Wednesday came too fast this week. Wowza. I’m still reeling from Chapter 1. But I suppose we shouldn’t drag this out over a zillion weeks (even though we totally could–so much to unpack!).
Because we’re leaving for Cambodia in 88 days!! Can I get a WOOOHOOO?!?!?! (Plane ticket/bank account mishap still not resolved. Trusting God to work it all out. He’s so good.) ALL HAS BEEN RESTORED! ALL GLORY TO GOD!
The memorizing is going well(ish). I thought maybe I could memorize a chapter a week, but I think that was a little over-ambitious. I have the first 18 verses pretty much down(ish). Lost my groove over the past couple days. Here’s to getting it back.
Chapter 2 starts out with a bunch of exhortations to not show favoritism to rich people over poor people. And texts like this kind of make me proud for a second, because, “Hey! I like poor people! Even more than rich people!” And then 1.) I feel convicted of my reverse snobbery/partiality and 2.) I’m reminded that I’m one of the rich people (richer than 99% of the world = filthy rich).
v.5 “Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?”
I don’t claim to understand this verse completely, but there’s a definite correlation between poverty and faith. The less you have, the more uncertain your financial future, the more faith you have to have in God’s provision. I experienced this in a first world way today. Charged double for our plane tickets, checking account overdrawn, we have no access to our money, can’t cash checks. Just $5 to our name. Living on a prayer, baby.
And what did God do? Brought someone to our door who hired Gabe for a photography project. And, wonder of wonders, she paid him in cash.
I said this over and over again on our zoo trip to the point of obnoxion (totally a word). God shows up biggest and brightest when we’re all out of resources. It’s a scary/freaking awesome way to live.
v.10 “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.”
Classic you’re-screwed-without-Christ verse. Lest we think our righteous acts are enough to get us anywhere on our own.
v. 14 “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?
Oh, goodness, we could spend a lifetime on this verse. Lots of people, I’m sure, would like to excommunicate it (and the verses that follow it) from the Bible entirely. In a nutshell (borrowed from David Platt), James’s deeds/works are different from Paul’s works (he says we’re saved by faith, not works).
James isn’t talking about something we do to earn favor before God. He’s talking about the natural, overflowing fruit of real faith in God.
It’s not faith + works = salvation. It’s faith that produces works = salvation. Subtle difference? Not as subtle as I used to think.
v. 15-17 “If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”
1 John 3:17 says the same thing. “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?
And Matthew 25:31-46. (so worth the read) Basically, giving water to the thirsty, food to the hungry, clothes to the naked = doing that to Jesus. And not doing it for the least of these? Means going away into eternal punishment.
If anyone wants to explain that craziness away, have at it.
1. What one verse stood out to you as oh-my-wow (or however you would say it)?
2. What do you think of this quote from DP–“People who claim to be Christians but fail to help poverty-stricken believers are, in fact, not saved.”
3. What questions/concerns do you have about this chapter?