Oh, such a topic…and we all have one that needs training!
James has explained to us two characteristics of the mature Christian: he is patient in trouble (James 1) and he practices the truth (James 2). In this section, he shares the third characteristic of the mature believer: he has power over his tongue.
A pastor friend told me about a member of his church who was a notorious gossip. She would “hang on the phone” most of the day, sharing tidbits with any and all who would listen.
She came to the pastor one day and said, “Pastor, the Lord has convicted me of my sin of gossip. My tongue is getting me and others into trouble.”
My friend knew she was not sincere because she had gone through that routine before. Guardedly he asked, “Well, what do you plan to do?”
“I want to put my tongue on the altar,” she replied with pious fervor.
Calmly my friend replied…
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The “No Judgment” Promise
John 5:24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”
This promise is for eternal life and this promise includes the fact that those who hear and believe will “not come into judgment” and at the point of believing they have “passed from death to life” meaning that they (and we) have escaped the eternal damnation mentioned in Revelation20:12-15 at the Great White Throne Judgment (the second death) but instead have the promise of entering into eternal life. What God promises God always delivers.
The Promise of Not Forsaking
John 6:37. 39 “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.”
These two verses are two of my favorite memory verses. I get the image in my mind of me coming to Christ when I was saved…knowing that I deserved God’s wrath. I had repented and put my trust in Christ so Jesus could say to me (and you) “whoever comes to me I will never cast out” and I will “lose nothing of all that he (the Father) has given me, but raise [me and you] up on the last day.” Can you picture the time when you came to Christ after being forgiven and then coming to the Savior? He reassures us that He will not ever cast you out (or away). Some render this “I will never turn them away.” Since Jesus says He won’t lose us and not turn us away makes John 10:28-29 come alive, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” Is there any greater promise to read today?
The Promise of His Righteousness
Second Corinthians 5:21 “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
This is the gospel in once verse. God made Jesus, who was sinless, to become sin for us so that God looks at us as having the same righteousness as Jesus has. This exceedingly great and precious promise makes the previous verses (John 5:24; John 6:37, 39) possible. Now when God sees us, He sees us just as He sees His Son…without spot or without blemish. No, we are not sinless…we still sin but Jesus’ death canceled out our debt as Paul writes “by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross” (Col 2:14).
Jesus promises that if we believe in Him and the Father Who sent Him, He will never turn away, nor will you be lost, but He gives us eternal life and we have passed from the judgment of God because the Sinless One became sin for us so that God looks at us as having all our sin debts cancelled. Wow.
May God richly bless you,
Pastor Jack Wellman