A woman invited some people to dinner. At the table, she turned to her six-year-old daughter and said, "Would you like to say the blessing?"
"I wouldn't know what to say," the little girl replied.
"Just say what you hear Mommy say," the mother said.
The little girl bowed her head and said: "Dear Lord, why on earth did I invite all these people to dinner?"
It’s one thing to be a regular attendant of church services, hearing the Bible being preached week after week, month after month, year after year. The Word does not return void, so one would have to conclude that placing ourselves in the regular hearing of God’s Word is a good thing. But is that enough? According to James, there needs to be more. He calls it being a “doer” of the word.
Now, before we get all hung up in the bondage of some kind of works mentality, let’s clarify the overall importance of the writings of James. On the surface he appears to contradict Paul’s teachings on grace through faith without works of righteousness being necessary for salvation. On various occasions, James wants us to think in terms of “faith without works is dead,” being the only New Testament writer to use the word “religion” in referring to the Christian life. So, what’s his deal? Is he trying to somehow introduce works of the Law into the Age of Grace?
In reality, the Word of God is very balanced. Where it appears to be contradicting itself, it is merely keeping its balance, so that it is the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. The Epistle of James was crucial to the balancing of the New Testament, so that we wouldn’t take this free gift of grace and go off on a tangent into some type of weird, cultish, religious quagmire of anything goes.
In the end, both Paul and James are telling us the same thing. If we want to experience the true blessing of the Christian faith, don’t just hear the Word, do it! Paul said our salvation is not by works, lest any man should boast (Eph. 2:9), but he didn’t stop there. In the very next verse he sets the counterbalance of his own thoughts with these words... created in Christ Jesus for good works (Eph. 2:10). The work of Christ in us should result in doing the work, just as the Word of Christ in us should result in... Doing The Word!
...but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.
-James 1:25 (NKJV)
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