Solving Identity Crisis by Grace

The apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:10 “By the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain.”  Grace identifies something that is a gift of the giver completely that must be received, exercised, and enjoyed by the recipient.  Paul was saying that the grace of the gospel of Jesus Christ made up who he was and was demonstrated as received by the extreme effort in...
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Judgment on the Elect Israel, the Church, and even America

I am not so sure of the predominate view that those in James 5:1-6 are unchurched persons.  In fact, it seems more probable they are in church to have heard this letter; and are not merely unbelievers, but actual believers who have gone the way of the world.  The reason to hold to this is because God has in the past pronounced judgment on His own people.  It was because they were His people that...
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Exercising the Grace of Exemplary Truthfulness

Speaking of the matter unpretentiously, James writes, But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your ‘yes’ be yes and your ‘no’ be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation” (James 5:12; cf. Matt 5:34–35, 37). Similarly, when Jesus spoke against oath taking, he was speaking against a growing tendency to weasel out of keeping one’s...
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Warning to the Rich

James 5 begins with “come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you” (v.1).  This is not the first time that the Bible warns the rich.  Particularly the Book of Amos warns the rich: “they sell the righteous for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals” (Amos 2:6). “Hear this word, you cows of Bashan, who are on the mountain of Samaria, who oppress the poor, who...
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A Letter of Hope for Those Displaced

The setting of James is most probably soon after the persecution of Stephen in Acts 7.  Believers are scattered throughout different territories, away from friends, family, familiarity, and favorable finances.  Thus, the church enters into a new world, depending upon the kindnesses of the populations to which they were sent by providence.  It is a Joseph like experience that persecutors meant...
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Elixirs for the Envy of the Wicked

It is not uncommon for the Christian to have a Psalm 73 experience.  Asaph writes, “But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped.”  What was the cause of this for Asaph?  He says, “For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked” (Psalm 73:2–3).  Thus it is not unanticipated for Christians to become discouraged when viewing the prosperity of...
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