Friday, January 22, 2010

James 1:16-27 (ESV)
Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. [17] Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. [18] Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
[19] Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; [20] for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness that God requires. [21] Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
[22] But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. [23] For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. [24] For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. [25] But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
[26] If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless. [27] Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

“Be doers of the word… “ Doers of the word. You can’t be doers of the Gospel. But you can be keepers or doers of the law. We need to recognize this right off. James tells us to be doers of the word, later he talks about the law of liberty. We are free. The Christian is free. The law holds no power over Him. Insofar as we keep God’s law, we do so as a manifestation of the love of Christ that is in us. We don’t do it for any other reason than love, love that has been given to us. We still do so imperfectly. But we in the love of Christ, these imperfections are overlooked, forgiven etc. they become good works when we aren’t looking. Insofar as we are doers of the word, it is Christ in us.


Rev. Daniel Robert Skillman said...

In Christ, we are doers of the word. Our lives are transformed. That which was impossible under the bare Torah is made possible and actual in the Spirit. The Trinitarian revelation in the death and resurrection of Jesus opens up a whole new world to us. It is our forgiveness, and where there is forgiveness of sins there is also life and salvation. In our union with Christ by way of water and the word, we are no longer in Adam. We are in the One who is holy, and we are counted as holy just as he is holy. We begin a new life in which we are indeed doers of the word, because that is what life is. The word is life and has life in Himself. That word now dwells in the Christian and the Christian dwells in the word.

Good post, Pastor.
In Christ,

Steve Martin said...

So, we are fully doers...even as we are not doers.

Simul iustes et peccator?

Frank Sonnek said...

Luther, in his commetary on galatians says that word "free" means that the new man would keep right on doing righteousness even if there were no rules or laws.

The new man in us is free from needing the prodings of the law to completely and willingly do god´s is what free means.

of course the old adam in us we had as pagans and now as new men continues to stick to us like smelly oook we stepped in, is still under the Full condemnation of the law and is still a slave to the law. This is why it is a fact that all men will die.

Frank Sonnek said...

Steve . it looks like this:

as 100% old adam pagans, God pleasing , HS/Law driven, visible works were produced.

The confessions call this visible righteousness necessary.

They are necessary ONLY because eartly life would be impossible without it. Everything listed you SEE and i listed in the 1st article and 4th petition of Luther´s Catechism.

In the believer the old adam we were still continues exactly as before. HS driving works with law.

Along side now, christ-in-us now eagerly cranking out the SAME visible righteousness as the Old Adam. Very very feebly so. (cf Rom 7) but now without aforethought. by nature, like light from sun.

So what does being a christian look like in terms of god pleasing visible works?

Since the only difference is an invisible one inside and the works are the same it looks looks like this:

A believer could look identical to a visibly righteous pagan, or,,, he could resemble a very very UNrighteous pagan who now, for some invisible reason, is invisibly struggling inside himself to say amen to the work of the Holy Spirit.

The HS is busy applying law to his Old Adam to make works, just as the HS was doing to his old adam even before his rebirth in baptism.

Frank Sonnek said...

The important thing to note is that simul justus does not need to be made to look like some mysterious thing like it is a paradox .

It IS a deep mystery but not as many would present it. it looks tangled in their hands because they havent took the time to parse FC article VI.

What practical application for instance does the profound gerhard forde statement have that "sanctification is getting used to the idea that we are forgive." how does this answer the question you posed so excellently:

"What do we need to DO to please God and make him happy, and how can we be certain what that is?"

The Lutheran answer DOES provide certainty here.

Most pastors I note don´t answer this question when asked, they think what is being asked is "what do i need to DO to be saved". If a christian is asking this question he is probably clear about the difference.