James 2:8-11 KJV Guilty of a “Lesser Commandment”

James 2:8-11
If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:
But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.
For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.

 

We tend to associate James 2:10 with the verses following it regarding two of the Ten Commandments; against adultery and murder.  It is key, I believe, to associate it also with the verses preceding it regarding what might by many be considered a lesser commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves.

 

This “lesser commandment” though not found among the ten, is part of those laws of the Old Testament[1] and was especially singled out by Christ as second only to “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine…[2]

 

Two things come to mind:

  • The importance of loving and respecting all persons
  • The serious mistake of attempting to earn righteousness through these laws

If a man is trying to earn his righteousness through keeping the law and just one time prefers one man above another he has committed a sin as heinous as adultery or murder.

 

God offers a better righteousness through faith in Christ. His righteousness liberates us to then practice good works for the sake of the work and not as a futile effort to please God in the flesh.

[1] Leviticus 19:18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.

[2] Matthew 22:37

 

For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2007.

James 2:8-11 Offend in one point

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James 1:26 Useless Faith

James 1:26
If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.

 

There is a difference between our salvation and our religion.

 

Salvation is the securement of our soul into a heavenly position

It is the result of the reconciliation of our sins with a holy God through faith in the sufficient work of Christ on the Cross.

 

Religion is the resulting practice of our faith

It is the useful exercise of our spiritual position for the sake of others.

James here makes it perfectly clear that our religion can be vain:

  • empty
  • useless
  • of no real good

 

His application here has to do with the tongue.[1] When we do not bridle our tongues and bring it into submission so that our speech is “alway with grace, seasoned with salt” we do harm to some, we fail to encourage and help others and we make the practice of our faith (though not our salvation) useless.

[1] I do not think it to be the only way we might make our religion vain, but it is certainly a common way.

 

 

For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2007.

James 1:26

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Hebrews 13:14 The Problem of Affluence

Hebrews 13:14
For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.

 

The Christian is to put little stock in the things of this world as they are all

  • temporal
  • fleeting and
  • soon to be dissolved

Our treasures are heavenly, not earthly.

 

One of the great problems we have experienced in modern Christianity is the problem of affluence. We do so well that, though we may say and even hope that our hearts are set on heaven, we struggle with the whole concept of letting go of the things comfortable living have afforded us. We even justify the having of these things as a sign of God’s blessing upon us.

 

This passage zeroes in on just one of those earthly things that we, especially in America, have come to hold on to and believe is a blessing of God;

  • our city
  • our government
  • our identity as citizens of the Unites Sates of America

We have come to see our country as being:

  • of God
  • from God and
  • for God

and thus look at the promotion, protection and participation in our government as doing God’s work. The book of Hebrews reminds us that, in fact, even this country is not a “continuing city”. It will dissolve as will everything else in this world.

 

The response the passage seeks from us is that we put no trust or hope in it but that we come out from it to bear full and complete fellowship with Christ – His reproach.[1] It is only there that we may enjoy the view of that city which is to come.

[1] I do not mean by this that a Christian should have no part in his government or that he or she should not participate in the political process. I mean to say that he or she should be careful not to equate that political process as being Christian service. Neither should the Christian, whether serving in the political realm or not, place his or her hope in the results of politics. Our hope is in the sovereign will and plan of God.

 

For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2007.

Hebrews 13:14 Affluence in America

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Hebrews 12:12-13 My Best Hope

Hebrews 12:12-13
Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;
And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed

 

Addressing a congregation that the Apostle says he is convinced is saved, Paul urges them toward three responses to their suffering for their faith:

  • Lift up their hands that are dragging from weariness
  • Do the same with their knees that have become feeble and
  • Walk a straight path with their feet

In other words, get over their moping about and move ahead energetically in Christ.

 

What interests me is the motivation for so doing. Paul urges them to pick it up for the sake of others struggling to do the same.

 

My best hope for a

  • cheerful
  • powerful and
  • successful 

walk with God is to help someone else have the same. We are all in this same boat. We are all pressed down by the world. We are all tempted to “turn out of the way” to back off of our faith and coast along with the world. In order for me to stay faithful I need others to encourage me to stay faithful. In order for them to stay faithful they need me to stay faithful.

 

So the most effective way for me to have the support I need for my walk with Christ is to encourage others in their walk with Christ.

Hebrews 12:12-13 Encourage Others

 

For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2007.

Hebrews 12:12-13 Encourage Others

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Joshua 4:2-3 Just for Today

Joshua 4:2-3
Take you twelve men out of the people, out of every tribe a man,
And command ye them, saying, Take you hence out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the priests’ feet stood firm, twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging place, where ye shall lodge this night.

 

The twelve men drew these stones out of Jordan and Joshua built the memorial alter from them long before they had won the Promised Land. They hadn’t even spent the night there yet. God had them do this as a memorial of the day because; any day later than this would be too late.

  • They would never be in the same place they were this day again.
  • They would never see the Jordan River stand on a heap again.
  • They would never spend their first night in the Promised Land again
  • They would never again look into the Promised Land with the same faith and expectation they did this day again

They needed a record of the day as the day unfolded. They probably could have, at a later date, figured out a way to get twelve stones from the river, but never would they have opportunity to remove them from the dry riverbed again. To look back and recreate the day would never be the same as to mark the day itself.

 

It is for this reason I believe that we ought to journal, mark and record our lives day by day. I do not know that today marks a change in the rest of my life but neither do I know it doesn’t. Every day is a treasured gift from God and ought to be viewed that way.

 

Pull out some stones just from today and build an altar here.

 

For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2007.

Joshua 4:2-3 The Value of Daily Journaling

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Hebrews 10:14 Perfected For Ever

Hebrews 10:14
For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

 

The point of the verse is the phrase “by one offering“. The apostle wants us to see the effectiveness of the offering of Christ. In doing so he makes a secondary claim that is of immense blessing to those who are saved; we have been “perfected for ever“.

 

What God has done and is continuing to do in me as a Christian, and in every Christian everywhere, is a forever thing. It never ends. It isn’t revoked at some moment of sin in my life. No contract is broken if I am unable to keep my end of the deal. At the moment of my salvation God made me perfect in Christ Jesus. That is justification. For the rest of my life of earth God continues to work in my heart and soul for victory over sin and perfection in Christlikeness. That is sanctification.

 

God’s covenant with the believer is a for ever one.

 

For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2007.

Hebrews 10:14 God’s Covenant is For Ever

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Hebrews 9:24 Today’s Place for Worship

Hebrews 9:24
For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:

 

Someone challenged me the other day and said that I could not prove that Jesus left Judaism. I offer this verse as proof to the contrary.

 

The Bible says Christ did not enter into those holy places made by men, but into heaven itself. The passage goes on to tell us that all those man made structures were to prefigure that which is real in heaven. They were not real in and of themselves – ever.

 

But we are not in heaven, someone will argue. That is true. Today we have a new place to worship in; a place not constructed by the hands of man but built by Christ Himself. He promised He would build His church. That’s not a building of wood or stone. His building is made up of men and women who:

  • have professed faith in Christ
  • been baptized by immersion as a sign of their faith and
  • committed themselves together in union for His cause

 

That’s a Baptist Church!

 

For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2007.

Hebrews 9:24 We Worship Today in a Baptist Church

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Let It Die Already

Hebrews 8:13 KJV

In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

 

Years ago I pastored a young lady who had a childhood friend who was battling what turned out to be terminal cancer. Since this lady and her family were brand new in our church, they were excited about our church and anxious to get their friends to come there with them. One of those friends, of course, was this woman with cancer. She never came to our church but we got regular updates on her declining condition from the family who had recently joined.

 

The battle with the cancer was brutal. At one point the friend in our church blurted out to me, “Why doesn’t she just give up and die already?” I knew what she meant. I knew she meant well and that death would end the unbelievable suffering her friend was enduring. Still, it struck me odd, almost cruel. As far as I could tell this new member in our church was about as gracious and compassionate a person as I have ever been blessed to know. But she wanted this struggle to be over.

 

The incident reminds me of the very emotional struggle of replacing Old Testament laws with New Testament faith.

  • There is no question that the new is here
  • There is little debate that it is better

But some refuse to let the fight die.

 

As strange as it may seem, the gracious and the compassionate position is to urge the old to simply “vanish away.”

  • It is not unkind or hateful to urge Jews, especially those who claim to have faith in Christ, to make a clean break from the Old Testament Law.
  • It is an act of love to push Christians who are Gentiles by birth away from Judaistic rituals and toward a Bible believing New Testament Baptist church.

 

God has a plan that will one day restore Israel’s holy and rightful place. But that is the business of the future. Today’s business is to lead all men, Jew or Gentile:

  • to Christ,
  • to baptism and
  • to common fellowship in a local New Testament Bible believing Baptist church.

 

 

For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2007.

Baptist Hebrews 8:13

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A New Priesthood

Hebrews 7:1-3 KJV

For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him;
To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace;
Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.

 

Melchisedec has been an underlying subject throughout chapters five and six but rises to the surface as the focal subject of this chapter. Though there is considerable debate as to exactly who he was, it is without question that both the Psalmist and Apostle meant him as a figure of Jesus Christ. Speaking of Christ as being a priest after the order of Melchisedec there are at least three things we know about this order:

It is not the after the order of the Old Testament priesthood

Thus, it precedes it and then replaces it. The modern Messianic Jews, as were the Judaizers of early Christianity, very much mistaken in attempting to marry the two.

It is better than the Old Testament priesthood

It is not merely an alternative. It us not intended that those who prefer to worship their Messiah may do so under a form of Judaism and those who understand Him to be Christ may worship Him in church. New Testament church theology is the perfection of the weak Old Testament law theology.

It is an eternal and not temporal priesthood

The Aaronic priesthood was given for a specific time. The Melchisedec priesthood existed previous to it and survives after it. The Aaronic priesthood was to be done away (though unbelieving Israel had yet to put it away) but the Melchisedec priesthood, like Melchisedec himself, has no end of days.

 

For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2007.

Hebrews 7:1-3

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Perfection in the Gospel

Hebrews 6:4-6 KJV

For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

 

Of this text John Gill writes,

“…such are meant, who are so enlightened as to see the evil effects of sin, but not the evil that is in sin; to see the good things which come by Christ, but not the goodness that is in Christ; so as to reform externally, but not to be sanctified internally; to have knowledge of the Gospel doctrinally, but not experimentally; yea, to have such light into it, as to be able to preach it to others, and yet be destitute of the grace of God…”

 

We would be wisest, I believe, to view chapters three through six, and perhaps further, as one unit dealing with the doctrine of eternal security. These are not isolated lessons, but progressive ones. Each piece builds upon another to describe the condition of the true believer versus that of the false professor. Though the author, whom I believe to be Paul, is convinced his audience is saved, he still gives warning that the end of the false professor is to be burned.

 

Perfection in the gospel is to, borrow from Gill,

  • See the evil that is in sin
  • See the goodness that is in Christ
  • Be sanctified internally
  • Know the Gospel experimentally and
  • Possess the grace of God

 

For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2007.

Hebrews 6:4-6

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