Text: James 1:22-25
What is your guidebook in life? Tiktok? A manual is essential for any newly purchased appliances. Even software applications have EULA: End-User License Agreement. Likewise, the life that we have as Christians has a guide. More to that, it is the transformative rule of our faith and practices.
Background of James’ writing:
There were various challenges and persecutions that were happening during the time of James’ writing. Such as the massacre of temple priests in Rome, the destruction of the Jerusalem temple in AD70, riots, wars, and even Nero’s gruesome tortures. The result of these dark events was called diaspora, or the Jews escaped and moved to other neighboring counties for safety and peace.
In this context, James is reminding all Christians to be guided in their life by one important book. The ultimate instruction of life. The Handbook of Life, the Word of God, the Bible. Guidebook? A mirror that reflects your life.
- Written Word (2 Timothy 3:16): The Bible
The Bible is the Word of God, and it points us to Jesus. We believe and trust the Bible because we have faith in Christ. The Bible, for Christians, is authoritative in all manners of faith and practices. Since this is God’s Word, we need to treat it as literally His and inspirationally true and binding. That is why believers must anchor their hearts and minds in the Scriptures. It is the only true–the absolute “TRUTH” amidst the “fake news” surrounding us today.
More than just a manual, it provides and sustains our life; Psalm 19:7-9 states, “The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous.”
Greg Gilbert’s words, “As Christians, we believe that God has spoken to us in His Word, the Bible.” It is infallible and inerrant. “This God–his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true” (Ps. 18:30). Gilbert adds, “It is to God’s Word that we look in order to find what he has said to us about his Son Jesus.”
- Living Word (John 1:1, 14; Hebrews 1:1-3) Jesus
Illustration: Before the Coffee gets cold (transition to 1 John 2:4-6): “Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.”
Verses 22-24 read that knowing and memorizing Scriptures are not enough; we need the Word of God to put into action. You do not just read and meditate but apply it in your life.
Illustration: Which translation is the best? KJV? NKJV? NIV? ESV? NASB? CSB? The one that translates into actions. Transformation is necessary for us to experience the real application in our lives.
- Personal – emotions/ fear/ work/ good news
- Family – honor your parents/ husband and wife/ disciple your children
- Church – regularly attend/ give your tithes and offerings/ do missions and evangelism.
Ptr. John Paul Arceno
UCBC New Jersey
October 2, 2022