Friday, December 24, 2010

numero deux

james 2.

vs. 1-13
james speaks mostly on the sin of partiality here. but though he mainly addressed the judgment of the rich vs. the poor, i don't think that's where the sin ends. he contrasts the sin of partiality with the law that says "you shall love your neighbor as yourself". therefore, it seems that the ignorance of this law produces and is evidence of partiality. then there are many ways that i can NOT love my neighbor that have nothing to do with their state of finances. and when i do this i am no longer speaking or acting as "those who are to be judged under the law of liberty", but living as though we have not all been given the same mercy; that in some way i deserve it more than my neighbor. hence the last verse: "for judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. mercy triumphs over judgment".
this statement should bring us joy. it should fill us with thanks and humility because it means that God allowed His grace and mercy on us to triumph over our sin.
why, then, does it not instill in me this attitude toward my fellow sinners? why, then, do i have such a hard time granting mercy rather than placing judgment? my pride has convinced me that my sin is not so great. that i was easier to forgive and show mercy to than my neighbor. how twisted.

vs. 14
"what good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith, but does not have works? can that faith save him?"

what's the answer to that question? what kind of faith does not produce work?

"so also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead." (vs. 17)

is dead faith saving faith? can dead faith save us? save me? is it still counted as faith?

some questions i've been thinking about.

Love, krystal.

1 comment:

  1. i think james' answer to that question, "can that faith save him?" is a resounding "no!". i think it can be taken from this passage that james thinks faith without works isn't faith. they're a package deal.

    i've heard of human event professors coming to this passage to prove the inconsistency of the Bible, more specifically in view of Pauline theology. but i think that's a misguided reading of the text. i've thought about this passage in terms of an analogy:

    when a man buys flowers for his wife on a special occasion (assuming that his wife likes flowers), he's communicating his love for her. however, it's not the actual flowers, with their pollen, leaves, etc, that the wife's her husband’s love. so although the actual flowers are unwanted, without them the husband could not communicate his love. so the flowers are necessary in order to communicate his love but they're not actually what's wanted. in other words, love that is uncommunicated is not love at all. love must be communicated before it becomes authentic love. there is no other way. so, to bring this back...we are made right before God by our faith (pauline theology), but faith that remains uncommunicated (i.e. by works) cannot be authentic faith any more than a man can love his wife without ever doing anything for her. if we ever see a man like that, we immediately know he doesn't love his wife. yet many intelligent people (e.g. human event profs) still get hung up on the faith versus works thing...