word and to lay it out, and tell it like it is, and tell them that they are doing wrong, loudly proclaiming that they should stop doing what is wrong and start doing what is right; which is the only real solution to their problems. And if they don’t stop doing what is wrong and start doing what is right; then God is going to intervene to correct their behavior to save them from themselves.
That is what should have been told to these people, not some smooth thing while seeking their friendship and then going to the brethren and lying, saying, “I’m such a great man because I’m a friend of all these great people.”
If you think the leaders of this world are so great, just stop for a moment and consider the mess this world is in. These so-called great leaders are responsible for that mess, they created the present conditions and situation by their sins, and by leading the rest of humanity into sin.
Oh yes, the rest of humanity would have sinned anyway, no doubt. But these leaders have a certain responsibility and they failed to fulfill it and they are far from being great men.
The great men in this world are nothing in the eyes of God. They are just simply nothing. It is the weak in worldliness that God has called; and He has called them because they are humble and they are meek, and they are willing to listen; and they are willing to sincerely repent and they are willing to live by every Word of God. And God will glorify and exalt them if they are faithful and overcome, by resurrecting them and making them kings and priests and causing them to inherit eternal life in His kingdom.
We should also go back here in verse one, “From whence come wars and fighting’s among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?” Isn’t this why there are so many different groups in the church of God today? Because they are all led by different people who lust to become the leader, who lust to become the next apostle or somebody great; and who want a following after themselves and are not willing to cooperate with each other.
If they all put God’s Word first and they all worshipped God with a whole heart; they would be forgiving and they would be cooperative and there would be a lot less division than there is today.
Our human spirit envies, it lusts; and we are to overcome that spirit by the Spirit of God dwelling in us! We are NOT to give place to our natural lust and envies, No not for a second.
4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Satan cannot stand before the power of God. Keep your baptismal commitment to follow the Lamb of God in all things; be zealous for the whole Word of God to learn and to keep and to teach it. Cleanse ourselves from all sin by our zeal to reject all error and embrace the truth and the Word of God with a wholehearted zeal.
4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
4:9 Be afflicted [fast], and mourn, and weep [in sincere wholehearted repentance]: let your laughter be turned to mourning [over our wicked sins, seeking the forgiveness of our God for all our many spiritual adulteries and idolatry], and your joy [Turn back from joying in the pleasures of sin, for they will bring your destruction; and mourn over them seeking the mercy of our Mighty Saviour.] to heaviness.
4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
The following is not about forbidding to condemn sin, it is about spreading false rumors, knowingly making false accusations and judging others by our own ideas; instead of judging all things by the standard of the whole Word of God.
4:11 Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother [with false statements], and judgeth his brother [judging by our own ways], speaketh evil [sets himself up over God’s Word by exalting his own ways above God’s Word] of the law, and judgeth the law [exalts his own words over God’s Word]: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.
We are not to judge by our own ways, traditions or standards, exalting ourselves and our own traditions above the Word of God, instead we are to exalt the whole Word of God and to prove [judge] by the just standards of the whole Word of God. as the scripture commands (1 Thes 5:21).
James does not mean that we should tolerate sin and not speak out against evil doers. He does mean that we should not falsely condemn those who are zealous to keep the Word of God and who are faithful to God, judging them by the false traditions of men, or simply telling falsehoods about them. There are many calling themselves God’s people who condemn the zealously faithful to God, because they are NOT faithful to keep the Word of God themselves and want to follow idols of men and false traditions.
Many fear those who are zealous to keep the Word of God, because they fear losing the personal followings they crave! They see zeal to obey God as a threat to their own control and supposed personal authority. This, because they are not zealous for God themselves, and they want to lead people away from any zeal for God and lead people to follow themselves and their own false ways. Those who desire to exalt themselves [using God’s name to do so] are evil men just as Jesus, Jude and others have warned would come into the Ekklesia in the last days.
We MUST reveal the evil and call the perpetrators to repentance, in love; That is not speaking evil of them, it is speaking the truth in the hope that the warning will lead to true repentance and the saving of the person.
If any condemn others for any zeal for the Word of God; they are attacking the Law and Word of God!
4:12 There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another? 4:13 Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: 4:14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.
Our lives are not guaranteed to last until tomorrow, therefore always be close to God.
Go today, ye that say, tomorrow or today we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even as a vapour, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.
To keep a proper focus on the transitory nature of our physical lives; it is better to say; “I hope to,” or “I plan to” or “if God wills” rather than “I will do this or that”. By the same token we should live our lives in godliness as if we will die and be judged by our Creator before the next day.
We speak of the tribulation and the resurrection since at least the days of Christ, and how many have died since then? They have all gone to their judgment and perhaps so will some of us before the final 3 1/2 years.
4:15 For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.
Do not boast in physical wealth and possession, or friendships with worldliness. Do not boast in numbers of attendees, buildings, etc; but work hard so that the Shining Light of godliness may burn brightly in us for all the world to see!
4:16 But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.
4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
If we have the opportunity to do good, or we know that something is the right thing to do and we don’t do it, that is a sin. And if we see sin and do not rebuke it, we have approved the sin by our silence.
Now, when I say that we should not judge one another, I am saying we should not judge and condemn persons; but we should definitely stand on God’s Word, on God’s commandments and we should condemn sin, for God condemns all sin.
If a person is committing such and such a sin, we should go to them and say, “You are doing such and such a thing which is contrary to God’s Word: It would be wise for you to consider the matter and stop doing this.” We should go to our brother with such things, as we are instructed by Jesus Christ in Matthew 18. And if a man will not hear the matter then it’s on his own head. But we don’t condemn the person, we condemn the actions that the person is taking, we condemn the sin that he is committing.
We are to teach the righteousness of God [which is the keeping of the whole Word of God] to all peoples beginning with the Ekklesia; and we are to rebuke all sin:
Isaiah 58:1 Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.
Those who seek and focus on physical wealth and pleasures, instead of on the spiritual riches of the Word of God, will be perverted away from the Word of God and will compromise with God’s Word to gain worldly riches; as worldly riches becomes their idol. Physical riches have no lasting value since they will perish at our death; therefore set your heart on the things that are permanent and that will matter for eternity.
James 5:1 Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. 5:2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth eaten. 5:3 Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire for ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.
To gain wealth by fraud or turning aside from a zealous keeping of the whole Word of God is a great sin. Very many leaders and elders in the COG Groups today are frauds who use the name of God to deceive and gain followers after themselves.
Shall our worldly riches save us from the great correction of Almighty God? Therefore set your hearts on godly things!
Speaking of this society and also of the elders who extort from the brethren and rob widows and orphans
James 5:4 Behold the hire [wages] of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, cries: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth [The Lord of HOSTS, (armies) hears the cries of the oppressed and will avenge them].
5:5 Ye [the wicked] have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter [the butchering of the flock]. 5:6 Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he [the just] doth not resist you.”
The saints have been slaughtered all the day, counted as sheep for the slaughter, and they have not resisted or fought with weapons of war, because they know that God’s kingdom is not of this world and not of this age. For Jesus Christ said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were then my servants would fight.”
The day is coming when Jesus Christ will return to gather up His saints. And shortly after that, He will come down to the earth with those saints and they will fight all wickedness.
They will fight sin, and evil, and wickedness, and those who insist upon doing wickedness. And they will bring the earth into submission and subjection to the whole Word of God and the Kingdom of God.
That time will come; but for now, we are counted as sheep for the slaughter and we submit without resisting, even as Jesus Christ submitted without resisting; for it is not yet our time.
5:7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord.
Patiently wait for the end time events and the redemption of the faithful, in God’s good time.
Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and the latter rain. 5:8 Be ye also patient; establish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draws near.
Do not bear grudges against those who abuse us, which animosity and lack of forgiveness grows into a bitterness which will destroy us spiritually. We are forgiven only as we forgive others. Our true enemy who is inspiring these things is not the people doing them but Satan. Remember the words of Christ:
James 5:9 Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge stands before the door. 5:10 Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.
Suffer all things patiently as the prophets and apostles did, and as Christ did. In this world seek to foresee trouble and to wisely avoid it whenever possible; without compromising with the Word of God.
Those who are faithful and endure all things to the end of their lives will have the reward of eternal life.
James 5:11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful [full of mercy], and of tender mercy [forgiving of the repentant]
Avoid the making of oaths and vows for they are a trap, because none of us can keep our own word by our own strength.
5:12 But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath. But let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.
In our daily activities, if we are downcast we should pray about our troubles, and if we are happy we should rejoice in our God: meaning that we should be focused on our God the giver of all good things at all times.
5:13 Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray. Is any merry? Let him sing psalms.
An article on healing is planned.
5:14 Is any sick among you? Let him call for the [true godly elders for God does not hear the prayers of the wicked] elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 5:15 And the prayer of faith [which is believing in God and keeping what God says in his Word] shall save the sick [spiritually sick], and the Eternal shall raise him up [In the resurrection to spirit]; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
What does it mean “The Eternal shall raise him up?” It is talking about the forgiveness of sins and the resurrection of the dead. The sincerely repentant shall be resurrected or raised up. Their sins will be forgiven. The prayer of faith shall save the sick spiritually. Does that mean the physically sick will be instantly healed?
No, it does not always mean instantaneous physical healing, although that certainly can and often does happen. A person may be sick for a reason. God may be trying to teach some kind of lesson and if we obey him and are anointed with oil in the name of the Lord, the prayer of faith, that is believing prayer coupled with the works of faith shall save the sick. That is, our sins will be forgiven and God will raise us up in the resurrection and if we have committed sins and are sincerely repentant and resolve to sin no more, they shall be forgiven us.
There is also the issue of FAITH; it is faith in God, demonstrated by obedience to the whole Word of God, which brings forgiveness of sins and spiritual healing.
It is our faith in God and sincere repentance with the works of faith which is to obey God that brings spiritual healing; and NOT any faith in the anointer. Why then call for prayers at all? Because Christ said that whenever two or three agree on anything lawful it would be granted (Mat 18). Yet the healing is not always physical, for physical things are transitory.
5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be
healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
Does that mean standing up in front of a congregation and confessing all your sins to everyone?
No, it does not. It means particularly to confess your sins to God in sincere repentance! Healing comes from learning what our sins are and sincerely repenting of them!
Confessing also applies; if you sinned against a particular person, you need to go to that person and say, “I am really sorry, I have done such and such, I was wrong, I sinned. Please forgive me”!
Only if your sin is a public sin, would it need a public apology.
This is about sincere repentance before God and when necessary reconciling with your brother. It is not talking about standing up and confessing in front of the whole world. It is talking about reconciling with your brother; about making what you have done wrong, right again; making it good, making it right; as per Christ’s instructions in Matthew 18.
Yes, Elijah was a man like ourselves and not a god, he was heard for his faithfulness and zeal for the whole Word of God. That was an example for us, that we will also be heard according to our faithfulness and zeal to keep the whole Word of God
5:17 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. 5:18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.
When we see our brother caught up in sin; it is our moral duty to warn him (Ezekiel 33)
5:19 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; 5:20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of [if we warn others and they repent, we have caused their sins to be covered] sins.
How can one convert another from his sin if there is no rebuke of sin, or instruction in righteousness provided?
If we see our brother stepping out in front of a truck; is it godly love to say nothing? or would God want us to shout a warning? Remember the commission of the watchman in Ezekiel.
We have a COMMAND and a COMMISSION from God to warn our brothers; our own life depends on loving God and our brother enough to SHOUT A WARNING!
Covering a multitude of whose sins? If you go to someone that is sinning, and they repent and they are converted and they STOP sinning, you have saved their life, and the sins that have been covered are the sins that the person has repented of.
And our own sins; if we want our own sins to be covered, we must sincerely repent of them, and STOP sinning.
The only way that sin can be covered, is when we sincerely repent and go forward, committed to sin no more! Then the sacrifice of Christ will be applied to us, blotting out our past sins and then we shall be justified by Christ. The only way that the gift of grace or pardon can be given to us is if we sincerely repent and STOP sinning, if we stop doing the offending behavior.
If we stop breaking God’s Word, we can be forgiven. If we don’t stop, how can we be forgiven?
How can we possibly be forgiven if we are continually repeating the same sin, continually repeating the same criminal act of breaking the law of the Kingdom? and continually over and over earning the same wages of death?
If we are continually repeating and continually committing criminal acts, we will be judged a criminal and we must pay the penalty for our crimes.
It is only if we stop being a criminal, stop committing the criminal act, stop breaking the law of the Kingdom; only then can we be forgiven for [past sins NOT future sins], only then will our sins be covered by the sacrifice of the Lamb of God!
Grace or forgiveness for PAST sins is NOT a license to continue in future sin!