Tag: James

Living faith lives by Godly wisdom (James 3:13-18)

by on Apr.14, 2011, under Sermon

Wisdom is a matter of good life and good actions (3:13)

If I gave you a series of photographs, and asked you to identify which of these people were ‘wise’ and which not, how do you think you would go?

How do you tell whether or not someone has wisdom? Is it necessary to have knowledge?Is someone with a high IQ ‘wiser’ than someone with a lower IQ? What about practical experience? All of these, I think, would be common definitions of wisdom in the world today.

The first point that James wants to make about wisdom is what it results in:

‘Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.’ (3:13)

Clearly, in James’ day some where claiming to have ‘wisdom’, but were not actually doing anything about it. But is this still a problem today? In his 1986 book Amusing Ourselves to Death, Neil Postman accused the western world of being a bunch of LIARs. Not liars in the sense of not telling the truth (though there may also be substance to such an accusation). Rather, Postman meant that we have a low ‘information-action ratio’ (L. I. A. R).1 Prior to the invention of the telegraph most of what people knew was actionable, relating to their local community, work, neighbours, family etc. However, with the telegraph, radio, modern newspaper, television etc., we are constantly flooded with information that is no relevance to us, makes no difference to the way we live our lives. We make a virtue of being well-informed and knowledgeable, and invent games that allow us to exercise our endless store of trivia. Only a small proportion of what we know ends up being converted into action, and even this is being eroded away as we are exposed to Facebook, Twitter and other technologies that overwhelm us with even more information.

Wisdom without action is as impossible as faith without works.

But what kind of action? Here in this one verse are three ways in which wisdom is demonstrated: (i) the way you live; (ii) the things you do; and (iii) the attitude with which you do both. All three are necessary – miss one and you miss them all! Unless you are living right, then your actions will not carry conviction or credibility. People do not care what you do or say until they can see who you are. Similarly, humility that is not rooted in a good life and good actions is simply an invitation for pity.

This contrasts strongly to the way the world expects people to manifest wisdom. The stereotypical ‘wise’ person is one who, having lived a long time and gained knowledge and experience, now sit around and pontificate, rendering judgment on all and sundry who cross their path. But those qualities – age, knowledge, experience – are all about things that have happened in the past. For James, however, wisdom is about what you do in the present! To be sure, experience will help to build wisdom in you; knowledge will help you to understand your situation and respond accordingly. But it is that response that is all important. Wisdom results in continual action today, not continual reflection on the actions of yesterday.
But James does not stop there, for he wants to make his hearers aware that there are two kinds of ‘wisdom': counterfeit and genuine.

Two Kinds of Wisdom (3:14-18)

How do you spot a fake? The simple answer is by being intimately aware of what the real deal should look like, then closely examining the object in front of you. So if I gave you a $100 note, you would draw on your knowledge of what Australian currency looks like. Perhaps you would even know what some of the distinguishing marks of a hundred dollar note are, and if they are not present, or something else is in their place, you would rightly refuse to accept it. Sometimes it’s obvious; sometimes not. But the better you know the real thing, the easier it will be to spot a fake.

So it is with wisdom. Perhaps someone seems wise, but there are just these one or two things that seem off. Or perhaps you are trying to decide on the wisest course of action, and one seems at first glance to have merit, but when you reflect on it later and it wasn’t really right after all. As one commentator notes, ‘The most natural thing in the world is to think that your own reaction as a Christian is surely of divine origin. If you’re a new Christian, there may be a feeling that because God is with you and he’s for you and you’re doing something right for a change then everything you’re going to say is going to be right. And then you find yourself saying something that is wrong and somebody rebukes you for it.’2 How, then, can we tell the difference between wisdom that is real, and that which is fake? James is very helpful in giving us a couple of major warning signs to watch out for.

Counterfeit wisdom (3:14-16)

The first is what he calls ‘bitter envy’ (3:14). This might be characterised as an action or attitude which seeks to pull others down because of jealousy. This is common in the world today: the student who denigrates their high-performing classmate; the person who speaks ill of the wealthy, all the while wishing they had that wealth; the hypocritical backlash against ‘celebrities’ who don’t live up to standards we ourselves have no intention of heeding.

When considering what you will do and what you will say, then, stop and consider the other people involved. What is your attitude toward them? Are you jealous of what they have or are? Do you resent them? Are you bitter and angry against them? If any of these things are true then, no matter how right or good the action itself is, you need to stop. ‘To the extent that you have bitterness you then and there surrender true righteousness.’3 Any work that grows from the root of bitterness will ultimately bear bitter fruit.

Similarly, James highlights ‘selfish ambition’ (3:14) as a sign of counterfeit wisdom. This happens in the world, of course, but sadly it often finds its way into the church as well. We fight for control, to be proven right, to see our needs met ahead of our brothers’ and sisters’. The worst thing is that we can fool ourselves into thinking that it is ‘right’.

Let me give you an example. At one church it was proposed that the time of the evening service on a Sunday be moved from 7pm to 6pm. This, it was argued, was to allow young families to attend, and still get their kids home to bed at a reasonable hour. Funnily enough, however, the people doing the arguing were – you guessed it – young families, who were doing so because they preferred the style of service that was conducted in the evening. As a result they would not hear the argument put against the idea that many amongst the youth who attended worked during the day on Sundays and would be unable to attend, or to contribute to the service by playing in the band etc., if the time was changed. Can you see that the ‘parties’ in this discussion were, by and large, driven by ‘selfish ambition’?

‘When we fight for power in Christian circles, evil establishes a foothold. When we operate with worldly values, seeking our own honor and status, we even offer Satan an entrance into the house of God! Our actions no longer demonstrate our faith (as throughout ch. 2), but rather show our commitment to the world and its standards of behavior (setting up ch. 4).’4

James says that counterfeit ‘wisdom’ is ‘earthly, unspiritual, of the devil’. This thing that these three descriptions have in common is that they are direct opposites to God. Just like any currency not printed at the mint is counterfeit by definition, the reason that this kind of ‘wisdom’ is counterfeit is that it does not originate from God. God gives good gifts (1:17), but counterfeit wisdom results in ‘disorder and every evil practice’ and is thus clearly not ‘good’ and so not from God.

Genuine Wisdom (3:17-18)

Genuine wisdom, on the other hand, does come from God. And it too, has particular characteristics:

‘But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.’ (3:17)

First and foremost, James says, genuine wisdom is ‘pure’. This is a word that means that it is all of one substance, and has nothing foreign mixed in. Consider what James has said about speech (an aspect of wisdom) earlier in this chapter:

‘Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.’ (3:11–12)

Godly wisdom must not be diluted by triviality or inaction, nor sullied by being mixed with sin through compromise.

The truly wise person is also a lover of peace. This is a strong contrast to the counterfeit wisdom which results in ‘bitter envy and selfish ambition… disorder and every kind of evil practice’ (3:14, 16); genuine wisdom that comes from God seeks to promote peace within the community of God’s people and in the world. Yet, because wisdom is ‘first of all pure’, we know that this peace cannot be achieved at the expense of compromise with sin. Simply avoiding the issue is not wisdom. We must still contend for the truth of the gospel, even where that leads to conflict; the difference between counterfeit and genuine wisdom, though, is that even in the midst of conflict genuine wisdom longs for peace.

The rest of the words James uses in this verse to describe heavenly wisdom are variations on and contributors to the idea of peace.5 Being considerate towards one another is a good way to avoid unnecessary friction. To be submissive is often misunderstood as being a ‘doormat'; whoever wants to can walk all over you as and how they like. But this is not a biblical concept of submission, and conflicts with the stress on purity. In this context, it is better to think of the word as meaning ‘teachable’. The submissive person is willing to admit that they are wrong, and to learn from their mistakes; this, too, is wisdom. This is then complemented by mercy, which is a gracious acknowledgement that others may also be in the wrong. In particular, it means forgiving others who have wronged you. Impartial means not ‘taking sides’ on the basis of friendships or natural affinity or external things such as wealth or social status. This is a point that James made very strongly in chapter 2, as Ted shared with us last week. Finally, James tells us that true wisdom is sincere, a word which might more literally be translated ‘without pretense’ or even ‘without hypocrisy’.6 Once again, these things are barriers to peace within the people of God, for they drive people apart.

‘In essence, peace is the ultimate goal of wisdom, and wisdom only reaches its fullest potential in the midst of peace.’7

James is his own best example of the value of peace in the church, as the picture that we get of him in Acts makes clear. For it is James who chairs the Jerusalem council (Acts 15:13-21), the event above all others that made peace between Jews and Gentiles in the early church.

So the wisdom that comes from heaven is recognised by its purity, and the peace that it brings, in that order. And, just as counterfeit wisdom has its fruit, so too does genuine wisdom. On the one hand, earthly wisdom results in ‘disorder and every evil practice’ (3:16); but of heavenly wisdom James says, ‘Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness’ (3:18).

Trade in your counterfeit for genuine

But what do you do when you detect counterfeit wisdom in yourself or someone else? Well James tells us what not to do: don’t boast about it and don’t try to cover it up (3:14). But what should we do instead? The exact opposite of these two things: repent and confess! And the more you do these things, the more you will find that the gap in time between sin and repentance will shrink until, eventually, you find yourself stopping before you commit the sin. This is genuine wisdom.

Unlike counterfeit currency, it is always possible to trade in counterfeit ‘wisdom’ for the genuine wisdom. Well, ‘trade in’ is not quite right; what you actually do is to throw away the counterfeit, and go to God for the real deal. In chapter 1, James wrote: ‘If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him’ (1:5). Wisdom is a gift that comes from God – and only from God. No matter how much time you spend trying to increase your knowledge, no matter how old or experienced you are, these things will never be transformed into wisdom unless God by his Spirit does the transforming. And so we find we have come full circle to where we started: a wise man or woman demonstrates their wisdom by what they do… and the first thing they do is to ask God for wisdom!

Brothers and sisters, don’t settle for counterfeit ‘wisdom'; go to God for the real thing!

Bibliography

Blomberg, Craig, and Mariam J. Kamell. James, Zondervan Exegetical Commentary Series on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2008.

Kendall, R. T. Justification by Works: How Works Vindicate True Faith, New Westminster Pulpit Series. Waynesboro: Authentic Media, 2001. Reprint, 2005.

Postman, Neil. Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business. 20th anniversary ed. New York, N.Y., U.S.A.: Penguin Books, 2006.


Endnotes

  1. Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business, 20th anniversary ed. (New York, N.Y., U.S.A.: Penguin Books, 2006), 69.
  2. R. T. Kendall, Justification by Works: How Works Vindicate True Faith, New Westminster Pulpit Series (Waynesboro: Authentic Media, 2001; reprint, 2005), 270.
  3. Ibid., 271-2.
  4. Craig Blomberg and Mariam J. Kamell, James, Zondervan Exegetical Commentary Series on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2008), 175.
  5. The ordering here is less likely to be important – in the Greek, the words appear to be grouped in a manner that maximises assonance.
  6. BDAG, “ἀνυπόκριτος”.
  7. Ibid., 177.
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Living faith is persevering obedience (James 1)

by on Jan.09, 2011, under Sermon

It is well known that Martin Luther didn’t think much of James’ Epistle, calling it a ‘right strawy epistle’,1 and arguing that it should be thrown out of the University of Wittenberg where he taught because ‘it doesn’t amount to much’.2 His main criticisms were that James does not emphasise the work of Christ, and appears to teach justification (and hence salvation) by what you do – anathema to the man who spent half a lifetime defending the truth that justification is by faith alone. But are these valid criticisms? It is true that James rarely mentions his brother Jesus directly, but we will discover throughout this series numerous allusions to the words and teachings of the brother he acknowledges as ‘Lord’ (1:1).

The charge of teaching justification by works is somewhat harder to answer. After all, James does say ‘You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone’ (2:24) – that seems pretty clear, doesn’t it? I think we start to come near to understanding the solution to this ‘problem’ when we realise that James is arguing against a particular kind of faith – a ‘dead’ faith (2:17, 26). By implication, therefore, there must be a ‘living’ faith which contains and results in certain characteristics, certain actions… and he spends this entire letter telling us what those characteristics and actions are! As has been well said,

though we are justified by faith alone, the faith that justifies is never alone. It produces moral fruit; it expresses itself “through love” (Gal. 5:6); it transforms one’s way of living; it begets virtue.3

I put it to you that if we equate James’ ‘living faith’ with Paul’s ‘faith’ then we find that the two are not in conflict but rather in agreement.

Since describing and defining ‘living faith’ is so important to James, it is and should be important to us also. So, over the next five weeks, we will be exploring what James teaches us about ‘living faith’.

James 1

In his opening chapter, James gives us a sampler of all of the main themes that will appear in the remainder of the epistle. If you’ve ever tried to separate different coloured paints that have been mixed together, you will have some idea what it is like trying to distinguish distinct themes in this chapter; they are all of one texture, and so closely related that it is difficult to tell where one leaves off and the next begins. But if I’m right, there are four key themes here: perseverance in the face of trials and temptations (1:2-4), seeking after God’s wisdom (1:5-11) trusting God in the midst of temptations (1:12-18) and obedience to God’s word (1:19-27).

A living faith perseveres in the face of trials (James 1:2-4)

After the briefest of introductions, James gets straight to work: ‘Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance’ (1:2–3). We don’t know the precise circumstances of the recipients of James’ letter, but we can infer straight away that their life wasn’t one of comfort and security – James clearly expected that they would soon face, if they weren’t already facing, ‘trials of many kinds’. They would not have been surprised at James addressing the topic of trials, but they would no doubt have been surprised to hear his command that they consider it ‘pure joy’!

James is not asking the impossible here; he does not instruct his audience (including us!) to ‘feel’ joyful when we undergoing trials. When external circumstances are against you – you’re out of work, with few prospects; your child is sick and the doctors can’t put their finger on the issue; your finances bottom out and you don’t know where your next meal is coming from – James would not expect you to go about with a maniacal grin on your face. Rather, he invites you to ‘consider’, to think things through and to seek God’s perspective on your circumstances. Above all, he points out that such trials serve a purpose – that of ‘testing’ (or ‘proving’) your faith and building perseverance. It is perseverance that results in blessedness, not the circumstances themselves.

‘Perseverance’ is an important word in James’ vocabulary, and one which will come up again in chapter 5. It means more than just passive endurance of circumstances; it is an active advance in spite of those circumstances. The boat that endures drops anchor in the storm; the boat that perseveres continues on toward the destination. The old saying, ‘What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger,’ though often uttered in bitter jest, contains truth. Often when I was in school or uni, I would come to a realisation that today’s lesson builds on one I struggled to learn last week, or last month; yet ironically that very struggle to learn, though painful at the time, was what entrenched the lesson so firmly in my mind that it could now form a solid building block in overcoming today’s challenge. The same is true in life in general. Struggles, trials and persecutions are powerful precisely because they are so memorable. If today’s challenges had come yesterday, last week or last month they may have overwhelmed you, but because you persevered yesterday, last week or last month, you have grown to a point where you can persevere again today. The end result is that you will become ‘mature and complete, not lacking anything’ (1:4) and you will ‘receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him’ (1:12).

What is your response when you face trials? When you are falsely accused by a workmate, or crash your car, or get bad news from the doctor, what do you do? What do you think? When the storm comes, is it time to batten down the hatches… or to put on more sail? Is your faith ‘dead’ or ‘alive’ when trials confront you? James calls you to ‘consider it pure joy…. because… the testing of your faith develops perseverance’ (1:2, 3).

A living faith seeks wisdom (James 1:5-11)

The final result of perseverance is that we will be lacking in nothing, but in the meantime James acknowledges that we may lack wisdom (1:5). Fortunately he is prepared with a remedy for that too. God-willing I hope to return to the subject of wisdom in two weeks, when we come to chapter 3 and so won’t say too much now, but it is important to note now how wisdom is related to the overall direction of James’ thought in this chapter. It is trials that form the immediate context of the need for (and lack of) wisdom, but not in the way that we might think. Our natural association between the two would be that when we are undergoing trials we require wisdom from God in order to persevere, and there is truth in that. But that is not James’ point. Rather he is showing that perseverance comes first, then prayer then wisdom. In fact, one might even say that perseverance (1:2-4), prayer (1:5) and faith (1:6-8) are all prerequisites for receiving God’s wisdom.

‘Wisdom’ on this context is not about intelligence, accumulated knowledge, practical expertise or life experience. It’s not even about having complete knowledge of the specific contents of God’s will and plan for you. Instead, it is the ability to to see yourself and your circumstances from God’s perspective, and to act accordingly. James has already given us an example of the wisdom granted him when he pointed out God’s perspective on trials, showing that they are developing perseverance and should be cause for joy. Similarly, in vv. 9-11, he explains God’s perspective on poverty and wealth, and the required responses to each.

Do you have this kind of wisdom? If not, one of three things has gone wrong: (1) you have not persevered; (2) you have not asked; (3) you have not believed. Is yours a living faith when you lack wisdom? Do you seek is from him? James commands: ‘If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him’ (1:5).

A living faith trusts God when tempted (James 1:12-15)

James returns to the subject of trials, but primarily as an introduction to the topic of temptation.4 Perseverance and God’s wisdom are also the order of the day when faced with temptations. Just as trials lead to perseverance, which results in us being ‘mature and complete, not lacking in anything’ (1:4), so too temptation leads to desire, which conceives and gives birth to sin, which in turn gives birth to death.

When tempted, we are liable to think, ‘God is tempting me.’ Can you see the magnitude of the lie? For, if it is God doing the tempting, if God is somehow trying to entrap us and lead us astray, then he is to be rejected rather than turned to. James quickly heads off this line of thinking, and he is at pains to point out that the source of temptation and sin is not God but our ‘own evil desire’ (1:14). Temptation results in death (1:15); God’s gifts result in life (1:18); therefore temptation cannot be a ‘gift’ of God. Trials are to to be counted as joy, for they are from God and result in life – not so temptations!5 Once again, God’s wisdom, his perspective on our temptation, helps us to understand how to respond.

What is your response to temptation? Do you turn away from God, blaming him for sending this temptation upon you? Do you believe that God is secretly winking at your sin? Or do you turn to him, cling to him, confessing that the sin stems from your own evil desires, and asking forgiveness? Is your faith alive, or is it dead when facing temptation? In the end, ‘Not all of us have the same weakness but all have the same responsibility and the same resource: God’s word – the word of truth.’6 It is to this word of truth that we now turn.

A living faith hears and obeys God’s word (James 1:19-27)

‘My dear brothers,’ says James, ‘take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry’ (1:19). He then goes on to unpack this statement in the remainder of the chapter, showing what it means to be slow to anger (1:20-21); quick to listen (1:22-25) and slow to speak (1:26). We will save discussion of James’ commands for speech until we come to chapter 3 in a couple of weeks.

My son, Aedan, is 2 years old, and Katrie and I are trying to teach him to be obedient. The first challenge in getting him to obey me, is teaching him to listen to me. When I can attract his attention then half the battle is won. Conversely, when Aedan is himself talking, he is not listening. Hence we are trying to teach him to listen and not to speak when we are speaking. In this manner also we should obey God.
Anger is also an obvious impediment to obeying God, particularly when that anger is directed at God. This is another reason why James has been so clear that temptation is not from God (1:13-15). The order is important here: James says ‘be quick to listen’ and ‘slow to speak’ first, and doing these things will make us ‘slow to become angry’. This is a sign of humility, and one who is humble cannot at the same time be angry; in this way you can ‘humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you’ (1:21).

Being quick to listen, however, is not enough – it must be coupled with active obedience. If Aedan listens but doesn’t do what I say then I’m not likely to be terribly happy. James compares a person who listens to God’s word but doesn’t act on it to a man who stares at himself in a mirror yet doesn’t retain enough memory of what he looks like to pick himself out of a lineup!7 Mirrors in James’ day were not the crystal-clear affairs we have today, but were made of polished bronze. Using them, then, wasn’t a casual affair but was always for a purpose, usually remedial. So also with God’s word: we read it for a purpose, and that purpose is that we should do (and keep doing) what is says. If we don’t use it for that purpose, we are either vain (we just like looking), careless (we can’t be bothered acting) or stupid (we can’t see that there is a problem).

As a Bible college student, this is a trap I regularly fall into. I spend so much time trying to understand the parts of the Scriptures that I don’t currently understand, instead of obeying the parts that I do understand. As the psalmist wrote, God’s ‘word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path’ (Ps 119:105), but a lamp is not a torch; it illuminates only a pace or two around me, and I need to take a step before I can see the next step beyond that.

Do you obey God’s word? Do you obey what you understand first, then work to understand what you don’t? Is your faith alive or dead when confronted with God’s word? James instructs: ‘Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says’ (1:22). And he promises that if you do you will be blessed in what you do (1:25).

Conclusion – A living faith

So, James has shown us what it means to have a living faith: perseverance in the face of trials; seeking God’s wisdom; trusting God in the midst of temptation; and hearing and obeying God’s word. Yet the distinctions are largely of convenience, for they are all so closely related that it is hard to tell where one leaves off and the next starts. For instance, perseverance is itself a form of wisdom, trust and obedience; as we saw wisdom is only granted in conjunction with perseverance, and leads to obedience and so on. What’s more, they build on one another: perseverance brings wisdom; wisdom reminds us that God is not the source of temptation, allowing us to trust him; trust in God works itself out in obedience.

So, what is your diagnosis? Is your faith alive? Yes? Well praise God for that! But what if it’s not? What if, after reading all that James has said in this chapter and, indeed, in this entire Epistle, you look at your life and faith and come to the conclusion that it is dead? What if you lack perseverance, wisdom, trust or obedience? This is the good news, the gospel of Christianity! For there is only one who can bring life out of death, and he ‘gives generously to all without finding fault’ (1:5) as he has promised. That one is God, so ask him. What God commands he also gives!8 As James says,

‘Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.’ (1:17)

Bibliography

Augustine, Saint Bishop of Hippo, and R. S. Pine-Coffin. Confessions: Penguin, 1961.
Blomberg, Craig, and Mariam J. Kamell. James, Zondervan Exegetical Commentary Series on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2008.
George, Timothy. “”A Right Strawy Epistle”: Reformation Perspectives on James.” Southern Baptist Journal of Theology 4, no. 3 (2000): 20-31.
Kendall, R. T. Justification by Works: How Works Vindicate True Faith, New Westminster Pulpit Series. Waynesboro: Authentic Media, 2001. Reprint, 2005.
Packer, J. I. Concise Theology : A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs. Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House, 1993.


Endnotes

  1. Cited in Timothy George, “”A Right Strawy Epistle”: Reformation Perspectives on James,” Southern Baptist Journal of Theology 4, no. 3 (2000): 23.
  2. Cited in R. T. Kendall, Justification by Works: How Works Vindicate True Faith, New Westminster Pulpit Series (Waynesboro: Authentic Media, 2001; reprint, 2005), 1.
  3. J. I. Packer, Concise Theology : A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs (Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House, 1993), 160. I have seen a similar quote attributed to John Calvin and John Owen, but could not find it in print.
  4. The two words ‘trial’ and ‘temptation’ both translate the same Greek word, πειρασμός, and it is only by context that we can tell which one is intended.
  5. Kendall, Justification by Works, 57. cf. Paul’s instructions to ‘flee’ from various temptation in 1 Cor 6:18; 10:14; 1 Tim 6:11; 2 Tim 2:22.
  6. Ibid., 103.
  7. Baker, cited in Craig Blomberg and Mariam J. Kamell, James, Zondervan Exegetical Commentary Series on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2008), 90.
  8. cf. ‘Give me the grace to do as you command, and command me to do what you will!’ Saint Bishop of Hippo Augustine and R. S. Pine-Coffin, Confessions (Penguin, 1961), x.30.
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