Today’s Reading: James 1:16-21
Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. (James 1:21)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. God’s people are to be holy people. It is how God designed it. Holiness reflects God’s holiness. In the Garden of Eden man was created in the holy image of God. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they lost that holiness. The inclination of the heart is opposed to the will of God. Left to ourselves, we want nothing to do with God’s desire for us to be holy. Our condition is that we are dead in our transgressions with no ability whatsoever to come to God or to be holy as He is holy.
James uses language that reflects the passive nature of our salvation. On account of our sinful condition, we cannot come to God by our own power. Rather, it is God who comes to us. James’ words are very specific. He says to “receive” the implanted Word. We do not accept the Word, but rather receive the Word. The doingness is through the work of the Holy Spirit and God’s Holy Word is brought to us.
Often we will hear someone say that you need to “accept” the Word of God as truth. Unfortunately, that is the wrong language to use when we speak about our relationship with God. We “receive” His Holy Word. The burden is not on us, it cannot be on us, because we are spiritually dead in our sin. James does not stop with just conversion. He reminds his hearers about their new life in Christ. As children of God, we live in a constant tension between the Old Adam and the New Man in Christ. The Old Adam desires to pursue the wants of the flesh and live in filthiness and rampant wickedness. The New Man in Christ desires to live as a holy being, in the image of a holy God. In your Baptism you have put on Christ. Daily, the Old Adam is drowned and the New Man in Christ is resurrected. In that resurrection you live with the robe of Christ’s righteousness over you. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Hope of the world, afoot on dusty highways, Showing to wand’ring souls the path of light, Walk Thou beside us Lest the tempting byways Lure us away from Thee to endless night. (“Hope of the World” LSB 690, st.3)
-Rev. Timothy Davis is pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Athens, GA.
Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch
Over eight sessions, The Messiah: Revealing Jesus in the Old Testament will lead you through the entirety of the Old Testament with daily readings, questions, and discussion prompts. After a brief introduction that reviews Christ’s earthly ministry, you will dive into the heart of the Holy Books that have spiritually nourished God’s people from creation to today! Now available from Concordia Publishing House.