Hear and Do the Word
Key Verse: “Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”
IN THIS EPISTLE, James provides many practical admonitions for consecrated Christians who appreciate his counsel as being divinely inspired by the Heavenly Father. “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.”—James 1:17
James continues to emphasize in this chapter that New Creatures in Christ, begotten by the Holy Spirit, must adhere to the teachings contained in God’s Word and, as a consequence, will manifest in their actions the effects of a sanctified life style. Believers who internalize such godly counsel would ponder their words carefully and be less prone to exhibiting rashness of speech. (Prov. 10:19) Additionally, the moderating influence of the Holy Spirit upon the characters of such devoted individuals leads towards righteousness, as opposed to being quick tempered.—James 1:18-20
The high standards of conduct acceptable to God by those who follow the Master are brought to our attention by James as he stresses the need to disavow all vices that are commonly observed in the actions of the unregenerate. Such impurities in thought, word or deed he states are contrary to Christlikeness.—vs. 21
Our Key Verse underscores the need for us to put into practice the principles of truth and righteousness as contained in God’s Word. To ignore this admonition would be an act of self-deception and make us unacceptable to the Heavenly Father. James continues: “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: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.” (vss. 23,24) On the contrary, the individual who meditates upon the Scriptures and puts their precepts into practice finds true freedom from human traditions, and through obedience to godly counsel, receives commensurate blessings from above.—vs. 25
After our consecration is accepted we are to begin putting off characteristics such as anger, malice, hatred, envy, strife, evil speaking, and other works of the flesh. This cleansing involves not merely a mental appreciation of the Scriptures, but also the deep heart-searching self-examination to be guided by godly principles. Having the treasure of the New Creature in an earthen vessel, we will be assailed from time to time with a transitory wrong thought. However, we must put this thought away from consideration so that it does not take root in the heart and choke out righteousness and proper sentiments.
If someone claims to love the Lord, yet spews forth words that tear down another, that bitter speech certainly challenges the genuineness of his profession of being a believer who is earnestly striving to manifest Christlikeness. If daily we render up our accounts to God and seek his grace to help in time of need, we shall be acquitted in judgment and stand approved before God, through Christ, assured that we will be more than conquerors. “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.”—vss. 26,27