For one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, for him it is sin.
James 4 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is the source not your pleasures that wage war in your body’s parts? 2 You lust and do not have, so you commit murder. And you are envious and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask with the wrong motives, so that you may spend what you request on your pleasures. 4 You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think that the Scripture says to no purpose, “He jealously desires the Spirit whom He has made to dwell in us”? 6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 7 Submit therefore to God. But resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come close to God and He will come close to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be miserable, and mourn, and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy into gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.
11 Do not speak against one another, brothers and sisters. The one who speaks against a brother or sister, or judges his brother or sister, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it. 12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you, judging your neighbor?
13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” 14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. For you are just a vapor that appears for a little while, and then vanishes away. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” 16 But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. 17 So for one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, for him it is sin.
John 3:16 says: “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Romans 5:8 says: God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. We are called to love others as Christ and God the Father love. In Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus says: “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Upon these two commandments hang the whole Law and the Prophets.” As Christians we are often criticized and called hypocrites if our love does not meet the expectation of the world. Yet, in today’s text it says: You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says to no purpose, “He jealously desires the Spirit whom He has made to dwell in us”? But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit therefore to God. But resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God and He will come close to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Balancing the love for people in the world while remaining free from the love of the things of the world is perhaps one of the most difficult things we must do.
Surely, I don’t have all the answers as to how we are to do this in our lives, but I believe it begins with 1 John 4:19 which says: We love, because He first loved us. Not only are we commanded to love God with our whole heart, soul and mind, we need to recognize that our ability to love and our capacity to love is dependent on first receiving His love for us. God’s love is demonstrated in the cross. If we are to love others as we love ourselves, then we need to love them in a way that demonstrates the cross. We need to cleanse our hands and purify our hearts and submit to God. We need to be led by the Spirit that He has made dwell within us. Romans 12:9 says: Love must be free of hypocrisy. Detest what is evil; cling to what is good.
Today’s text ends saying: For one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, for him it is sin. In Matthew 5:14-16 Jesus says: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Your light must shine before people in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” If we truly love others, we will not embrace the darkness of the world, but rather shine the light of Christ to dispel it. It’s the right thing to do.
Thank You heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ and precious Holy Spirit. Amen.