Struggling with the book of James

So you begin to start to come alive inside one day after hearing someone talk about Jesus and what he has “already done for you”.  And you really start studying God’s Word and the writings of Paul really resonate with you. God is full of love and grace and he HAS reconciled us and forgiven us of ALL of our sins, past, present and future.

“We are cleansed and pure simply awaiting the “redemption of our body”, you settle in on according to Romans 8:23.  We are told to “wait expectantly in hope”.  Psalm 33:20, Romans 5:1-5

You are leaping for joy at what you are hearing from within and reading on the pages.  You can feel his fire burning and want to share with everyone you see.  He is doing this inside you are hearing and believing.

Then, you start to read and study the book of James.

And, just like a bucked of cold water on a warm fire, it’s gone. 

The message now become “I must do this myself”… the fire is gone and the works have returned as you are now back under law trying to work for your own righteousness.

You don’t understand.  How can I believe the Bible is true if it tells me TWO different messages?  How could Paul’s message who wrote 2/3 of the new testament be so positive and uplifting and James single book be such a downer?

Well, let me share a few things I have discovered as I have gone through this myself and still do when I am not paying attention.

First, let’s look at who James is and who his message is to.   This is actually VERY surprising when you see  it.

Here is the Greek word for James (the author of the book of James).

Greek word for "James" from James 1:1

Greek word for “James” from James 1:1

 

 

 

 

 

Do you find it interesting that his name is “Jacob” and “us” combined?

Now, let’s look at who the book of James is written to.

James1_1

It is written to the “two-ten” (twelve) tribes THE-ones in the thru-sowing.  If you study the word “thru-sowing” it means a “converted Israelite living in a Gentile nation”.

Could that be us?  Are we revived out of “dead-ones” from OT “Israel”?

Who was OT “Israel”?

Was he not another name for “Jacob” (us)?  Something to consider.

Also, notice he is a “slave” of God.  Are you a slave or a son or both?

Well, I found his specific name in another verse.  He is one of the two “sons of Zebedee” in Matthew 10:2 and John is “the brother of him”.  Strangely enough, he is also in the very next verse too.  Let’s see.

Matthew10_3

It’s also a good idea to reference Luke 10:1 in how the disciples are sent out.  They are always sent in groups of two or “duo”.  I have coupled them together that way so we can see who truly is the “Tribute” or “tax” collector.  Many believe it is Matthew.

Do you see how that verse reads with that in mind?

“Jacobus” or James is “THE tribute (tax) collector”!  So, who pays the tax the sons or the subjects (slaves)?  Matt 17:26

Also, ponder the word “syntax” as in “sintax” and the words of Paul that “the power of sin is death and the law is the strength of sin”.  Sin only exist where there is law.  Romans 4:15

There’s no doubt that the message of James is heavy law teaching where we are required to perform in order to obtain something.  Could his message be for those of the next age for those who refused God’s free gift of grace (salvation as a 100% free give that can NOT be earned)?

What does it mean to be a “tribute” or “tax collector”?  Is it collecting the payment for being “guilty”?

Could guilt created by believing you are (still) trying to fulfill the law be the “tax” for the “sin” (of unbelief)?

Who should you believe?  Paul or James?

I say follow your heart, but also have you noticed what occurs to James in Acts 12:2?