James -straight forward and challenging!
The Book of James is probably my favourite book in the bible. I have a book, ‘Read Your Bible one book at a time’ and in it it lists the length of time it takes to read each book of the bible. It should take about quarter of an hour, so I did just that today. I love this book because it’s so practical, down to earth, straight forward and wonderfully challenging.
In James 1:27, we find clear instructions on how to live out our Christian faith:
‘Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world’
In James 2:12, we learn the importance of mercy:
‘Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgement without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgement.‘
In James 3:17, it tells us what the wisdom from God should be like:
‘But the wisdom from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
What’s really challenged me recently is the sin of not doing something, rather than the sin of doing something wrong. These two kinds of sin are often referred to as sins of commission and sins of omission. I think we have a tendency as Christians to spend too much time concentrating on not doing bad things and not realising that we are all along sinning because we fail to do the right thing. As the famous saying goes:
‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing’ (Edmund Burke)
In James 4:17, James makes it clear that we sin, when we do not do the right thing:
‘So then, if you know the good you ought to do and don’t do it, you sin’
This is put in a simple and straight forward way, but it’s quite a challenge for us all!