Guidelines to Faith

MEMORY SELECTION: “To him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” —James 4:17

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: James 4:1-10, 13-17

OUR lesson seems to be directed toward Christian conduct rather than as a guide to an increase in faith. Faith as a quality of character is developed by experiences, by seeing the outworking of God’s purposes in our lives.

The Bible also speaks of faith in the sense of a system of tenets or doctrines. For example, in Jude 3 we read, “It was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” The Apostle Paul speaks of this system of faith as “a plan of the ages, which he [God] formed for the anointed Jesus our Lord; … For this cause, I bend my knees to the Father, … that the anointed One, through the faith, may dwell in your hearts; that being rooted in love and well-established, you may be fully able to understand with all the saints, what is the breadth and length, and depth, and height, to know even that which surpasses knowledge—the love of the anointed One; so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”—Eph. 3:11,14,17-19, Diaglott

In the previous study we learned that this kind of knowledge is wisdom from above and is the gift of God through the enlightenment of the mind by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Those who have been blessed with this knowledge of God and something of his plans and purposes are required to walk uprightly according to the truth of the Gospel (the faith). (Gal. 2:14) This manner of Christian conduct is the center of our lesson in James the 4th chapter.

In verse 3 the apostle states, “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” We are informed by the Lord’s Word that when we come into Christ we are “new creatures [a new creation]; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (II Cor. 5:17) This means that we should have a new point of view and new values. Whereas before we were self-centered and all our efforts were directed toward satisfying the desires of the flesh, now we are to be selfless; that is, we are no longer to express our individual preferences or desires except when they are in harmony with the Heavenly Father’s will.

The apostle states in verse 4, “Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” This statement recognizes the very important principle that Satan is the god of this world. (II Cor. 4:4; John 14:30) And since Satan is the marshal of the forces of evil, he and all who love his arrangement are enemies of God. Jesus said, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”—John 15:18,19

Because of the enmity between the Christian and the world, the flesh, and the Devil, the followers of Christ claim no continuing city here, but seek one to come, a heavenly city. (Heb. 13:14)

In verses 5,6 we are admonished concerning the very necessary Christian grace of humility. The Apostle Paul wrote of Jesus, our Pattern, “Let this disposition be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, though being in God’s form, yet did not meditate a usurpation to be like God, but divested himself, taking a bondman’s form, having been made in the likeness of men … becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. And therefore God supremely exalted him.”—Phil. 2:5-9, Diaglott

True humility results from a proper appraisal of one’s self after being given a mental vision of the glory and majesty of the Creator. A humble condition of heart and mind is a prerequisite to being teachable. Pride, on the other hand, suggests a closed mind and one that has not fully accepted the headship of Christ. And therefore the Apostle James says that “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.”—vs. 6

As a final admonition in our lesson, the apostle states, “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”—vs. 17

Dawn Bible Students Association
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