My brethren, these things ought not to be this way." . “If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?” (James 2:15–16). Writes the wise man of Proverbs 15:4: A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit. From his assumed security he had pronounced six devastating maledictions. Notice the power of James’s own words. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how James described those who do not offend others with their words. The spiritual masters of the past understood this to have a double reference. It is from such a hell that destructive words arise. “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one” (James 1:13). “My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins” (James 5:19–20). . . . If the mastery of the tongue is a sign of maturity, it is so for all Christians. In James 3:3–5, James uses two commonplace but very vivid illustrations. Alas, we do not realize how powerful for evil the tongue is because we are so accustomed to its polluting influence. The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious; I turned not backward. I sometimes wonder if this is a distinctively evangelical sin. The young Jonathan Edwards penned a number of his Resolutions around this theme. [child-]training.”. As is well known, in his early days as a reformer, Martin Luther thought that James was “an epistle full of straw”: In sum the gospel and the first epistle of St. John, St. Paul’s epistles, especially those to the Romans, Galatians, and Ephesians; and St. Peter’s first epistle, are the books that show Christ to you. One might think here of the ease of speech but emptiness of weighty words in the life of John Bunyan’s Mr. Talkative. He who thinks well, or he who talks well, is not wise in the sense of the Scripture, if he does not live and act well. Was this the place to which our Lord’s body would have been taken were it not for the thoughtfulness of Joseph of Arimathaea? What is your life? James 1:8 - What does it mean to be double-minded (James 4:8)? We have all seen or caused moments like this. This is a wonderful statement. James 3:10. (Isaiah 50:4–6). We find that this motif runs through the entire book. Whether suddenly or slowly, life is eaten away and destroyed. Rather it may be the questions people ask when you leave the room. This passage continues James's big idea that faith and works go together. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Now he realizes that the last and climactic woe must be pronounced against — himself! 16) Resolved: To sing praises to God whenever I am cheerful. Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord” (James 5:14). The doors closed, and I suspect everyone in the elevator almost instantaneously had the same thought: “She has been smoking!” In this confined “smoke-free” environment her breath could not be disguised. He would later think better of it. As the doors open at my floor and I step out, someone will occasionally call, “You have an accent. Why does James speak this way? In one year's time the average person's words would fill 132 books, each containing 400 pages! For a judicious assessment, see Dan G. McCartney, James, BECNT [Baker Academic, 2009] on 3:1–12). He blurts out fragmentary details of his vision of the Holy One of Israel (the title that hereafter will be his preferred way of describing the Lord). But its power, both for good and for ill, is out of all proportion to its size. James 3:10, NASB: "from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. It is from within, “out of the heart,” that the mouth speaks (compare with Matthew 12:34; 15:18–19). 11) Resolved: To never boast in what I will accomplish. All this is part of the grand vision of Isaiah’s Servant Songs (so influential in Jesus’ own reception of God’s Word). James may well have been familiar with this picture from common experience in … Is there more to this than meets the eyes? . As the heart hears with open ears the Word of God again and again, it is renewed and begins to produce a transformed tongue. If we ask how this was true in his life, the answer is found in the third Servant Song: The Lord God has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary. NKJV, Chronological Study Bible: Holy Bible, New King James Version, NKJV, Bride's Bible, Leathersoft, White, Red Letter, Comfort Print: Holy Bible, New King James Version. It is an “ought not to be,” like a spring that spouts forth both fresh and salt water. But in fact there is — if we will only stay with James long enough to hear it. NKJV, Ancient-Modern Bible, Comfort Print: One faith. are you?” That is surely a parable of what it is possible for the people of God to become in the way we use our tongues, as by God’s grace we learn to speak with a Jesus-like accent. Invite a student to read aloud James 3:2–4 and the first sentence of James 3:5. “Where does he come from?” “Do you know where she belongs?”. James 3:10-11. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. The most important single aid to my ability to use my tongue for the glory of Jesus is allowing the Word of God to dwell in me so richly that I cannot speak with any other accent. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Then you need to understand that he is Savior first, and then he is Example. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. Now he goes on to show that (3) spiritual maturity is evidenced by the use of the tongue. Cancel. He draws attention to a fourth characteristic as the analysis now rises to a crescendo of exposure: No human being can tame the tongue. So, says Jesus, the tongue projects the thoughts and intentions of the heart. En route to give this address, I rode the hotel elevator with several others. Click a link to see an entire chapter. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Temptation, and therefore spiritual compromise, often find their easiest access route to the heart via the eyes. The young desk clerk could find no reservation under his name. In fact, this is one of James’s burdens also. It is blatant hypocrisy, double-mindedness, and sin to bless God and then casually curse those who have been made as his very likeness. James 1:12 - What are the five heavenly crowns that believers can receive in Heaven? Too many Christians fall into the trap of believing that God gives regeneration and justification, but then we are essentially left to our own efforts to do the rest. he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (James 1:5–8). Our only hope as we pursue the discipline of self that leads to mastery of the tongue is that we are Christ’s and that we are being made increasingly like him. So James sees that the tongue is an instrument of extraordinary power, out of all proportion to its size. Guarding the heart involves guarding the tongue. And . James 1:12, 22-24 - What does the Bible say about perseverance? He was silent because of every word that has proceeded from your lips; because of every word that provides adequate reason for God to damn you for all eternity, because you have cursed him or his image. Which is not only a contradiction, but unnatural, as well as wicked and sinful: my brethren, these things ought not so to be: in any, and much less in professors of religion: such things are unbecoming men, are a scandal upon human nature, and exceeding … “Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. Why should we hesitate before becoming a teacher? First a repetition of the saying in brief expressive combination, by which the accent is placed on αὐτοῦ. We live in a created order marred by sin. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. 7) Resolved: To never stand on anyone’s face with words that demean, despise, or cause despair. It is more contradictory than anything we find in nature, like a fig tree bearing olives, a grapevine producing figs, a salt pond yielding fresh water. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. James often treats the matter of incongruity and shows that one cannot do two contradictory matters at the same time (cp. Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? The “venom of asps” is under the lips of sinners, “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive” (Romans 3:13; Psalm 5:9). James walks in their footprints. But notice carefully how God regenerates us: “Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creation.” Regeneration is a sovereign work of God, yes; but it does not ordinarily take place in a vacuum. Being “afflicted,” therefore, with an “accent,” brief elevator rides — and the usual brief conversations that ensue there often give me a certain mischievous pleasure. James 3:1–12 is a veritable pathology laboratory in which analysis and diagnosis take place. 2 Peter 3:10-13. A Restless Evil (verse 8). He seemed to be able to tell a great deal about our health by looking into our mouths. Change Language {{#items}} {{local_title}} “Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away” (James 1:9–10). He was willing to be “oppressed and afflicted.” As he experienced this in his trial and condemnation, “he opened not his mouth” (Isaiah 53:7). Yet such a capacious and heavy vessel was directed simply by a turn of the rudder! 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18. James 3:10-11 NIV. He is able to answer that prayer, and its companion petition: “Be of sin the double cure, cleanse me from its guilt and power.”. At the end of the day, that is what spiritual maturity looks like — or better, sounds like — because of the transformation of our use of the tongue. King James Version (KJV) “Is anyone among you sick? Our tongues are so often the most obvious index of that ungodly drive at the center of our being. You are our most prominent and most eloquent preacher.”, I think I hear Isaiah say in response, “You do not understand. I. (Read James 3:13-18) These verses show the difference between men's pretending to be wise, and their being really so. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Presumably out of both biblical knowledge and personal experience. It is nowhere more starkly illustrated than in the experience of Isaiah. But that was my guilt. I am reminded of the old cowboy-and-Indian movies my parents used to take me to when I was a child. James uses the biblical term Gehenna — the background reference being to the Valley of Hinnom on the southern outskirts of Jerusalem. The prophet meets with the exalted God whose majestic presence seems to flood the temple. If the pen is mightier than the sword, it is equally true that we can kill a man as easily with the words we use as with a physical weapon (Matthew 5:21–22). My brethren, these things ought not to be so. from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. Of course, all this is naturally true of the unregenerate man. I am a wretched man! Why was Jesus silent? 13) Resolved: To never grumble, knowing that the Judge is at the door. Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water. Morning by morning he awakens; he awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught. James 3:10. Since it involves having our eyes opened to see the kingdom of God (John 3:3), God ordinarily regenerates us in the context of the truth of the gospel illuminating our minds. Indeed, whenever there is such analysis in the New Testament letters there is ordinarily practical counsel written into the teaching itself. The Christians he is writing to are struggling and their struggles have led them to be tempted to even question God's presence, care, and activity in their lives. Remember that imagery whenever similar words seek to force their way out of your mouth. (From Luther’s 1522 preface [to the New Testament], cited from Martin Luther, Selections from his Writings, [Doubleday, 1962], 19. I have the privileged status of being a resident alien in the United States. In this connection it is salutary to remember the thrust of Paul’s most basic and powerful presentation of our need for the gospel. Specifically, that what one does (or says) proves what they really believe. 3: 10-12). A seminary colleague once told me how, because of flight delays, he arrived late and very weary at a hotel where he had booked a room. Guarding the eyes implied guarding eyes in the heart as well as in the head. To apply Job’s principle to our present subject, we need to learn to say, “I will make a covenant with my tongue.”. God’s Word sanctifies us. He does so in a series of six woe pronouncements (Isaiah 5:8, 11, 18, 20, 21, 22). And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. 3) Resolved: To set a watch over my mouth. Sanctification in any area of our lives always expresses this double dimension — a putting off and a putting on, as it were. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything . Version. The tongue is “set among our members, staining the whole body.” How careful you are as you put on a dress for a wedding, especially if it is your own. What comes out of our mouths is usually an accurate index of the health of our hearts. 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