James 2

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Bible Passage: James2

There are many good points in this chapter but as usual, I would just raise only one point in this blog.

All these years as a Christian in TJC, I have been pondering about the words in the Bible especially those pertaining to salvation. If one ponders about salvation in a simplistic sense it basically means having faith in Jesus as the Son of God; understanding and believing his death and resurrection. However when one grows in the Word of God, he/ she will find out that faith is a broad word and there is way more contents in faith than just this simple belief. Faith, like love, is actionable and must be actionable else it is not faith neither it can be considered love.

This chapter illustrates true faith and true love and that faith and love must truly be with actions. Actions/ works are a manifestation of this faith and a manifestation of this love. Just like how a parent sacrifice his/ her time and money on his/ her child, love involves sacrifice. If someone claims to love someone and does not sacrifice, then one can judge that this love is purely hypocrisy and a delusion. Faith involves believing and obeying the Word of God just like how Abraham and all the heroes of faith have done so in the past (best illustrated in Hebrews 11).

The point I would like to make is actually in verse 13, second portion.

“Mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:13b)

When one understands the characteristics of our Heavenly Father, we know that He is both merciful and righteous. When He is righteous, it means He will judge us for all we have done. When He is merciful, it means He pardons us and forgives us of our iniquities. Due to both His nature of mercy and righteousness, plus His great love for His creation, He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins, and thus opening a way for salvation.

Thus in the Bible, there is this tug of war between mercy and judgment. Perhaps we can say at the beginning when we have faith in Jesus and are baptized in His Name for the remission of sins, it is purely the mercy of God. However, once we believed and now become His children, we are likened to the chosen people of Israel in the past. Reading their history, we know that God has countless of times shown longsuffering mercy to them, but that did not diminished the requirement of punishing them for their iniquities. God has also chastised them many times and brought calamities, pestilences and death to them for their disobedience.

God requires of us these:

“Be holy, for I am holy.”(1 Pet 1:16)

“Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” (Mt 5:48)

How many of us or anyone can claim to be perfect and claim to be holy? We know that God is perfect and holy, but as our Father, He expects His children to be so too. Man was after all born in the image of God.

If God today were to judge us, are we able to stand before Him? Have we confessed all our wrongs to Him during our prayers? Have we fully repented or have we even ignored His warnings and chastisements?

For these reasons, although all these years as believer I have improved in certain ways and have sacrificed more for the Lord, but there are chinks in this perfection that is always in want. I dare not call this Almighty God my Father but always refer to Jesus instead for I always feel unworthy to be His Son. To be His Son, we have to be perfect just like Jesus for Jesus is the model of this perfect Son of God.

However, this verse that says mercy triumphs over judgment gives me comfort; a comfort that despite the shortfall to His standards, there is a go for salvation. With the dwelling and renewal of the Holy Spirit and the partaking of the Holy Communion, God’s intention is that our spiritual life is being renewed true confession of our mistakes before this Almighty Judge; that through daily reflection and renewal, we can bridge the gap between imperfection and perfection. Perfection through the justified of faith that though physically we may not be able to achieve His standards, but spiritually He bridges this shortfall through our understanding of our weaknesses and our fear of Him. My take is as long as I am humble to Him and always examining myself and confessing to Him, by His mercy, and solely His mercy, I will receive salvation at the Last Day.

What is your take?

 

4 comments on “James 2
  1. We are His sons, not His Son. But we can/must call Him Father because we are taught to do so in the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6) and because we become His children when we are baptised, later sealed with His Holy Spirit (Galatians 4:6). Humility is always good but not acknowledging one’s Father is perhaps a hidden sin.

  2. I would not say i do not acknowledge God as our Father as the Holy Spirit bears testimony that I am His child.

    It is when prayer to Him, I feel it is hard to call Him my Father as I always feel unworthy; whenever I read more of the word of God, the more I feel that I have fallen short of His standard. I have referred Him Lord or Lord Jesus. Perhaps my relationship with Him has been kept between like a servant to Master relationship and have not transcended to a child to parent relationship. Or perhaps I have been too harsh on myself and expect too high a standard. Will pray about it.

    Also, I have been pondering for quite a while. Perhaps I have reached a cross road in spiritual faith where everything is compromised (or rather there needs to be a balance). Family, career and church. Although career in my opinion has always been the backstage (hardly doing any OTs), family time and commitment versus doing church work has been a conflict for a while. I have always wondered, have I done enough for the Lord and if I could do more, in what ways could I contribute more. How do we know if we have done what the Lord requires of us, if let say tomorrow is the end of the world?

  3. God is first merciful, then just, and a lot of people like to take advantage of His grace and mercy, just because they feel that no matter what deeds they commit, God will still be infinitely merciful and willing to forgive and forget at the end of the day and welcome everyone back into His arms because we are all His beloved children.

    People need to realize that the limit to mercy is justice. And God is the epitome of justice. Most times, with justice, comes no room for mercy.
    Do not make mistakes for the sake of testing God.
    What good can come out of it?

    Sacrifice your sin, and all that you have hidden from the world, but never from God, and be be sanctified once again, so that your being may be constantly renewed.

  4. Biblereader – you and I have similar thinking, hence it’s hard to understand the balance of family vs church work sometimes, but i’m sure many parents devoted to the Lord also share such internal conflict. However as a mother, it is more assumed that I should stay at home to look after kids, while it might be tradition to think the woman should free the man to go out to work, be it office work or church work. Therefore some mothers encourage each other that we are training the next batch of workers for God. I wouldn’t call what you say as a compromise of faith, but a stage of life. Perhaps comparing to singles or couples without children, they do a lot more divine work than young parents with young children. But faith is not necessarily measured by how much church work you do; i think its more appropriate to consider how much love we give, and how much Christ affects our life. Yet having said that, we could never have done enough for Christ and we should always strive to do more.

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