This is what God gave me today in his word:
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. (James 1:22-24)
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. – There’s an interesting statement. Be a doer of the word and not just a hearer, or you’re deceiving yourself. You’re lying to yourself, if you think that by looking at your dirty face in a mirror your suddenly clean. Likewise, if you think by looking at the bible, you’ve suddenly done everything it tells you to do, your deceiving yourself. – Especially because an order to have obeyed the whole bible, you would have had to obey this verse in James. – So how then do you not deceive yourself? Well it’s natural to assume that by actually obeying the bible, you wouldn’t be deceiving yourself. The equivalent of looking at the mirror and washing your face in the sink as well. But now, let’s assume that everyone reading this is a doer and not just a hearer, what is it we’re doing exactly? Obeying the ten commandments? Obeying everything the Apostles tell us to do in the New Testament? What is it we’re obeying and what is it were supposed to be obeying?
What exactly is it someone is supposed to obey? … The ten commandments?
But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. (James 1:25)
We’re supposed to, “look into” the perfect law; the law of liberty. Alright, so we have to obey the 613 Mitzvot commandments, the Torah, word for word, and the rest. Isn’t that not only the perfect law, but the only law?
If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the law was given to the people), why was there still need for another priest to come–one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron? (Hebrews 7:11)
The first was flawed, therefore a second was required. The, “law of liberty,” James talked about, is Jesus Christ. So then, under this new law, what’s required of us? Well we know that from Second Peter:
We also know that these things in fact, spring out of the new law (Jesus). The reality of the situation is that James warning to be a doer of the word and not just a hearer, requires you first to accept Jesus as savior, then everything else ends up coming out of that relationship. Faith comes when we can talk to God, virtue comes when we have faith and so on. In essence, James is telling us (and those he’s actually sending this letter to) to have a personal relationship with Jesus. This is backed up by the fact that Jesus is in fact the word of God (the Bible) and therefore obeying Jesus is the same as obeying the Word:
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1)
In summary: James is telling us to have a personal relationship with God. Because if we don’t, we’re deceiving ourselves about our own salvation. Each and every Christian has to have a relationship with Jesus to some degree, but in order to obey what James has told us, Jesus must be our friend. How does that happen? By talking with him (prayer) and by reading him (the bible) and understanding/applying him.
You are Loved!