James’ Letter, chapter 3

To: The called and people being called to be atOne with Jesus. 2/23/19, God’s 12th month 18th day of Adar 1 until sunset.

To have mercy is to be an object of another’s favorable disposition or action,” “to be a recipient of another’s favor, kindness.” The favor/kindness is sometimes earned, in response to an action or condition (see Gen 32:5; 39:4; Deut 24:1; 1 Sam 25:8; Prov 3:4; Ruth 2:10). This is the case in Gen 6:8, where v. 9 gives the basis (Noah’s righteous character) for the divine favor. Jesus’ apostle Paul explains that Jesus is our mercy seat.

(Romans 3:23-26; “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. But they “we believers IN Jesus” are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. God “the Father” publicly displayed Him at His death as the mercy seat accessible through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because God in His forbearance had passed over the sins previously committed. This was also to demonstrate His righteousness in the present time, so that He “God the Father” would be just and the justifier of the one who lives because of Jesus’ faithfulness.”)

The Christian life revolves around Jesus’ faithfully giving of Himself for the remission of our sins! (Jesus died because of our individual sins.)

Many unbelieving professing Christians have a problem with James’ letter to newly converted gentiles. Assuming newly converted gentiles could live by a lesser standard, “only turning from things defiled by idols, sexual immorality and blood.” NO, this isn’t what James is saying. (Instructing gentiles to demonstrate a change from their previous abominable practices and show genuine sincerity by yielding to these three basics.) This is parallel to foreigners in Moses day submitting to circumcision in order to become a part of Israel. (James wrote; “Therefore I conclude that we should not cause extra difficulty for those among the Gentiles who are turning to God, but that we should write them a letter telling them to abstain from things defiled by idols and from sexual immorality and from what has been strangled and from blood. For Moses has had those who proclaim him in every town from ancient times, because he is read aloud in the synagogues every Sabbath.” Acts 15:19)

Three basic things were particularly abominable to God “practices foreign to Israelite’s Godly gifted customs. Turning from these idolatrous customs wasn’t easy when their society condoned them. Things defiled by idols included their keeping times honoring imaginary gods, discarding statues, carved images and certainly to stop bowing to such. All followers of Jesus’ must submit to Christ like behavior. Paul explained in his letter to the gentile Ephesians.

(Eph 2:17-22; “And He “Jesus” came and preached peace to you who were far off “gentiles in the flesh” and peace to those who were near, “Israelites” so that through Jesus we both, “Israelites and gentiles” have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you “gentiles” are no longer foreigners and non-citizens, but you are fellow citizens with the Saints and members of God’s household, because you have been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the Cornerstone. In Him the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”) Individually, every Christian is, “being built into God’s dwelling place!” Now back to James’ chapter 3:

(James 3:1- 6; “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, because you know that we will be judged more strictly. For we all stumble in many ways. If someone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect individual, able to control the entire body as well. And if we put bits into the mouths of horses to get them to obey us, then we guide their entire bodies. Look at ships too: Though they are so large and driven by harsh winds, they are steered by a tiny rudder wherever the pilot’s inclination directs. (5) So too the tongue is a small part of the body, yet it has great pretensions. Think how small a flame sets a huge forest ablaze. And the tongue is a fire! The tongue represents the world of wrongdoing among the parts of our bodies. It pollutes the entire body and sets fire to the course of human existence – and is set on fire by hell.”) James’ point is that we need to control our speech and particularly, teach truth.

Some translators used the word “hell” when another word is better. Idea that there’s a place, where an ever burning fire is reserved for unrepentant sinners isn‘t scriptural. It evolved over time from gentiles and took hold among Israelites as well. Translators quoting Jesus’ use are yielded to tradition, He’s actually saying, “Gehenna.” Translated, “hell” in the Greek its (γέεννα, geenna) and Hebrew its (ge Hinnom)“Valley of Hinnom”) This was the valley along the south side of Jerusalem. In Olden times it was used for human sacrifices to the pagan gods Molech and Baal (see Jeremiah 7:31; 19:5-6; 32:35), The valley of Hinmon was used as a place where human excrement and rubbish were disposed and burned. In the inter-testament period, it came to be used symbolically as the place of divine punishment. (See Ezra 7:36). There is a diving punishment for evil, including Satan and his followers. A second fire, sulfur and brimstone eternal death awaits those who refuse to believe IN and be obedient to Jesus’ way. The second death is found four time in “Jesus’ Revelations to John” See Revelations 21:8.

As Jesus’ apostles went out proclaiming His good news, they were witnesses to Jesus’ life, Word, “Jesus’ revelations gifting understanding of the prophecies relating to His birth, teaching, death, resurrection, ascension and His return to establish God’s kingdom. They had the Old Testament scriptures and perhaps James’ letter after a few years.

As we’ll see, Jesus’ brother James was concerned for Jesus’ followers, teaching that we practice self control as we join in service to the resurrected Lord “Jesus.” Though not explaining our inherited from Adam nature that leads to eternal death, but the new gifted nature through Jesus leading to everlasting life. He exposes our fleshly pulls leading to conflicts.

(James 3:7-18; “For every kind of animal, bird, reptile, and sea creature is subdued and has been subdued by humankind. But no human being can subdue the tongue; it is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse people made in God’s image. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. These things should not be so, my brothers and sisters. A spring does not pour out fresh water and bitter water from the same opening, does it? Can a fig tree produce olives, my brothers and sisters, or a vine produce figs? Neither can a salt water spring produce fresh water.”) Most of us can attest to the fact that our tongue sometimes spouts off what crosses the minds, when we should hold a still tongue.

(James 3:13-13) “Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct he should show his works done in the gentleness that wisdom brings. (This was likely James’ greatest gifted asset that caused the apostles to look to and recognize his leadership qualities.) (3:14; “But if you have bitter jealousy and selfishness in your hearts, do not boast and tell lies against the truth. Such wisdom does not come from above but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where there is jealousy and selfishness, there is disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, accommodating, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial, and not hypocritical. And the fruit that consists of righteousness is planted in peace among those who make peace.”)

Such wisdom comes from above with the gifted imputation of God’s spirit, “miraculously gifted to a called people desiring to be obedient to and atOne with Jesus, from a love of Him point of view.”

(James 4:1; “Where do the conflicts and where do the quarrels among you come from? Is it not from this? from your passions that battle inside you? (Our fleshly inherited from Adam nature that results in eternal death, if not miraculously changed.)

(James 4:2-4; “You desire and you do not have; you murder and envy and you cannot obtain; you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask; you ask and do not receive because you ask wrongly, so you can spend it on your passions. (4) Adulterers, do you not know that friendship with the world means hostility toward God? So whoever decides to be the world’s friend makes himself God’s enemy.”)

(We need to understand where our fleshly passions come from. James is speaking of spiritual adultery more so than adultery against one’s spouse. If we claim to know Jesus and yet follow this world’s system of things, we are committing spiritual adultery against the One we should be married to, “namely Jesus.”

(James 4:5-10; “Or do you think the scripture means nothing when it says, “The spirit that God caused to live within us has an envious yearning”? But He “God” gives greater grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but He gives grace to the humble.” So submit to God. But resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and make your hearts pure, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn, and weep. Turn your laughter into mourning and your joy into despair. Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will exalt you.”)

God’s spirit in us causes an envious yearning? Translators takes “spirit” to be the lustful capacity within people that produces a divided mind (James 1:8, 14) and inward conflicts regarding God. (James 4:1-4, 6) God created an independency in man but He provides His grace and the new birth through Jesus’ gospel message. (James 1:18-25) This counteracts evil effects of our inherited sin nature. “God yearns jealously for the Spirit He causes to live within us.”

Followers of Jesus desire to be holy because God is holy. Never boastful about what God reveals, but humbly thankful for His gifted grace, calling and mercy. James and each apostles’ letters, are to God the Father and God the Son’s chosen, who’re gifted with Godly love and understanding that He loved them first. (He sacrificed His life for the remission of this world’s sins.) That prophesied result is to be a reality during His millennial reign on earth. To His called, chosen, the reality and gifted spiritual understanding is in this age.)

(James 4:11-17; “Do not speak against one another, brothers and sisters. He who speaks against a fellow believer or judges a fellow believer speaks against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but its judge. But there is only One who is law giver and judge – the One who is able to save and destroy. On the other hand, who are you to judge your neighbor? (James understood his own yearnings before and after his believing IN Jesus, we should too.)

(James 4:13-17; “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into this or that town and spend a year there and do business and make a profit.” You do not know about tomorrow. What is your life like? For you are a puff of smoke that appears for a short time and then vanishes. You ought to say instead, “If the Lord is willing, then we will live and do this or that.” But as it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows what is good to do and does not do it is guilty of sin.”) The wisdom to be gleaned from God’s Word is awesome.

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