Lay Apart

James 1:21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls

So many warnings are written in the Word of what we should not be guilty of or partake in, but so many excuses contradicting God’s Word are still used for those who chose to remain in sin (Rom. 6; 1Jn. 3; 5:18).

We MUST lay apart all moral filthiness and wickedness, impure and unholy affections, baseness, vileness and depravity. Only then can we receive the engrafted Word. It is by the Word of Truth inborn and implanted in the soul that one is saved and begotten (Jas. 1:18; Eph. 5:26). The Word is called seed (1Pet. 1:23; 1Jn. 3:9). When it is implanted in the soul it germinates and springs forth into eternal life. Only the seed that fails to be sown on properly prepared soil and cared for, will fail to bring forth fruit (Matt. 13:3-30).

Be Slow to Speak/Wrath

James 1:19-20 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. 

The wrath of man cannot work the righteousness that God requires. For example, no zeal of doing anything out of anger can be justified before a just God. Therefore, we have been given two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.

One of God’s attributes is that He is slow to anger (Psa. 103:8; 145:8; Joel 2:13) and we are warned that a wrathful man stirs up strife: but he that is slow to anger appease strife and that he that is slow to anger is better than the might, and he that rule his spirit than he that takes a city (Pro. 15:18; 16:32). The usage of the tongue is the one thing we are warned of the most in the Word of God and something we should all be sufficiently aware of (See Pro. 18: 7; 20-21; 1Pet. 3:10; Jam. 1:26; 3:1-12).

Begotten by the Word

James 1:17-18 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. 

Whatever is good comes from God who never changes; whatever is evil comes from satan and fallen man who are bent on doing whatever gains a selfish and sinful end.

God is the Father of Lights, which refers to Him as the creator of that which give light: the sun, moon and stars, which causes changes in the seasons of the year. But there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning in God, He is always – in every season – the same and does not change like the shadow of a sundial (Heb. 13:8).

It is God’s will that all people be saved – begotten by the Word (John 3:16; 1Tim. 2:4; 2Pet. 3:9). The Word of Truth is one of the agents that make men new creatures (John 3:5; 1Pet. 1:23; Eph. 5:26).

Do Not Err

James 1:13-16 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempted he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bring forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren. 

After using the word temptation in the sense of trial, it is now used in the sense of solicitation to sin. God cannot be tempted with evil, neither does He tempt any man with it. Evil temptations come from evil, not from good. Do not be deceived by supposing that God is the author of sin or that He impels any man to commit it.

Temptation starts with us being tempted in our thoughts of evil, thereafter we are drawn away with strong imagination and lust or delight in viewing whatever we put our minds on. We are being enticed as our wills are weakened and lust conceives as we yield and a sinful act is committed. The result of actual sin is death.

Fade Away

James 1:9-11  Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withers the grass, and the flower thereof falls and the grace of the fashion of it perish: so also, shall the rich man fade away in his ways. 

A poor Christian must rejoice in his hope of heaven, but the rich one in his humiliation, for both are here only for a short while (Ps. 90:10). Lives burdens are compared with the burning heat of the sun that withers us away as we age.

The rich man who is outside of Christ fades away like a flower. Riches in Scripture are considered the cause of much sin and rebellion against God; and, for this cause, there are many warnings to men, especially converted men, to shun all covetousness of such (Mat. 6:19; Luke 6:24; 12:15-20; 1Tim. 6:9-18).

Ask in Faith

James 1:5-8  If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that give to all men liberally, and upbraid not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that waver is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord. A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways. 

If you need answers, advice or wisdom in any situation: ask God! Don’t be as quick to turn to others for council (Ps. 1:1) or to operate from your own understanding (Pro. 3:7; 26:12). Pray to the Father who gives to all men liberally (Mat. 7:7-11) without finding fault, in the name of Jesus by the Holy Spirit, having a full understanding of your rights and privileges (Jam. 4:3-4) in harmony with the Word (John 14:13), ask in faith, nothing doubting (Heb. 11:6), with praise for the answer (Php. 4:6).

He who doubts is like a wave that is rising one moment, sinking the next. One minute he believes; another he does not. He says yes and then no to what God has promised, never making up his mind which way he believes. He staggers like a drunken man, helpless in prayer. It is as certain that a doubtful man will not get an answer as it is that the man of faith will get an answer. The term ‘double-minded’ was used by the Jews of a man who attempted to worship God and still loved the creature; who wished to secure both worlds. He would not give up the world here and yet was loathe to give up heaven: one torn between carnal and spiritual things.

Count It ALL Joy

James 1:2-4  My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith work patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. 

Be joyful when you are going through a trial since it will produce the right fruit IF you choose to keep on trusting and relying on God (Heb. 11:1) instead of looking at your circumstances and reacting to what you feel or see.  Remember that we are tempted by the enemy to sin against God, thus guard your heart against complaining. Trials test religion and faith and the man who stands true in them proves his religion sound and his faith genuine. Tests work patience and patience works perfection (Jas. 1:12; Rom. 5:3-5; 1Pet. 1:7).

Two blessings come of perfect patience: personal perfection in the knowledge of the gospel and the will of God which will have a direct effect of you being without spot or blemish when you are perfect in your actions and reactions (Mat. 5:48; 2Tim. 3:17); and personal completeness in all graces and gifts of God.

The First Principles of Christianity

Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. Heb. 6:1-2 KJV 

Paul reprimanded the Hebrews that have been professed Christians (see Heb. 5:12-14) that they have been teachers long enough, but because of their laziness and dullness in grasping the truth, they must be taught the first simple doctrines of Christ for a second time. He reproofs them in the fact that they are still unweaned babes 1Cor. 3:2; 1Pet. 2:2 and have not grown at all. Milk-feeding was a metaphor used by many writers, both sacred and profane, to express the first principles of religion and science. They applied sucking to learning; infant to every beginner; and meat to those who had learned the first principles of truth.

In view of their lack of progress, he advised them to leave the infantile stage of the Christian experience and to become adults:

‘…leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection…’

Two things manifest Christian maturity:

  1. To leave the first principles, thus to cease to remain in the state of babes
  2. To go on to perfection, to never rest until you are an adult capable of taking strong meat, of being a teacher, and of exercising all senses in righteousness 5:13-14; 6:1

The ‘go on’ is the Greek word phero that means to be borne along as a ship driven by a wind. Acts 27:15-17 The Spirit is the power that moves believers forward.  2Pet. 1:21; Rom. 8:14

Unto perfection’ is the command that we must be perfect as taken from the Greek word teleios meaning that which has reached maturity; is complete (in various applications of labor, growth, mental and moral character, etc.); neuter (as noun) completeness: – of full age, man being perfect. So many times we are charged in the Word that we should reach this perfection, Mat. 5:48; 1Cor. 2:6; 2Cor. 13:1; Eph. 4:12-13; Php. 3:15; Col 1:27-28 which always refers to the perfect life of Jesus Christ 1 Pet. 2:21-24; Heb. 5:9 that we are commanded to follow:

But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. Jas. 1:4 KJV

But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you1Pet. 5:10 KJV

Many seek to find out how many imperfections, failures, and carnal traits are allowable in religion, but few seek to bring Christians to the height of the gospel standard and to the unlimitations of the promises of God. The measure of the stature of the fullness is seldom mentioned much less demonstrated, while the stature of littleness, emtiness, and powerlessness of Christianity is often emphasized and demonstrated.

Paul warned them against laying again the foundation…. where the Greek word for laying is kataballo which means to cast down or overthrow. Thus the warning to not cast down or destroy the foundation already laid, of the six fundamental doctrines of Hebrew 6:1-2 from which the Hebrew Christians were supposed to understand by then and be able to teach others.

These six fundamental doctrines are the first principles of Christianity:

  1. Repentance is described by the Greek word metanoia, which means a real change of mind and attitude toward sin and its cause, not merely the consequences of it. Mat. 3:8, 11; 9:13; Luk. 24:47 It means to renew our minds 12:2; Eph. 4:23 and to meditate upon God’s Word Col. 3:2; Php. 4:8 and not to entertain the enemy in our thoughts. 2Cor. 10:3-6
  2. Faith in God through Christ whereby we trust in Him fully for all that was promised in His Word, this is not just to believe in His existence but a wholly dependence on Him for all our needs in this life and thereafter. 15:1-8, Heb. 11:1
  3. Baptisms
  • Baptism ‘into Christ’ is essential to salvation: the most important baptism that saves the soul and brings one into the body of Christ at repentance and the new birth; where dying to the self is essential, and to be washed of the old man (nature of sin) so that one can become a new creation in Christ Rom. 6:3-12; 1Co 12:13; 2Cor. 5:17; Gal. 3:27; 5:24; Col. 2:11-13
  • Baptism ‘into water’ is essential to obedience and to a “good conscience” after one is saved and ‘in Christ’ Mat. 28:19; Mar. 16:16; Acts 2:38-41; 8:12-16, 36-38; 9:18; 10:47-48; 16:15, 33; 18:8; 19:5; 22:16; 1Co 1:13-17; 1Pet. 3:21; 1 Jn. 5:6-10
  • Baptism ‘into the Holy Spirit’ is essential to receiving power for service. It is the immersion or burial of the believer in the Spirit at which time he receives the Spirit in his life in all ‘fulness’ and ‘without measure’ and is ‘endued with power from on high’ to do the works of Christ. Ma 3:11, 14; 20:22-23; Mar. 1:8; 10:38-39; Luk. 3:16; 24:49; Joh. 1:33; 7:37-39; 14:12-17; Acts 1:4-8; 11:16; 19:2-3
  1. The laying on of hands: When blessing others, 48:14 making offerings, Num. 8:10 ordaining people, Num. 27:18, 23 imparting the Holy Spirit, Dt. 34:9 blessing children, Mt. 19:15 healing the sick, Mk. 6:2,5; 16:18; Lk. 4:40; 13:13; Acts 5:12; 28:8 performing miracles, Acts 19:11 imparting Holy Spirit gifts 1Tim. 4:14; 2Tim. 1:6; Heb. 6:2 and imparting the Spirit baptism. Acts 8:17-24; 9:17; 19:6
  2. The resurrection of the dead is described in 1 Corinthians 15 where Christ is refer to as the firstfruit of the resurrection, 1Co 15:4, 12; Rom. 14:9; 2Cor. 5:15; 1Th. 4:14 the beginning of the resurrection as He was the first to be resurrected from the dead and to enter into immortality of the body. Then all reborn Christians will follow at the time of the rapture “Afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming.1Cor. 15:23, 51-54; Joh. 14:1-3; Luk. 21:34-36; 2Cor. 5:1-8; Eph. 5:27; Php. 3:11, 20-21; 1Th. 2:19; 3:13; 4:13-17; 5:9, 23; 2Th. 2:1, 7 Everyone in Christ, dead or alive, will be translated at this time.
  3. The eternal judgment refers to the White Throne judgment as described in Rev. 20:11-15 Mt. 25:46; Rev. 14:9-11; 20:11-15; Isa. 66:22-24  when all people of all ages who have died in sin, will be sent to eternal hell where their worm will not die and the fire will not be quenched. Mar. 9:43-49