August 28, 2009 – Daily Journal
Proverbs 28:1 →There's nothing here to say the righteous always stay put and get over run. Just that they are bold. There's a difference between an orderly withdrawal and a rout. See also Proverbs 27:12
Proverbs 28:5 →Evil men. This is why the behavior and attitude of people is as important as anything else when selecting leaders. This is why your affair is relevant, Governor. This is why your drinking problem is relevant, Senator. These things matter, because one who has evil habits does not comprehend justice. It's not true that one can properly discern justice during working hours without living it the rest of the time.
Proverbs 28:9 →There is no sense in praying if you are ignoring God's Word.
1 Peter 5:10 →Suffering is only for a little while, then God will perfect us, scraping away the rest of the worldliness that the suffering didn't remove.
James 5:1-3 →I'm not sure why we jump to the conclusion that the rich James addresses here aren't believers. It's generally understood that the epistles, except perhaps Hebrews, are written to either churches or groups of believers. James addressed the letter to the 12 Tribes that were dispersed, and reading through it you see an assumption of faith in Christ, so he's apparently writing to what he considers the 12 tribes dispersed, Christians. Probably, given the early date of James, most of these Christians were assumed to be of a Jewish background. Early church leaders don't seem to have written mixed letters addressing both the world and the church, but recognized the difference between the two. There's some question whether or not they may have written to the outside world, but those are not the letters found in Scripture. (Except, probably, Hebrews, written to persuade Jews to follow Christ)
So why do we jump to this conclusion? I'm convinced we don't want to accept that “rich” Christians would have behaved the way James is condemning. Surely they would have known better! Well, a few thoughts on that: 1) They would have been new to the faith. Estimates put James' letter in the first decade after the church is established. First decade! At that point, you've got a lot of people coming to Christ that have no idea what it is to follow Him. So, James is writing correction and rebuke. 2) If they're baby Christians, why the harshness? My opinion? Consider our own ways. We have a tendency to try and hold on to the things of this world that seem good and helpful for us. Really we do. James is trying to thoroughly establish the division between worldly behavior and Christian behavior. That you cannot keep acting like you did before your conversion. And that, just because you did it to get rich doesn't make it right.
I see in this part of the danger of study Bibles. You read one study note that passes this off of Christians and onto the world, and you never read it the same way again. And the study Bible I'm looking at uses a generic “Bible scholars generally agree.” Who and what? Bible scholars? General agreement? Without better explanation, this is an appeal to an authority no one knows. And what's a general agreement? 51%? When a study note seems to contradict the plain understanding of the text, you need better explanations than that.
Acts 3:1-10 is the Sunday morning sermon text. I'll not give you any more thoughts on it until Sunday. You'll just have to come and hear me preach. For my few faithful readers that aren't around here, I'm still working on podcasts, so that you can nap at your leisure...
Recommendations for the day? Read Emil Turner's Blog. That's always time well spent on Friday. Then look ahead at your weekend and make sure your plans including being mentally and physically present with God's people to hear the word and strengthen and encourage each other.
Oh, one last thing. I'm trying to find ways to complete a fully-accredited Master of Divinity. I'm looking for good academics, something I can actually complete (there are a lot of schools that offer partial distance, and you have to finish through short-terms on campus. That's fine, if the campus is close enough distance), and something reasonably affordable. So, any suggestions? Thanks.