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Sixth Sunday of Easter - Epistle (1899)

James 1:22-27 In the previous epistle James pointed to the grace that God has gifted us with His Word. In today's epistle he warns of the abuse of this gift and shows the blessing of the right use of it. Especially important is the conclusion of v. 25. The truth that a doer of the Word is saved in his doing. 1. The proper understanding of this truth. a. It presupposes the knowledge of who is a doer of the Word, namely, . whoever hears God's Word not only physically1, but looks with perception into the perfect Law of liberty2. . Law is each of the subjects promulgated declarations of one's will of it or the ruling of it, except where under the threat of sanctions in the event of violation of certain things offered and prohibited or certain acts of mercy are proclaimed. . Under the perfect law of liberty is understood: aa. Not that written by God at creation in the heart of man, repeated on Sinai and declared Law of his holy, righteous will, because it is indeed perfect in itself3, "good", but is not able to free us either from the rule of sin4, or proficient for good5, let alone perfect6, bb. but the revealing Gospel of the gracious will of God, "the Law of the Spirit"7, the Law of Mount Zion.8 God wants that man should believe in Christ9, in order to be completely free from guilt, punishment, and dominion of sin.10 . Seeing with perception means here in true faith, which presupposes knowledge of sin11, to recognize the glory of the living Gospel; . whoever reflects not merely incidentally in God's Word, as the man in the simile12, and is not a forgetful hearer, but shall endure believing in the Word13; . who therefore also seeks to demonstrate his faith by his way of life, as he remains unspotted from the world14: . whose sins avoid for what bridles the tongue15, the second and eighth commandments, is an example, and . serves God through good works toward the neighbor16, the selfish world is incapable for its rendering.
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James 1:22. James 1:25a. 3 1 Timothy 1:8. 4 Galatians 4:24. 5 Galatians 3:21b. 6 Hebrews 7:19a. 7 Romans 8:2. 8 Isaiah 2:3. 9 1 John 3:23a. 10 John 8:36. 11 Mark 1:15b. 12 James 1:23b-24. 13 James 1:25. 14 James 1:27. 15 James 1:26. 16 James 1:27; Galatians 5:6.

b. Consequently, how the above truth is understood: . Every opinion of it is false through which . a man should be able to acquire salvation by abstaining from coarse sins, e.g. sins of the tongue, and performing external works of assistance, e.g. to orphans and widows, because it does not say "by his deeds" but "in his deeds".17 . or justifying faith is given out as a meritorious saving deed of men.18 . This trust is understood correctly: . that a doer of the Word, and only such a person, appertains Christ in faith and therefore the acquired salvation in it19, . he also can be certain, because his, although not perfect, conduct gives him witness of the righteousness of his faith.20 2. The proper application of it. a. It is falsely applied, whoever thinks that, just because a doer will be saved, little or nothing comes in hearing the Word. . Only by the latter can it come to a man for doing the faith and for good works21, and . the insistence of the Word is itself a most distinguished element of the new life of a Christian. Third Commandment. b. It is properly applied only to him who can be moved by this truth: . to consider whether he was a doer of the Word or only a listener22; . To repent, if he testifies to his belief that the latter has hitherto been the case with him; for it is dreadful to deceive himself23, and to tempt his heart by a false opinion, one serves God24; . diligently to continue, if he remains in the faith, with exercising of the Word of God and performing truly good works to the glory of God and for the benefit of one's neighbor.25 A.K.

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Ephesians 2:8; Romans 3:28. 1 Corinthians 12:3b; John 6:29. 19 Luke 11:28. 20 1 John 5:4, 10. 21 Romans 10:14; Colossians 3:16. 22 James 2:18-20. 23 James 1:22b. 24 James 1:26. 25 James 1:27; John 13:17; 2 Peter 1:10.