James 5:19-20 and resumé of book
The Conversion of the Sinner
- Ultimately the truth is Christ (John 14:6) but in terms that we can see and understand it is the Scriptures (Ps.119:128,142).
- To err from the truth is to believe falsehood and/or teach it which then affects the way you live. Unbelief, deception and wrong behaviour are all sinful. Denominations that err from the truth usually apostatise. The necessity is knowing the truth AND loving it (II Thess.2:10-11).
- To convert means to come to confess sin or falsehood, repent from it and re-consecrate oneself to God. Peter is an example (Luke 22:32) and David (Ps.51).
- Although God must work in the heart, we may be the means whereby a sinner is converted. It is severally illustrated in terms of eyes, ears and mind. The eyes must be opened (John 3:3) and the ears (Matt.13:15, Mark 4:12, John 12:40 and Acts 28:27) to hear Christ’s voice and the heart needs to understand. The word is also the instrument (Ps.19:7). This is true at initial conversion and subsequent on-going conversion.
- The death of which James writes is that of backsliding and ultimately, if unrepentant, eternal death in apostasy.
- To hide a multitude of sins is to have them covered by the blood of Christ when they are confessed and forsaken (I John 1:9, Ps.103:12, Ps.32:1). God declares them buried in the deepest sea and no longer remembered.
Key themes of the book of James
- Affliction through trial and temptation to which we are to respond by rejoicing and prayer.
- Fleeting nature of riches and not respecting persons.
- Control of the tongue.
- Living faith is shown by works.
- Prayer encouraged and the restoration of the backslider.
Divisions of book
1:1-8 Greetings and exhortation to rejoice in trials knowing they work for good and that God will grant wisdom.
1:9-16 Riches fade. The source of temptation.
1:17-27 Control your anger. Obey the word.
2:1-9 Don’t respect persons.
2:10-26 Your faith works to show you are justified.
3:1-18 Teachers judged more strictly. Control tongue. Exhibition of godly wisdom.
4:1-17 Against lust and pride and boasting.
5:1-9 Against riches and injustice.
5:10-18 Exhortation to endure, no rash swearing, need to pray with examples.
5:19-20 Need to restore backslider.
Next BS (DV) March 25th to look at first chapter of “War of Words” by Paul David Tripp (on e bay £10 incl. p&p)
See also: War of Words