Saturday, February 6, 2010

Covenants in transition – a fresh look at James and Paul – the Jew, Gentile distinction Part IV

In yesterday’s post we saw that James was concerned with social justice when he penned the words faith without works is dead being alone. Now we will look at what he was not saying. He was not saying that faith without works is dead unless you conform to a certain code of behavioral rules. Even though this was true in Judaism and, especially with the Pharisees which James most likely was (Gal 2:12 & Acts 15:5), James is actually trying to show the difference between the non-believing Pharisees and believers who were of that sect.

It makes perfect sense that this was the reason for James insisting on tying this concept to social justice and acts of love for humanity. And, we must once again reiterate that he has acknowledged the law of Christ as the law of liberty and has made the statement that mercy triumphs over judgment. This is declarative statement that allows the saint to realize that God has mercy for their circumstances and that they should show the same mercy to their fellow men.

To bring this forward into the 21st century, we must acknowledge that there are many people who’s life circumstances make it difficult to come up to the behavioral principles set by the high ethical standards of Christianity and, there is a whole different group of people who suffer from addictive type personalities and are in fact in bondage to substances, people and behaviors. James definitely is not supporting what I call the Nike slogan Christians….just do it! I see this as the teaching that states that once you have read and understand you must simply do it. I believe that there are some conditions that people find themselves in that may not be resolved in an entire lifetime and it must be remembered that mercy triumphs over judgment in this case every time. God’s mercies triumphs and guess what….our mercy should be just like his.

If and when a person or community really begins rolling their sleeves up and, practicing the love that James describes in James 2:15-16…providing real sustainable social justice for the poor and disadvantaged they would find that perhaps they would become so busy and preoccupied with love that they would automatically shed some of their propensity toward sin and, would find that their ethical behavior raised automatically over time.

Tomorrow we can wrap this particular thread up by looking at the New Covenant mandate found in Isaiah 58 and see the promises that are made to bless the people of God.

You can find posts that explain various positionss of this blog in the following areas: Introduction, The Word of God, Realized Eschatology, Jew – Gentile Distinction. These are just a few of the blog posts but, I encourage you to look through them or, you can get a free PDF of the blog through the latest Saturday.

1 comment:

  1. Yes we need to start rolling our sleeves up and we also need to start caring about others more than we selfishly care for ourselves. If we do this we would gain more souls and this world would be a lot better place to live.

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