CONTEXT: The overall theme of the chapter is the differences between worldly and Godly wisdom. In v.1-10 we find James cautioning the reader against worldly corruptions (sins) and in v.11-17 to never begin life’s work (business) without the consent and guidance of God.
Our text for today calls for all those trying to serve both man and God, (two masters) which is not easy for man’s human nature. We are reluctant to give up self, to surrender all to give up our earthly masters.
One of the Puritan theologians from the 1600’s said it best, it is far easier to commit sin than confess it…
Question: “What is repentance and is it necessary for salvation?”
Answer: Many understand the term repentance to mean “a turning from sin.” Regretting sin and turning from it is related to repentance, but it is not the precise meaning of the word. In the Bible, the word repent means…
There are five major sacrifices in the Old Covenant, the burnt offering, the grain offering, the peace offering, the sin offering, and the trespass offering. Each was a means by which God used sacrifices to point to Christ and the fellowship of His chosen people.
This past Sunday, before my aborted trip, my son-in-law and I were grilling some ribs, burgers, and hotdogs and for some reason, my mind wandered to Old TestamentBurnt Offerings.No, not because were “burnt” the food but because without Christ, we would today be making an offering of that food and having it totally consumed (BURNT UP)in atonement as a sweet aroma to God.
Thankfully, today we enjoy our BBQ because Christ made the ultimate sacrifice for all God’s chosen. Yes, we still offer sacrifices, but they are Spiritual, not the ones of the Old Covenant.
When we die, each of us will give an account of how we lived our lives. We will face the question, “What did you do for the least of these?” Certainly, unborn children — the most vulnerable among us who truly have no voice — will be included in “the least of these.”…
As I read this in my inbox this morning it struck me that there are two types of men described in the bible who “return to the Lord.” I will get to that more in a moment but first as always some context. Previously I have posted on Isaiah 55:8-9, in which you will find a good overview of the beginning of the chapter. Then I also posted on seeking God, Isaiah 55:6 with a detailed breakdown of that verse. So that leaves v.7:
Let the wicked forsake his way – Those guilty of sinning against God
and the unrighteous man his thoughts – wicked, idolatrous thoughts
and let him return unto the Lord – Hebrew word Shuwb, meaning to turn back, repent, restore, make afresh, renew…
and he will have mercy upon him – compassion and love on those who end their evil ways
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon; – God here is the Hebrew ‘elohiym, plural meaning the triune God
The Lord does abundantly pardon – this indicates God’s mercy, His desire to pardon nows no boundaries
I am not a Biblical Scholar (no fancy Ph.D.) so I read about a dozen commentaries this morning referencing V.7, and most agree that the wicked forsaking their ways means everyone. I disagree, and here is why.
Isaiah is writing to the nation of Israel, Jews, who knew the God of the bible.
To forsake something (sin) you need to understand your guilty of it unbelievers have no knowledge of their guilt
To repent, be restored, renewed, etc. you first had to be in covenant with someone
God’s covenant was with the Jews (and now all peoples)
God’s promise to abundantly pardon was only for those who repented and returned to the flock
Remember in the beginning I said two types of men described in the bible who “return to the Lord.” One we are all familiar with that of theProdigal Son, the wayward child who eventually comes to his senses and repents, and begs forgiveness of his father. The other is one you may not recognize, Jonah. This is the story of those called by God, who think they know better and God puts them in a place where they eventually surrender all.
What do these men and our text have in common, both knew God but thought their ways were better than God’s. It took severe hardship to turn them from their evil rebellious ways and get God’s unmerited merciful pardon and love.
Maybe you too, have been running from God’s call or something as simple as just sitting on the pew and letting the world go by. It is time to answer the Holy Spirits’ urging and repent of our own ways and get on board with God’s plan.
Lord God, your ways are made clear to us, yet we rebel and desire our own ways. We ignore the chosen path for one that seems right in our own eyes. We ignore all the helps you send our way as our hardened hearts desire self. Lord, we beg you to soften that heart, that we might repent of our rebellious ways, and renew a righteous Spirit in all areas of our lives. I ask that we seek your guidance and will daily, for we know that our ways are never better. All this we pray in Christ’s Name. AMEN
“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Galatians 5:24 Crucify your sins, which have crucified your Savior.
Did the rocks rent, when Christ died for our sins? And shall not our hearts rent, who have lived in our sins?
Oh, that the nails which pierced His hands, should now pierce our hearts.
Oh, that they should wound themselves with their sorrows, who have wounded Christ with their sins.
Oh, that they who have grieved His heart, should be grieved in their hearts.
Oh, that I should be such a bad a child to Him, who has been such a good a Father to me.
My sins have been my greatest terror, and my Savior has been my choicest helper.
Oh, put sin to death, for sin was the cause of Christ’s death.
If someone killed your father—would you hug him and embrace him as your friend, and let him eat at your table? Would you not rather hate and detest the very sight of him!
If a snake should sting your dearly beloved spouse to death—would you preserve it alive, warm it at the fire, and hug it in your bosom? Would you not rather stab it with a thousand wounds!
And were not our sins the cause and instrument of Christ’s death? Were not they the whips that scourged Him; the nails, the cords, the spear, the thorns that wounded Him, and fetched the heart-blood from Him? And can we love our sins, which killed our Savior? Can a wife truly love her husband, and still embrace an adulterer?
We complain of the sins of Judas, and seem to hate them, and shudder at their mention. And can we love our Judas sins, which put Christ to death? And yet how many are there—who had rather have sinful-self satisfied, than to have sinful-self crucified.
Oh, sin is that mark at which all the arrows of Divine vengeance are shot!
Were it not for sin, death would never have had a beginning. And were it not for death, sin would never have an ending.
Man began to be sorrowful, when he began to be sinful. The wind of our lusts, blows out the candle of our lives. If man had nothing to do with sin, death would have nothing to do with man.
Oh, did sinbring sorrow into the world? Oh, then—let sorrow carry sin out of the world.
Of all evils, sin is the great evil. “The wages of sin is death.” Romans 6:23
Oh, sin is worse than punishment, banishment and imprisonment.
Sin kills both body and soul: it throws the body into cold earth rotting, and the soul into the hot Hell burning!
Chapter 11, can be broken down as follows: Christ’s preaching. (1) Christ’s answer to John’s disciples. (2-6) Christ’s testimony to John the Baptist. (7-15) The perverseness of the Jews. (16-24) The gospel revealed to the simple. The heavy-laden invited. (25-30) – Matthew Henry
As Matthew Henry points out our text v.28 is part of the invite to the heavily laden by Christ. There are three quick points I wish to make, that I gleaned from the text before we come on the sermon and other materials:
It is only through Christ Alone that the invite can go out
The invite is directed only towards those burdened by sins
Only Christ, by His atonement at Calvary, can provide rest from that burden
Just about a year ago, I used this same verse in a devotional entitled Wages of Sin. My focus then was God’s call to salvation. Today however as I read this verse, something completely different bothered me, the actual phrasethe wages of sin is death.
Everyone likes getting “paid” for their work. Even volunteers get paid in the sense they see the results of their efforts. For those with a job that has a monetary wage, that paycheck is their reward, their payoff for hard work. That is their WAGE, their RECOMPENSE, or REWARD.
I think for the first time I put it all together that “we” work hard for our final payment of death. In other words, the payoff for all our hard work of living a sinful life, our reward, is eternal death. Culture tells us to just live life to the fullest and damn the consequences. The Bible makes clear the consequences. In the end, there is no one else to blame, no one to turn to except ourselves, we are without excuse. Maybe it is just me but I can think of far better rewards, can’t you?
As I noted in last year’s devotional; Is the Holy Spirit tugging on your heartstrings? Answer God’s call Repent of your sins and make Christ not only the savior of your life but Lord of your life today.
Heavenly Father, I am a sinner and deserving of eternal death and the lake of fire, I am not worthy to set my foot in Your heavenly home, but I believe that the Lord Jesus paid the price for my sins through His death on Calvary and I heed Your call, Your free gift of salvation and eternal life IN HIM. I ask that Christ be Lord of my life, let the Holy Spirit guide my paths that I may do Your will. In Jesus’ name, I pray, AMEN.
You may have noticed recently I have been posting many devotional thoughts concerning the trends in America. Here is a sermon from John Newton best known for composing Amazing Grace he was with his friend William Cowper a prolific hymn writer and excellent preacher.
While Jeremiah was obviously speaking prophetically to the nation of Israel in Chapter 5, every nation that turns its back on the one true God of the universe should be equally forewarned.
The Guilt and Danger of Such a Nation as This
BY JOHN NEWTON
THREE times* the Lord God repeats, by his prophet, this alarming question. Their ingratitude and obstinacy were so notorious, their sins so enormous and aggravated, the sentence denounced against them, however severe, was so undeniably just, that, partial as they were to themselves, God is pleased to appeal to their own consciences, and to make them judges in their own cause; inviting, or rather challenging, them, to offer any plea why his forbearance and patience, which they had so long despised, should be still afforded them…
We as a nation are in turmoil. We have partisan politics, ungodly laws, and tempers flaring over uncertain times. We ask you, Lord, to dwell among us, to not forsake you remnant, nor lift your hand of divine providence. We confess our nation’s unworthiness of your mercy.
We are comforted by the knowledge that You alone are our Savior and Lord, and the sovereign Master of life. We trust our nation to Your loving care, Lord. Send Your Spirit to touch the hearts of our nation’s leaders. Give them the wisdom to know what is right, and the courage to do it. Give us Your light and Your truth to guide us in our ways so that we may seek Your will in our lives and impact the world around us for Your Kingdom. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. Amen