October 23, 2011

Monday after the Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity


Morning - Ps.41, 1 Kings 18:1-15, James 1:12-21
Evening - Ps. 33, Job 12:13-22, Mt. 13:53-14:12

James 1:12-21

Today's reading supports the statement made in verse 12; "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation." In verse 2, temptations refer to the various trials of life. Here, in verse 12, they are the specific temptations to sin that we encounter in "the world, the flesh, and the devil." To endure such testing is a blessing from God, because those who endure temptation will receive them crown of life, which is eternal rest and peace with God in Heaven (1:12).

Verses 13-16 picture the progress of sin from temptation to action. After affirming that God does not tempt or lead us in to evil, James tells us that our own lusts (the flesh) draw or lead us into temptation. We are then enticed to fulfill our lusts, even by ungodly means. So sin is conceived in lust and born of lust, and death is born of sin.

By contrast, God gives good and perfect gifts. Note the line of thinking here; God does not tempt us. Instead He gives all good and perfect gifts. Sin leads to death, but God gives the crown of life. There is no variation in God. He is good throughout, and He begat us, or, caused us to be born again, by His word, that we may be the first-fruits of His creatures (1:17-18).

Finally, James draws two practical conclusions from his statement in 1:12. First, let us be swift to hear, which is to receive instruction in Godliness, and slow to speak and wrath, which is to give in to pride and self-importance, and does not work Godliness in us. Second, we are to lay aside the lusts and pride that lead us into temptation, and receive with meekness the word which is able to save our souls.

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