Chapter 9 Criteria to Being Saved Part 2
James 2:10-18 NLTse For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws. (11) For the same God who said, “You must not commit adultery,” also said, “You must not murder.” So if you murder someone but do not commit adultery, you have still broken the law. (12) So whatever you say or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law that sets you free. (13) There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you. (14) What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? (15) Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, (16) and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”–but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? (17) So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. (18) Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”
It is pretty common knowledge throughout the Christian community that everyone has broken the law in one way or another. Most of Christianity agrees that, everyone is guilty under the law, and we need Jesus’ sacrifice to set us free from the law. In some cases that means, we need Jesus to avoid that judgment process. Other Christians believe we all face some type of judgment and we need Jesus to stand in our place. That is pretty much splitting hairs. We may be spending too much time nit picking a process we really don’t understand. A process many people are afraid to investigate. The judgment process we would just as soon place on the back burner, or put in a closet and forget about it. But here, we will look at a few key statements to see what scripture reveals. Then one day we may know enough about that judgment process to tell the world about how and why God needs that judgment process in His plan of salvation.
It seems every Christian religion, and many other religions in the world agree, there is a judgment process. The problem is, when it comes to describing that process step by step, every religion and denomination branches out in different directions. Why? Maybe because God didn’t include a step by step explanation in any of the books in the Bible. Or did He? If we look back in history, we can see how many beliefs we take for granted today have been missed, or hidden for generations. If nothing else, change is slow in the Christian world. If we look back in the Old Testament at stories about Israel, no one can deny the fact, they forgot details faster than Moses or God could explain them. It is like watching the news with someone. Then making a comment about a news story and the other person has no idea what you are talking about. You just watched the same story together, but the other person has no recollection of that story. Why? Maybe that story didn’t interest them. Maybe they had something else on their mind. Maybe their mind is never in tune to what is in front of them.
In the Christian world, people seem to tune out the second they hear anything new. They seem to come across someone, or some book, video, or set of doctrines they agree with and follow that train of thought like a run away freight train. No one is going to stop them. They take that mentality with them everywhere. Even to the grave. Whenever a word is spoken that doesn’t fit the groove they live in, they shut down, reject it, and their mind refocuses on what they agree with. How are we ever going to unravel the mysteries surrounding the judgment process if we are stuck in a rut we made by going over the same two or three details we heard years ago? We have to make use of the judgment process Paul told us to use. We have to investigate the matter. We have to dig deep. We have to be ready for the Holy Spirit to reveal the unknown. We have to be ready for any new information the world is ready for in this generation. Which just may be the last generation on this planet. If we’ve not open to new information God is willing to share, how are we supposed to help get this world ready for the judgment process that is about to come?
James brings out the fact, we should have a lot of questions whenever we approach the subject of God’s judgment. Look at one sentence James was inspired to record. “ So whatever you say or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law that sets you free.” Looking at this one sentence should invoke a question or two. For one, how can a law that judges you set you free? I know there must be 1000 explanations out there in the world. But like that judgment process, which one is right? How do we begin to investigate it? This is my book, so I am going to follow a process I’m familiar with, and I’ve seen work. The first thing I do is go back to the original language. I prefer to get as close to the original sentence the author recorded. I know a lot of people like to open up a number of Bible translations until they find one they agree with. Then they run with that. The only reason I never use that method is because, I know all I will get is a bunch of opinions on the subject. One translator thinks it says this. Another translator thinks it says that. After opening up a number of translations, all you get is a collection of opinions. No one offers any explanations explaining how and why they came up with their particular translation. On the other hand, when we look at the KJV+, we get something close to the original sentence structure. And few changes to the original words. Of course the English sentence structure is far different than original Greek sentence structure. But we have to remember, God inspired the Bible and knows how to construct a sentence that can and will be understood by every language in the generation He chooses to reveal its spiritual meaning. Now let’s look at the KJV+ version.
Jas 2:12 SoG3779 speakG2980 ye, andG2532 soG3779 do,G4160 asG5613 they that shall beG3195 judgedG2919 byG1223 the lawG3551 of liberty.G1657
When we look at what James was inspired to record, we see the simple message that happens to be much like the old saying, “actions speak louder than words.” It may also be explained by another old saying, “do what you say and say what you do.” In other words, James is telling Christians not only to talk the talk, but walk the walk. We see the same message in other stories throughout the Bible, as well as a lot of common cliches used in this world.
This world would be a far better place if people were honest. How to we obtain that honesty? We basically follow the laws and threat people like we want to be treated. We don’t steal, lie, or scam. In other words, we live a life outside the commonly traveled highway of this world.
What about going back to the basics in the area of law? Why don’t we follow God’s simple Ten Commandments? Why does this world have Christian leaders and followers who oppose God’s Ten Commandments by telling people, “the law was made only for the Jews. The law was nailed to the cross, “ and other such terms? Why do people insist we have been delivered from the Ten Commandments and all of God’s laws and ordinances without any type of judgment process whatsoever? If James, John, Paul, and other Bible authors discussed God’s law and the part it plays in God’s pan of salvation, why do some people insist all of God’s laws have been swept under the rug and have nothing to do with any judgment process? That doesn’t make any sense. Not by any stretch of the imagination.
I believe God gives us explanations to some of these difficult questions by putting us through certain experiences in life. I wish I could come up with a list of examples showing how people walk the walk and talk the talk. There are some good people out there who are good Christians, would never hurt a fly, would give you the shirt off their back, and would stop at nothing to help a stranger. They live life without fear, and don’t seem to have a care in the world. Those type of people are few and far between. Then there is the dark world we call reality. The cold, cruel world we call home. We see examples of people living without God’s law because someone told them that law is old fashion. We don’t need it anymore. God just doesn’t understand how this world works anymore. So we have to fashion our own laws, republic, democracy, way of living, and refine this world based on experience. In other words, try to exist without God. The world doesn’t hear God anymore because in their minds, God and His laws are past history. Or something like that. So let’s take a look at how this world has done on their own.
At this particular time the federal government in the US is shut down. Most of us can’t tell the difference. No one knows for sure exactly how many people are out of work, or how much money the government is saving. All we know is what the news media chooses to tell us. We are like sheep led to slaughter. But let’s take a look at what is on the news and dig a little deeper with some good old fashion common sense.
Federal employees have been without a pay check for one month. Many can’t pay their bills, and have no idea where their next meal is coming from. Some are afraid of loosing their homes. That’s the facts we hear on the news. But what is happening behind the scenes? Congress is going over a number of Bills to chose one to sign into law that would pay those federal employees, even though they didn’t work. I wish we all had those kinds of benefits. Those federal employees have access to the same unemployment benefits the rest of us have. But the federal employees interviewed by the news media call unemployment benefits, “peanuts.” They are unable to live on funds Congress and other agencies claim is more than enough for the common person to live on. Millions of tax dollars have been spent to set up food pantries for federal employees. Another special benefit the rest of us don’t enjoy. As far as having their homes foreclosed. Check the laws. Most state have laws that requires the lender to wait a number of months before they can file the first set of papers in court. Then there is another waiting period. Followed by another waiting period. During that time that could take more than a year, people can make up the payments. The rest of us have to figure that situation out on our own. But Congress feels a need to step in and lend a helping hand the rest of us will never see.
Now consider the fact, most of those federal employees make more money than the rest of us could ever dream about. With all that money, why don’t they have any savings? This is not the first time the federal government has shut down. Nor will it be the last. We are supposed to believe the federal government hired the top people to do a job the rest of us are unqualified to do. They are supposed to be the cream of the crop. The best of the best. The best in the world. People who are impossible to replace. People who keep this country running in tip top shape with the highest degree of efficiency. And those people have no savings. They make far more money than the rest of us, and they can’t plan for an event that happens every few years. That is sad. If they were as good as they claim they are, why don’t they have companies climbing over one another to hire them? At least for a little while. Why can’t they get a job in the private sector to hold them over during the shut down?
We see one set of laws for federal employees, and another set of laws for the rest of us. In short, this is one example showing what happens when God and His laws are rejected, and humans think they can write a better set of laws.
Other, more personal events also showed how man made laws, and a lack of better judgment can and will effect people. I just started a new business in Wisconsin. The state elected a new governor. The governor ran on the platform, he needed to raise taxes to fix the state school system. A brief look at his history shows, he was in charge of that school system for more than 16 years. The thing that gets me is, why would anyone elect a governor to fix a system he says does not work? A system he designed, installed, and spent more money on than other branch of government or government project. Over the past 16 years Tony Evers has caused the greatest increases in property taxes than anyone else in government. Check out your property tax bill. The school system is a separate line item and has the greatest increases during those 16 years when Evers ran the school system.
If you took your car to a mechanic and he broke more things on the car, and never fixed the original problem, would you give that mechanic more time and money to fix your car? Or would you take that car to another mechanic? It seems voters either have no common sense, or are easily fooled. We have to admit, there wasn’t much of a choice in the final election, but why don’t tax payers do something about it?
On one level of government we have changes to make it easier for people to start new businesses. Another branch of government sees how businesses are due to save money and devise ways or draining those savings and more. On the business level, the start up cost, fees I had to pay to the state just about doubled. That cut into my budget. Those fees will cut into every company budget. In the long run, common sense will tell us, good businesses will have a training plan in place. Why not consider the fact, on the job training is the best education system this world has to offer. But when government cuts into any business budget, what is bound to suffer? In many cases, training programs suffer. That’s the type of mind set we have to deal with in the real world when the average voter is duped into electing carrier politicians. It happens every time.
Would you take your car to a mechanic with no experience, no training, and no idea where to begin? People do that in voting booths. Running government, especially a government the size we have to contend with is a lot like running a business. People have to be hired, supervised, trained, and plans have to be made, scrutinized, and finally initiated. All those steps require skills carrier politicians don’t have. But people keep putting all that power in their hands. The mistakes they make cost billions of dollars. Just raise taxes to make up for those mistakes. People accept that type of behavior as status quo. Electing unqualified politicians is normal operating procedure and nothing is going to change. Just blame all the mistakes on the other party.
So far this new plan for Wisconsin has cost me a boat load of money. And will cost me more. In the long run, who suffers? Plans to hire people are on hold. Other entities I have to deal with jumped on the band wagon of grabbing the golden ring – the federal tax deduction offered to small businesses. Every entity involved in my line of work has raised their fees and added new fees. So much for a bright and strong beginning. Every business is in the same boat. The common mentality is, if government can do it and get away with it, why can’t we grad a piece of the pie?
That mentality is a far cry from what James wrote about, treat others like you would like to be treated. Our government sets a rather poor example. People in high places don’t argue the point. They take the cue government gives them, jump on the bandwagon and ride it all the way to the bank. Always taking more and more. Is that all that makes America strong is a good bottom line at the end of the year measured in dollars? Whatever happened to good old fashion integrity, honor, valor, and common sense? We live under the mentality of, “everyone does it.” Getting back to God’s law. We may have the freedom to elect the worst people and put them in higher positions. But all the votes in the world are not going to change one letter of God’s law. Not one of them. Politicians may be able to hide their mistakes from the average voter. But they will never be able to hide one backroom deal or sin from God. Eventually they will have to answer for the errors of their ways. What about the responsibility of the average voter? Aren’t they somehow responsible for the mess we are in? Do they share responsibility for those sins carrier politicians make? Didn’t Paul or Peter write something about that subject? I’m not sure at this point.
There are other lessons I had to learn in life. Why it took me over six years is beyond me. There were reasons why I was trapped in certain situations, but the lessons didn’t go unnoticed. It doesn’t matter what line of business I was in. The fact of the matter is, there is no reason to point fingers. Except at myself for being so foolish. The number one lesson is, no one is going to help you. You have to learn to help yourself. Isn’t that the lesson Jesus taught when He healed the paralyzed man at the pool? Jesus asked the man what he was doing there. The man answered with a list of excuses. “I can’t, sir,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.” (John 5:7 NLTse). Why didn’t the man have the faith to ask God for healing, or ask Jesus to heal him? It seems the man was stuck on the idea, everyone else believes that pool can heal me.
We all use excuses to hold us back. But one day, the Holy Spirit tells us to get up and walk out of that dismal situation. The thing is, if we don’t learn from those less than fortunate situations, we are doomed to repeat them. And those are mistakes I don’t want to repeat.
I worked for an employer who stole all my leads. At least those he knew about and was able to act upon. I was paid strictly commission. On top of that, I had to pay some rather steep company fees. Some of those fees offset operating expenses. Some of those fees went into profit for the company. The fact of the matter was, part of the commission went to the company and I received a share. All the leads went through the office. In six years, I didn’t receive a single lead from that office. I had my own website, but a few choice rules funneled all those leads through the office. I spent time and money on my personal website only to find out, the vast majority of leads went strait to the office, and I was cut out of the loop. That is only one of the dirty little secrets some companies have.
In hindsight it seems rather foolish to pay someone to take away your means of income. Praise the LORD I had just enough funds to pay the never ending list of fees to get out of that mess and start a business of my own. Before that happened, I switched offices and worked for another company. It was rather short lived. I thought I endured an isolated incident. Quite the contrary was true. Using a different motive and process, the new company began stealing leads, and clients. Leaving me with fewer and fewer chances of making a sale and earning a living.
I’m sure that happens in a number of businesses. I’m sure other people have experienced similar situations. The point is. Companies and certain business fields make laws and regulations the rest of us have to try to live with. In the long run, they are laws and rules that create different classes. The haves, and have nots. People who can and will take advantage of those laws, and those who suffer at their hands. Nothing at all like God’s law was designed to protect. Maybe that is what James had in mind when he called God’s law, “the law of liberty.” Maybe if we gave that law a chance, we would see a far friendlier world.