‘James’ about receiving God’s good and perfect gifts

Leonard Lauriault: Church of Christ

God gives the crown of eternal life to those that love him only after we’ve stood firm in our earthly life (1: 12, unless otherwise noted, scripture references are from the book of James; Revelation 2: 10). We show our love for God as doers of the word (1: 21-25; John 14: 15), which also makes us Christians, his children and heirs (1: 16-18; 1 John 2: 28, 29).
God gave his word in the first century (Hebrews 1: 1-3; Jude 3) as instructions for receiving his good gifts, including our inheritance as his children. The means of accessing the gift of salvation are the same today as when they were first given and nobody is to add to or take away from them (Revelation 22: 18, 19) because neither God nor his word ever change (Hebrews 6: 13-20). God doesn’t show favoritism among people and neither should we (2: 1-11); likewise, God doesn’t show favoritism among his rules and we don’t have the option of picking which ones we’ll obey (Matthew 28: 18-20). If we don’t obey the ones we know about, we continue in sin (4: 17; 1 John 2: 3-6).
The law that gives freedom (2: 12) determines if we’re freed from sin (forgiven) and will receive eternal life (Romans 6: 3-8). God tells Christians who sin to come near in humble repentance, having washed their hands (4: 7-10). Jesus said we have the privilege of simply washing our hands, or feet, only after we’ve washed our whole bodies (John 13: 10; Hebrews 10: 22), which is baptism in water (1 Peter 3: 21). This is simply what God says we must submit to so he can perform the inward cleansing (Acts 22: 16; Colossians 2: 11, 12; Romans 2: 28, 29) and has nothing to do with outward cleansing or works for salvation. People don’t baptize themselves; a Christian does that for (to) them (Acts 19: 1-5).
If baptism is the first act of obedience, as some would have us think, then baptism is when one becomes a Christian, God’s adopted child (Galatians 3: 26-29; 1 John 3: 4-10). This is the purpose of baptism, but baptism isn’t the first act of obedience, faith is (1 John 3: 22-24; John 8: 24; 6: 28, 29). Faith causes us to listen to God (Luke 8: 15; John 6: 45), to repent of the sin that separates us from him (Isaiah 59: 1, 2; Acts 17: 30; Luke 13: 2-5), and to seek forgiveness on his terms (Acts 2: 38, 39). Humbly accepting the word means that we just do what it says for the reason it says because it is what God says (2 Timothy 3: 16, 17).
Simply believing the word to be true is insufficient; we must obey it for it to be effective in our salvation (2: 14-26; 1 Corinthians 15: 1, 2). When people ask God to forgive them without following his instructions about how to become his children and receive his righteousness (Romans 3: 21, 22), they won’t be forgiven because their motive isn‘t obedience (John 10: 31). That is, they’ve acted as if God hasn’t given the other commands (4: 13-16). If we don’t do things God’s way, even our prayers won’t be answered (5: 13-18; 1: 5-8; 4: 1-6).
Having become part of God’s family, one has an inheritance in heaven, but can lose it if they wander from the faith (5: 19, 20; Revelation 22: 19). We’re born again of incorruptible seed – Jesus (Galatians 3: 16, 17; 1 Peter 1: 18-25; John 1: 1, 14, 10-13) and have an incorruptible inheritance (1 Peter 1: 3-9), but we’re still corruptible. We must constantly battle against the influence of sin within ourselves to keep from becoming enslaved again by sin (Romans 7: 14-25), which gives birth to death (1: 13-15; Romans 6: 16-23).
Continuing to look intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, the wisdom from God (3: 13-18), living up to what we have attained (1: 25- 27; Philippians 3: 16) maintains peace between us and God (Ephesians 2: 11-18) by providing continued forgiveness as God’s children when we sin (1 John 1: 5-9) and assurance of our salvation (Galatians 4: 4-7; Romans 8: 12-17). Christian living is the wise choice because it’s how we avoid many of the troubles in life (Proverbs 11: 5, 6) and store up treasures in the only incorruptible place (5: 1-11; Matthew 6: 19-21). Do you want to be born into God’s family and begin receiving his good gifts (John 3: 3-6)? Give me a call 461-4421.