Sunday, September 15, 2013

Leftovers from James 1:5-18

The following is a list of some thoughts that were in my study notes this week, but didnt make it into the sermon. These are just the notes as I typed them during my study, they don't include any editing or contextual clarification.

  • there appears to be a minor chiasm of sorts here. Bookended by all-inclusive references, the man being tempted is contrasted by a generous God and the doubter is contrasted with the one who remains steadfast. Also the lowly and rich are addressed in the same train of thought.
  • "remains" is a time word. The idea is not one moment of withstanding the trial, but continual commitment to respond appropriately to an on-going trial
  • "when tempted" -- if we have not properly prepared ourselves for trials, we will have a difficult time withstanding temptation when it comes
  • from above -- good and perfect gifts are from above. not from below. not from here. we are incapable of giving good and perfect gifts. we give ok gifts, but never perfect.
  • In the midst is encouragement to the lowly because they are learning wisdom. and a warning to the rich, because their lesson is easily missed.
  • God's sovereignty/control is critical. James' entire argument is based on the assumption that God is in control.Secondarily, God's nature is critical. If God is loving and the giver of good gifts, then we can naturally respond to trials as prescribed by James.
  • Theology of blessing vs. Health and wealth theology. The health and wealth paradigm is attacked particularly in verse 11 where wealth and earthly gain is shown to be fleeting. PERISHABLE REWARDS SHOULD NEVER BE THE PRIMARY MOTIVATION FOR CHRISTIANS.
  • The gospel is the news of God's best gift... salvation. "Of his own will he brought us forth... as firstfruits of his creatures." Because of this gift, we have been restored to our original relationship with God. He has brought us out of the category of condemned and into the category of child.
  • Life is full of struggle. Struggle, rightly responded to, is OPPORTUNITY. Struggle is the path to wisdom (if you don't doubt). Doubt is the unwillingness to believe God is capable of turning struggle into success
  • Every Christian can avoid and defeat temptation by embracing struggle as a good gift from a generous God.

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