[We are] not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

Saturday, March 18, 2006

The Context of Dead Faith: Be Swift to Hear

Part four in a seven part series on Zane Hodge's Outline of James

by HK Flynn

The key verse of James tells us to be, "swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath" but it also doubles as a sort of 1st century table of contents in James.

This post is about Jame's unpacking of what it means to be swift to hear. Generally, James is describing the first type of behavior (the careful hearing of God's Word) that responds well to trials, and leads to a perfect, or fully sufficient maturity.

Hodges argues that the swift to hear section includes (1) the observing of one’s face in a mirror passage, (2) the admonition not to prefer the rich to the poor in fellowship, and (3) the extended admonition on faith and works, which includes the dead faith passage.

The start points and the end points of this entire swift to hear section are very obvious, and I think it’s important for you to see Hodges isn’t just making up the outline to support his theology. The starting point (1:21) comes after the key verse (1:19, 20).

James has insisted at the end of that key verse that the wrath of man does not achieve the righteousness of God, and this is not just a passing comment. James is saying that the wrath of man cannot achieve what he is calling the congregations to achieve, the righteousness of God. This is what he’s earlier called being perfect and complete lacking nothing.

The end point of this swift to hear section(2:26) is the final summary of his faith/works teaching.

This is followed by an obvious change of subject. James clearly switches gears in order to address his “slow to speak” admonition. He begins:

“My brethren, let not many of your become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter punishment.”

This is pretty compelling evidence that Hodges is on track with his outline. In other words, Hodges notices what should have been obvious to everyone, a similarity between the “slow to speak” of v. 19 and the admonition not to quickly become teachers in 3:1. I hope the idea of a loose string-of-pearl organization of James, so popular for almost a century, is beginning to seem more far fetched.

2 Corinthians 3:18 sheds a lot of illumination on the observing one's face in a mirror passage. James is saying, don’t think that simply exposure to the preaching and teaching of God’s Word will produce in you the “righteousness of God” (1:20), i.e. the perfect state of Christian maturity. (I would add post-Pentecost maturity, based on our speculation about the dating.) Exposure to God's word will not produce that. You must meekly receive the implanted (or the planted-in-you) Word and become a doer of the Word. In other words, let the implanted word grow and thrive, nourishing that perfect gift from above.

James tells his listeners not to be like a man observing his “natural face” in a mirror. Hodges suggests that "natural face" is not as preferable a translation as observing the “face of his birth” in a mirror.

Why?

Because the context supports “face of his birth”. This is because James has just mentioned birth in the conclusion of the prologue. James speaks of being “brought.. forth” in the NKJV, other translations say “begat”. James says in 1:18, “[o]f His own will He brought us forth… [as a] kind of first fruits of His creatures”. Hodges is basically saying that an idea in 1:18 affects the context of 1:23 (five whole verses away), where James writes “he is like a man observing the face of his birth in a mirror.” In fact, James has also referred to the concept of birth in between those two verses(!), with his implanted-word remark in v.21! So the concept of birth is not foreign to James’ thinking here. What does it mean to say that we shouldn't be like a man looking at the face of his birth and then going away forgetfully?

James is saying gaze into the Word, which is like a mirror.

(It's good to remember that James woould have meant the OT, just like Paul meant the OT in 2 Corinthians 3:18, though Paul is thinking of the Law of Moses, James was zeroing in on the proverbial tradition.)

But don’t just gaze. When you gaze into the Word and see what you now are in Christ, (for James, proverbial wisdom was the mind of Christ, the implanted word) and then walk away from the mirror, live out that proverbial wisdom. (The implanted mind of Christ) Don’t go back to a human-centered mind set. Instead of supposedly teaching not to forget to change what you saw in the mirror (!), he is insisting his listeners remember the scriptural image—the implanted word—and aggressively apply it to their lives.

The sharp admonition not to prefer the rich to the poor in fellowship is not his first or last address of this issue of inter-class relations. In the introduction, James broached this by calling for a major attitude check on the part of the rich. While he is not advocating a return to having all things in common, he is not shying from saying the relations still need to be driven by the implanted word, the perfect gift from above, not our ambitions and worldly perspectives. Exposure to preaching and teaching will not save you from failure and the ultimate death to which sin leads, but becoming a doer of the Word will deliver you.

Concerning the lengthy faith/works passage, with its dead faith comments, I simply want to insist on what the subject matter is. Since this is a survey of Hodges’ outline, I’ve put some evidence of the two major distortions of James on my own blog instead of here.

(I.e., the famous demons passage, and the justification by faith passage.)

But concerning subject matter, James is telling people who have the implanted word to live it. Walking the walk is mandatory if you want to be like the amazing post-Pentecost Stephen. In fact, walking the walk is mandatory if you want to avoid being the post-Pentecost Ananias and Sapphiras! (I would argue that my speculation about the early dating is not necessary for this, all the alumni of the early Jerusalem church would carry those lessons with them throughout their lives.) Doing the work in the midst of trials is the only route to mature Christianity. Exposure to preaching and teaching won’t save your soul, doing the Word will. Hearing the word taught can be a game if it is not applied to one’s actions and treatment of the brethren, especially the poor.

That’s teh subject matter James is talking about. That’s what his hammer is. And since James has that hammer, every issue that comes up is a nail to be hammered. He is using the problem of rich poor relations to hammer away at the lesson he wants fully applied. Live the Christian life by aggressively applying the Word of God to one’s life with compassion and humility and successful wonder-working completeness will follow that application.

Let me state it clearly. James is not teaching a test to vindicate one’s eternal salvation. He is teaching something far and away more straightforward and easy to grasp. He is saying invigorate your Christian life by acting on your beliefs, so that the hungry brother is saved from death and so that you are saved from a vicious trend toward death. Faith alone does nothing. It is fully ineffective (dead) at the deliverance you need, salvation from the trend toward death and salvation unto full-fledged spiritual-living.

Near the end of Acts 9, Dr Luke regards the church as healthy. I would say that regardless of when James can be dated, that the church’s health in Acts 9 was due to exactly what James teaches: the aggressive application of the Word of God to individual lives, so as to fully unpack the miracle of new birth and fully experience the miracle of normal Christian maturity.

So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.
--Acts 9:31

22 Comments:

  • Great post, Jodie.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Sunday, March 19, 2006 3:28:00 AM  

  • Thanks, Matthew :)

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Sunday, March 19, 2006 5:37:00 AM  

  • You really do have a gift for communicating these things here. Excellent article. ;-)

    It's obvious from this outline that this is an admonition to self examination concerning our attitude and not the establishment of some method for measuring salvation.

    By Blogger Kc, at Sunday, March 19, 2006 9:13:00 AM  

  • Yeah,

    I believe you are right KC. I think it to be some of that strong Hyperbole. If it wasn't then we really would be in a lot of trouble and would be heaping it up for judgment. All of us I think.

    James 2:12-13 as it appears in the greek calls us to judge as one who is going to be judged with liberality.

    One thing that got through to this "Pighead" was my dad. He agrees with this position. We had a talk about it one night and I finally see it.

    I have finally yeilded to it. Go ahead and gloat. It doeth the heart good;-)

    By Blogger Bhedr, at Sunday, March 19, 2006 3:21:00 PM  

  • Brian, please do not be like that.

    None of us here are into gloating. I know I can be a little sarcastic some times, but I do try not to gloat.

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Monday, March 20, 2006 12:49:00 AM  

  • Brian I would only rejoice and not gloat and I don't call being sober minded pig headed though I know there are times for us all that our zeal or our passion overtakes us. I haven't met the man yet who is immune. ;-)

    By Blogger Kc, at Monday, March 20, 2006 3:44:00 AM  

  • This is excellent, Jodie. I do think James was trying to move on to the maturity of the believer/church, not trying to cause anyone to doubt whether he was a part or not. Thanks for writing and posting that!

    By Blogger Rose~, at Monday, March 20, 2006 11:26:00 AM  

  • Hey guys,

    Thanks, I am just trying to learn to glory in my weaknesses as Paul says. I thought about changing my name to Pighedr..whaddaya think?

    Hey, It's something I've had a hard time looking past. I was ADD in High School and attended 2 differant free grace schools growing up. My problem is in the axioms and dendrites and full function is absent in the way it is in many others. I got such a blessing at the Casting Crowns concert two weeks ago as the lead singer had the same problem and only a one who has the problem fully understands it.

    Sometimes the teachers would call out my test scores because they were usually F's and they made public example of me. I used to always try to hide the tests afraid of what others would think. I was labeled anything from retard to mental. Some guys would call me Captain Kirk and the teachers would have a little fun with it. I guess the reason I had such a hard time believing what I did when I was first six is that as I grew, by their body language and their use of means...I guess I was taught that God helps those who helps themselves and humiliates the ones who can't. I guess I am trying to open up and let you all know that I am going to embrace this as this is what Paul said he did. Mark Hall from Casting Crowns just helped me so much and the free grace preacher that travels with him gave such a good message. I hope you guys take time to visist one of their concerts or buy their CD's.

    I say this in hopes that maybe in time it will get clearer as to why some have a hard time understanding that Salvation is a free gift from God. That way perhaps we will not so much in the future look down on them, but come to understand that they are themselves scared to death and don't fully understand how God is a giver. This also gives the opportunity for false religions to bend and gain their confidence through compassion and understanding unto false religion.

    Please take time to consider that perhaps there are other ways besides our tongue in how we can communicate God's message.

    Not long ago a man from our Church sent me a true story about a boy from Tennesse. He was an illegitimate child and the whole town including the church would chide him with a constant statement." Boy, who's your daddy?"

    This statement followed him all of his life. He usually steered clear of everyone for that reason. Then one day he went to Church and the Preacher came up to him(not knowing his past) and asked, "Boy, who's your daddy?"

    As he looked around at everyone and sensing the still silence, he quickly said, "God is your daddy isn't he?"

    That may be weak on the gospel, but it conveys an idea of being sensitive to things we may not know about with people who may have been through a furnace in the past and we hang on a fine line as we risk either further closing their spirit or opening it up.

    The man later became the governer of Tennessee.

    Just some thoughts I hope you will consider.

    Come on guys....gloat..purge:-)

    LOL!

    I am just trying to learn not to be sensitive and to try to innocently dish it back and forth.

    Be patient with me.

    In reality and at the end of the day, I believe it is the inner witness of the Holy Spirit that keeps you from not wholly neglecting the truth you were given as a Child and that all of these things happen to refine and burn off the dross, but for those who were not saved as a six year old, may not come back and respond in like manner as they may never have received Christ as a gift...so please consider that care that I speak of here, because whether you realize it or not...the ball is in your court and the responsibility is on your shoulders not theirs. I somehow wonder now if this is why I have gone through all of this.

    Like I said...consider gowing to see the Casting Crowns. It really helped free me from much bitterness as I listened to his story and heard the message.

    There is also a book written called How People Grow and in it the men make the point that the only way for us to reach maturity is to help one another with our blind spots. It is a very good book. God designed us to be vehicles of grace to one another both in honesty and in healing. We are not Islands...we need one another. Neither is any one of us any greater than the other and sometimes as you said KC we all have our relapses and dysfunction.

    Well if you all haven't purged...I certainley have....ahhhh! :-0

    By Blogger Bhedr, at Monday, March 20, 2006 7:08:00 PM  

  • Thanks Kc,

    I agree that James doesn't change the subject to a discuss a measurement of our eternal salvation.

    I appreciate your thoughts :)

    God bless :)

    Thanks Rose for your encouragement, I do think James is importatnt. Thanks for your patience with this survey of an outline. Blogging may not be the most ideal vehicle for this sort of thing, but I'm glad for your patience and support, Rose, and all of you guys:)

    Thanks Matthew and Kc for giving Brian a hard time for giving us a hard time for giving him a hard time...

    :) :)

    Hey Brian,

    I appreciate your grace-ful words :)

    Thanks for talking about your views and how they may have been influenced by the insensitivities of the kids you grew up with and your teachers as well :( :(

    Your saying that a sloppiness in the Christian walks and bitter attitudes of people while you were growing up left a bad taste in your mouth concerning our free grace theology. Am I on track with what you're getting at?

    If that's right, than, fair enough...

    I really think that it is helpful to bring up this stuff and discuss it with us. I'm sorry you had those types of experiences in your childhood and coming of age period, but am glad you're dealing with them in the Lord. I appreciate your attitude about this stuff.

    Also because I think we grace people need to be sober about things, about how we live and how we treat people. That's why I love the Wilkin/Hodges emphasis on sober examination of our lives and motivations with an eye to both chastisement and the JSOC.

    I agree with you that the way to communicate the Gospel is sometimes relational as much as verbal and conceptual. It is hard to know, though, when we're taking the gospel to those with a distorted gospel how to handle that. I think our use of a graceous tone and sometimes a firm tone and soemtimes an outraged tone may be about right, but I think we'll always try to make those judgments spiritually rather than immaturely :) :)

    I will have to check out the Casting Crowns / Mark Hall music and lyrics. It's not easy to keep up with all the whipper-snapper music, but I'll check it out. I have heard one song from them that I thought was really excellent.

    About patience around here, thanks for your patience with us! :)

    Lord bless you,

    Jodie

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Monday, March 20, 2006 8:30:00 PM  

  • This is a great post. The book of James has always confused me a bit.

    Maybe I should look into Zane Hodge's books...

    By Blogger Redeemed, at Tuesday, March 21, 2006 5:53:00 AM  

  • Hi redeemed :)

    Glad you enjoyed it:)

    There's a little more detail on my own blog about the demons passage.

    God bless,

    Jodie

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Tuesday, March 21, 2006 7:01:00 AM  

  • Hey Jodie,

    Thanks for your patience as well. As far as all those insensitivities? Well one brother told me to get over it and that perhaps I see things that arent there because of it. I think he is right and this is where I have failed and offended others.

    From both sides I think we need to examine how interpersonal relationships may have affected our theology.We may have prejudices but I think that God even uses that. For instance if you were raised Catholic and became rejected by its dark orb while others were blessed by it, then you will flee to grace when you hear of it. Now try to put yourself in my shoes as some of the Catholic School experiences and Fundamental Baptist School experiences ran parallel as I have discussed these experiences by other Catholics. Christian free grace Schools run in many ways as like fashion of the Catholics and with the same demands. So much so that one becomes like Bob Geldolf in Pink Floyds' The Wall. How do you return from that when you are taught in this fashion and that grace is the answer and that no matter how hard you try to please this God of grace, it is never good enough? We really need to work through our prejudices, but don't fully write of everything Calvin and other reformers discovered either and ask yourself if you may have a prejudice locked away and you may not realize it. I am not saying you do as you seem to be very gracious and openhearted,You may be the most objective of the group, but consider it. I have discovered that Ana-Baptists who I used to emphatically defend actually did give place to a Roman type of mixing sanctification with salvation and that in men like Menno Simmons we see a reaction coming out of them because of the injustices of men like Zwingli(involved in prostitution accasionaly) and Calvin who murdered some Ana-Baptist. Actually both did. Well some of the Ana-Baptist actually reacted to this free grace that they were actually defending along with Luther and spawned a Lordship gospel as well because of the injustice they faced at the hand of those reformed Christians. IOW, they got angry because they thought those Reformers were teaching cheap grace as they lived as though they could do anything they wanted, some of them thought anyway. It is really ironic to me now as it seems things have flip flopped to a degree. There did though appear to be some level headedness found in some Puritans as I discovered over on Bobby Grow's site. I am still looking it all up.

    I think you can see that men like Bluecollar, Doug Eaton and Terry Rayburn who are reformed really have a grasp of grace and I hope you consider that perhaps they too have been patient with some of you guys.

    You have helped me with the blind spot though that I could not see. I should have listened to Terry Rayburn last summer, but I just did'nt take it seriously enough. There is a dark side to some of Puritan theology and as he said, it seems to be doing more harm than good now.

    I hope some of you don't throw away the truth that faith too is a gift from God, as I know many feel threatened by it, but if you see it in its beauty you will not think this truth to be legalistic. Truly we must rest in grace alone and you have helped me see that in an attempt to explain or react we can obscure this message. Salvation is a gift. Simple trust in God alone. No effort on our part. I'm sure your minds have been puzzled as to why some of us could not see how we were obscuring such a simple truth.

    Would you consider that men like Bluecollar and Doug kind of feel a little boggled as to why some can't see that Faith too is a gift and that it is so simple to see throughout scripture. Its really not deep and dark.

    You know Jesus used parables so the simple ones could see and the comlplex minds could not. There is so much truth and doctrine in Jesus' parables. Simple truth.

    Would you consider watching a parable on this idea that Faith too is a gift yet at the same time is ours? Have you ever watched the movie Polar Express?

    It is bizzare how this film also shows the hurts in these little children in being offended away from believing in Santa(ok, ok I know I am going to lose some here as this may be loosey goosey Happy sappy stuff, but bear with me.)

    It is interesting in this movie how each child got a ticket and got aboard the train. They all got their tickets punched as we do when we are saved. On the trip they lost their tickets but they would always come back and find them. Interesting there huh?

    I identify so much with each child and perhaps some of us can too...all the hurts and everything. Perhaps if we could see ourselves like these kids encouraging each other not to lose hope...well then we would each bode well.

    But the most poigniant part is where the boy still struggling to believe cannot hear the bells ringing and one falls to the ground, and while everyone is celebrating...he cannot see, nor hear why...but then in his desperation a bell chime falls and as he looks and shakes it, somewhere in there it begins to ring. Then he hears and as he looks up, he can see Santa. He looks up and hands the bell to him and says,

    "I believe this is yours!"

    Paul told Timothy that from a young child he knew the Holy Scriptures that are able to make thee wise unto salvation. He had the faith though of his grandmother as Paul also would tell him. You see, I really believe though that the more we examine Scriptures, then the more we will see what is so simple, yet at times hard to see, and so we need to be patient with one another, and when we do finally see what he wants us to see then we will do like that little boy and cast our crowns to God and say, "I believe this is yours."

    By Blogger Bhedr, at Tuesday, March 21, 2006 12:33:00 PM  

  • Thanks for the reply, Brian :)

    I'll read and comment in the morning--this has been a crazy day of appointments etc.

    BTW, Last night I was browsing through that book you recommended on Amazon, How People Grow... looks like a very insightful book...

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Tuesday, March 21, 2006 9:31:00 PM  

  • Brian,

    I agree with what your saying here.

    Here in Chicago, the Jack Hyles ministry is maybe more famous than it is nationally. One of the Bible teachers and his wife there have been arrested for terrible crimes against a girl they had adopted.

    In general, Hyles's church has been over the top authoritarian, but they did teach a free grace gospel.

    Robert Sumner, on the other hand, has criticized them for those type of church government irregularities but also for the free grace emphasis.

    In fact, he's blamed the Bible teacher's crimes on his free grace ideas, instead of squarely on the whole attitude toward super strict authority of human church leaders. I think that is a distortion that encourages a lack of accountability and also cruel secretive behaviours. It shows the need for the Holy Spirit guiding and directing and humbling...

    About how the truth is sometimes slow in coming then suddlenly it seems simple. It's weird how true that is. It's the truth of the Bible that sets us free. I agree completely and I think it applies to both the truth of the gift of salvation and the truth of discipleship, as I think you were indicating. God does reveal the truth to us in spite of our blind spots and distorted understandings.

    We're all coming from at least a somewhat disorted and subjective viewpoint. I think sometimes what God wants is not so much for us to become more objective in our viewpoint, but to embrace His subjective point of view. I think in way that is what the Word of God is all about.

    I think people who don't take anything personally have a hard time taking God personally. So that's a distortion that is hard to get passed.

    I like your description of the Polar Express. Sounds kind of poetic. I love some of those books by that illustrator, whatever his name is. We'll have to get that from Netflix.

    And I'm going to save your quote about my being the most objective of the group...

    I get your drift...

    he he he

    Jodie

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Wednesday, March 22, 2006 11:00:00 AM  

  • Interesting that Sumner is hostile to Free Grace. I read his stuff attacking Calvinism. A bit shallow.

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Wednesday, March 22, 2006 12:33:00 PM  

  • Sarah, thanks for visiting here.

    I am afraid I have never read any books by Zane Hodges either.

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Wednesday, March 22, 2006 12:37:00 PM  

  • Hk?

    Your like oil on a wound. you understand and whether you realize it...you hit home closer than you think.

    Dr Jack Hyles and My Christian Schools founder were best friends and still are today.

    A close friend of mine was wrestling with some of the things made public by Hyles in the 80's. A close friend who suffered some of the same things I did, actually went into his office during a revival to open his heart up concerning why he was struggling over the issues and simply said, "Sir please let me know if these charges against you are false."

    Jack Hyles went into a tyraid and called for Dr. Bell to get this little whelp out of his office.

    Granted that was awfully bold of my friend and perhaps out of place, but the reaction was anything but graceful.

    I have another friend who went to School there who never darkens the church door anymore...he asked me once, "If God is real then how come what Happened to Ananias and Saphira doesn't happen anymore?"

    The question stumped me at the time as I didn't know what to tell him even in regards to that chastening they received as we were always warned and made to be horrified of God's Chastening while many of them indulged. It was all so puzzling, but the Authoritarian mix actually hides the message of grace I think.

    Later my own Father would fall from the ministry and not long ago Dr Bell was caught drunk and disorderly in town by the Cops. He asked his son(associate pastor) to hide it and they did so for two years until one lady who new the secret could not rest on it anymore. These men went to the same school Zane Hodges did.

    It was hard to look past. Do go watch Polar Express and then maybe you will understand even more what I am trying to convey. Thank you for being patient in the midst of all this. Unfortunately I too am guilty of allowing things to get ugly a few weeks ago, but as we all agree...The Grace of God is all we sinners can claim. I am in as much need of it as those men and my father who was actually exiled by Dr Bell and others. Dad became a very ;humbled man and I think today lives in regret of so many things.

    The other night he was at my house praying in earnest, "Lord, we can believe every promise you make. Every promise."

    I heard him. I think he now carries around a burden so much because my Mother is actually the authoritarian type still. its been hard for her. For all of us. Dad is even more merciful today than he ever was, but I got to remember that mom did forgive and show forgiveness. Ah God in his grace has worked through all of this.

    Our family has been through the furnace in the free grace movement. It was a dog eat dog world...but then again so was the reformation.

    Only God himself and his truth matters. We must look past all of our prejudices.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at Wednesday, March 22, 2006 2:04:00 PM  

  • Hi Brian :~)

    I usually try to save my comments before posting them, in case my connection is faulty or blogger is on the fritz, but… I made the mistake of not doing that earlier today and my reply was lost in the machine :~(

    So sorry about my delay, my connection was out the rest of the day.

    My point was that you have an incredible amount of guts to be plowing through this stuff without having become hardened to Christ, as I’m sure some of your friends have, or becoming sort of frozen, by all the complicated mix of messages. The grace message mixed up with a very self-serving system.

    You have a significant testimony. You have as much guts–to be walking with the Lord, not just warming a pew, and not bitter—as your friend who charged into Hyles’s office!

    I think these are important issues for us at Unashamed to think about: the paradox of mixing the grace message with an anti-grace culture, the idea that having this crucial issue settled doesn’t absolve us from every other duty to love one another, and be protective of people, especially children!

    I hope you continue to bring this issue up where ever you see some sort of a similar thread. It’s good for us to keep aware of the complicated results of sin as we try to proclaim the simplicity of God’s loving message.

    I really appreciate your willingness to give your testimony about this. It is a very strong one that shows the power of trusting God. I hope you are open about sharing whenever God seems to be leading.

    Thank you :~)

    Lord bless you,

    Jodie :~)

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Thursday, March 23, 2006 6:48:00 PM  

  • This was a good post, Jodie. Like you, I believe that James is calling us to mature faith, not to confusion regarding our salvation.

    You might find it interesting sometime (you may have already done this) to do a parallel study between the Epistle of James and the Sermon on the Mount. It is not likely that James (the half-brother of Jesus who may not have become a believer until after the resurrection) even heard that sermon. Yet you will notice a large number of similarities between the two. James saw the demonstration of mature faith being lived out daily in the life of his older brother.

    This demonstration of spiritual maturity eventually led to James becoming a "bond-servant to Christ".

    Perhaps if we sincerely demonstrate the same maturity, we will move others to submit themselves to Christ as well, as opposed to the human authoritarianism that Hyles and others taught.

    By Blogger Gordon Cloud, at Thursday, March 23, 2006 11:26:00 PM  

  • Hi Gordon :)

    Thanks for your thoughts, I agree very much.

    I've never really done a real study of James and the Sermon on the Mount, but I've heard about that strong connection.

    And actually I don't think it would be that much of a stretch to think that the Lord's brothers were there, even as unbelievers, since it was a major event in his 'career', if only to keep on "top of it". To be able to appraise what they saw as problematic. Who knows...

    I do plan to do that sort of a study, though.

    And I agree that the demonstration of true joyful maturity is as you see it, the best witness of the reality of the Gospel.

    God bless :)

    Jodie

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Friday, March 24, 2006 8:35:00 AM  

  • Not guts. The grace of God:-)

    I had an insurance saleman tell me one that they were instructed to lie and do whatever they could to get people to buy life insurance. They said their conscience could be at rest as life insurance is a good thing and is what is best.

    I think growing up many felt that the message of grace needed to be sold in the same manner and out here in the blogishere I have noticed a similar direction to do whatever it takes. I don't think we help the message that way...I think we actually hinder it.

    WE, including myself have got to be careful to not go about the work of the Lord deceitfully as Abraham when telling Sarah to lie for their own good. The world is not clueless to this and begins to sense that we are just out to scalp and get braggin rights to stand up in church and say,"I led this brother to the Lord."

    Thanks for listening and may we endeavour to trust Christ with the message of grace and to love others for their own benefit and not ours.

    Thanks for your response

    By Blogger Bhedr, at Saturday, March 25, 2006 3:42:00 PM  

  • Thanks for sharing your experience, brother :)

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Saturday, March 25, 2006 4:24:00 PM  

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