Rev. Hans Fiene, pastor at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Crestwood, MO joins host Rev. Timothy Appel to study James 4:11-17.
God is God; we are not. This is the foundation of this text from James 4. To speak evil against a brother in Christ by judging him in an evil way is not simply to sin against your brother. It is a sin against God and His Law. One who judges his brother in this way usurps the place of God as lawgiver and judge. Instead, James calls us to trust God as God to be the One who will both save and destroy according to His will. In a similar way, no Christian dare usurp God’s vocation as the One who directs all of history. Our plans can never boast against that which God gives and desires, for our lives are here today and gone tomorrow. Such truth would lead us to despair except for the grace of God. Our value is found in the way God has loved us in His Son Jesus Christ. Because of Jesus, we belong to the God who created the heavens and the earth.
“Wisdom from Above” is a mini-series on Sharper Iron that goes through the Epistle of St. James. Contrary to what some might claim, this short epistle does not contradict St. Paul. Instead, St. James makes different, yet complementary, points concerning the Christian life. Written in a style similar to the wisdom literature of the Old Testament, this insightful epistle comforts, confronts, and strengthens Christians to live a life of good works that flow from God’s gift of faith, even in the midst of trials.
Sharper Iron, hosted by Rev. Timothy Appel, looks at the text of Holy Scripture both in its broad context and its narrow detail, all for the sake of proclaiming Christ crucified and risen for sinners. Two pastors engage with God’s Word to sharpen not only their own faith and knowledge, but the faith and knowledge of all who listen.
Sharper Iron is underwritten by Lutheran Church Extension Fund, where your investments help support the work of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Visit lcef.org.
11 Do not speak evil against one another, brothers.[a] The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12 There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?
Boasting About Tomorrow
13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
James 4:11 Or brothers and sisters
English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.