James 1:22-27 HEARING AND DOING Those who hear and do James 1:22 Those who hear but don’t do James 1:23-24 WHAT TO DO? Practical religion Looking into the law and doing the work James 1:25 Bridling the tongue James 1:26 Taking care of others James 1:27 Keeping oneself unspotted James 1:27
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” (James 1:22) James moves us to BE doers. Hearing or reading the Word is not enough. The Word must be our lifestyle. “There is danger of not making Christ’s teachings a personal matter, of not receiving them as though they were addressed to us personally. In His words of instruction Jesus means me.” (E.G.W., That I may know Him, October 1) See Luke 6:27-38. What if we just know that we must do good to those who hate us, but we don’t do so? What if we just know that we must give to those who ask of us, but we don’t do? Is that good for us? How can we become doers of the Word? “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16)
“For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.” (James 1:23-24) Those who only hear the Word think that they already fulfill the requirements to be a good Christian. They see a distorted image of themselves. When temptation comes, they “forget what kind of man they were” and fall. There are two examples of people who saw a distorted image of themselves in the Gospel: 1.The rich young man (Matthew 19:16-22) He thought he was a perfect believer. But he hesitated and failed when he was asked to go further. 2.Peter (Matthew 26:33-35, 69-75) He thought he could follow Jesus to death. Some hours later, he showed his actual weakness.
“But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”b (James 1:25)
“If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless.” (James 1:26) James explained how to be doers of the Word in the last verses of chapter 1. Our religion must come through in our words; then, also in our acts. “God cares more for what we really are than for what we say we are. He does not care how beautiful we may look, but He wants our hearts pure. Then all our words and actions will be right.” E.G.W. (The Story of Jesus, cp. 10, pg. 61)
From a worldly standpoint, it does not make sense to focus our resources on those who can give nothing back to society. But from God’s viewpoint, it is precisely how we treat those who have been cast off and rejected by the world that reveals which of us are Christ’s true followers: either by lending money to those who cannot pay us back; inviting to dinner those who cannot reciprocate; or blessing and praying for those who mistreat us. “And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’” (Matthew 25:40)
“…and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” (James 1:27) Jesus didn’t ask the Father to take us away out the world, but to keep us from evil (John 17:15) We may live really far away from the world, but evil will follow us wherever we go. We are transformed to Christ’s image by His communion. He gives us the power to live an “unspotted” life. So we are called to live in the world, but to not let it corrupt us. We must announce the good news of salvation to the world.
Those who are saved by grace will be doers of God’s Word because they have placed their faith fully in Him. The root of temptation comes from our own lusts and desires, but God’s Word is an effective weapon against sin. Satan attempts to make sin appear attractive, but when we are fully surrendered to God we will accept that His ways are best, and we will become new people in Him.