In about a month, I have finished reading and commenting on the Letter of James. I have now finished the New Testament four canonical gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, plus the Acts of the Apostles, and Paul’s letters to the Romans, as well 1 Corinthians and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1Thessalonians and 2Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, and Hebrews. I have just finished the Letter of James. Every time I finish commenting on a book of the Bible, I send a thank you blog. I usually post five blogs a day covering a verse of the biblical books. So far, I have posted over 15,325 blogs about the individual paragraphs of all the 46 books of the Old Testament, plus the individual verses of the first 20 books of the New Testament. It has taken me nine years to get this done, since I first began in 2013.
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James concluded by talking about wanderers from the truth who had come back. Anyone who helped another person to return should realize that they have saved a sinner from death. They have covered a multitude of sins. Have you ever helped a wandering sinner?
James said that if anyone was suffering, they should pray. However, if they were cheerful, they should sing songs of praise. If anyone was sick, they should call the elder presbyters. They should come and pray over the sick person. Then they should anoint the sick person with oil in the name of the Lord. This prayer of faith would save the sick person. The Lord will raise them up. Sins will be forgiven. They should confess their sins to one another. Thus, they should pray for each other because the prayer of the righteous one is powerful and effective. He then cited the example of Elijah during the drought and the ending of the drought when it rained. Do you think that anointing the sick is a good thing?
James said that they should be patient like a farmer. The coming of the Lord was soon. The farmer waits for his precious crop to grow from the earth with the early and the late rains. They had to be patient like that. They were not to grumble against each other. Then they will not be judged. The judge was standing at the door. They should consider the patience and suffering of the blessed Israelite prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. They should remember their endurance and patience. They knew the purpose of the Lord. They knew that he was compassionate and merciful. Are you a patient person?
James turned to the rich Jewish Christians. They were to weep and wail because miseries were coming to them. Their riches would rot. Their clothes would be moth-eaten. Their gold and silver would rust. Their flesh would be eaten like fire. They had laid up their treasure for their last days retirement. However, they had not paid the wages of the laborers who mowed their fields. They defrauded their workers, but the cries of these harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord. They have lived in luxury and pleasure. They have been fattened for the day of slaughter. They have condemned and murdered the righteous ones who did not resist. Have you been fair to those who worked for you?
James took on the boasters. If anyone said that they were going to another town to do business for a year or so to make money, you should remember that you do not know what tomorrow may bring. What is your life? You are simply a mist that is here today and vanishes tomorrow. Instead, you ought to say “If the Lord wishes” we will live and do so and so. You boast in your arrogance, but boasting is evil. Anyone who knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, commits a sin. Do you know the right thing to do and still fail to do it?
James said that they should not speak evil against others. Whoever spoke evil or judged another was speaking evil and judging the law. If you judge or criticize the law, you are not a doer of the law. Remember, there is only one lawgiver and judge who is able to save and destroy. Who are you to judge your neighbor? Do you judge your neighbor?
James reminded his readers that scripture said that God is jealous. He wants his spirit to be in them. He will give more grace. He opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. They should submit to God. At the same time, they should resist the devil, so that he would flee from them. If you draw near to God, he will draw near to you. As double-minded sinners, they should cleanse their hands and purify their hearts by lamenting, mourning, and weeping. Their laughter and joy should be turned into mourning. They need to humble themselves before the Lord. Then he will exalt them. Do you let God’s grace work in you?
James asked where did their conflicts and disputes come from? He answered his own question. They come from human cravings within them. There is a war going on within them. They want something that they do not have. This could lead to murder. If you desired something and can’t get it, do you start disputes and conflict? One of the reasons that you don’t get stuff is that you don’t ask. However, when you do ask, you ask wrongly. You are only concerned about your own pleasures. He then called them adulterers. He warned them that friendship with the world makes them an enemy of God. Are you friendly with God or the world around you?