Category : General
James 1: 22 (KJV)
22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
If a Christian sin because the devil deceives him, that is one thing. But if he deceives himself, that is a far more serious matter.–WW
It is implied here, that by merely hearing the word but not doing it, they would deceive their own souls. The nature of this deception was this, that they would imagine that that was all which was required, whereas the main thing was that they should be obedient. If a man supposes that by a mere punctual attendance on preaching, or a respectful attention to it, he has done all that is required of him, he is laboring under a most gross self-deception. And yet there are multitudes who seem to imagine that they have done all that is demanded of them when they have heard attentively the word preached. Of its influence on their lives, and its claims to obedience, they are utterly regardless.
The exhortation from James is very important for us as it was for them. He was conscious of the danger of hearing and not doing, because he had previously been like this himself, and he had seen among the Jews how easy it was to be a hearer in the synagogues every Sabbath and yet not be a doer. He had seen it also among the Pharisees. He does not want this repeated among the new Israel. They had heard this doctrine; they had believed it; but they had put it to no practical use. They were downright Antinomians, who put a sort of stupid, inactive faith in the place of all moral righteousness. They were to obey the gospel, and do not merely listen to it. It is not enough to be a hearer, or a receiver of the saving word delivered in the synagogue, and then go out and transgress it in the world. By considering that listening to be sufficient, and omitting to be also doers, we glide into a self-deception. We imagine we are quite good, while in fact we are unsaved. Going to church, reading the Bible, and yet neglecting a holy life, is a delusive course.
The implanted word, or the word of truth, must be so heard and received as to produce a corresponding course of action. Practice, and not opinion, is the desired effect of the reception of the word. The Jews have a proverb among themselves: ‘He who hears the law, and does not practice it, is like a man who ploughs and sows, but never reaps.’ It is, however, to be observed that James does not in the slightest degree depreciate the hearing of the word; he only asserts the superior importance of the doing of the word. ‘Be not only hearers of the word, but be also doers.’ We likewise are being call out not only to be hearers of the word which is proclaimed to us, as those who have received the truth, but also to be doers of it. And indeed, the hearing is in order to the doing; if this be wanting, the hearing is of no value.
Have a great and God filled day!