Lesson From James 1.21
Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
“Receive with meekness the implanted word…” The word of God is to be “implanted” in the sense that the change in one’s life reflects that a new master rules. Sin no longer reigns because of repentance. What caused this change? The word? Well, notice that that word had to be “receive[d] with meekness.”
Who was to do the receiving? Would it not be the hearer of the word? Simple to understand, isn’t it? This shows that salvation involves two parties: God (the provider/source of the word) and man (the one in need of salvation). God, because of his grace, offers man salvation through his Son. Man has a choice: to accept or refuse this offer. There are terms and conditions laid out by God in his gracious offer, one of which is to repent. Man, in receiving “with meekness” this word of salvation, must comply with God’s command to repent, for God has commanded all to repent (Acts 17.30).
Repentance is but one condition that God has, in his grace, called upon man to fulfill. It is certainly not a work of merit, but simple obedience; or as James words it, the way to “receive with meekness” God’s word. Repentance never occurs without a reason. That reason for choosing to change how you are living is belief in God’s promise of eternal life through his Son.
In order for your belief to save, you must “receive with meekness” what God has commanded. You will repent and live for Christ. Saving faith obeys. This is what the Biblical phrase “obedience of faith” means (cf. Romans 1.5; 16.26; James 2.17-22).
The “works” of James 2 that “perfect” faith are acts of obedience. Abraham’s offering of Isaac was called a “work”; not a work of merit, but an act of obedience:; obedience to a command of God. Abraham believed God, and did as God commanded. In doing so, his faith was made perfect.
This receiving “with meekness” is an ongoing process. Faith and obedience are to continue. Paul expressed his thanks of the continued obedience of those in the church at Rome (Romans 16.19). Their obedience was “known by all.” Their obedient faith was an encouragement to other disciples.
So will it be with you and me. Do we have saving faith? How can we be certain? Examine your own obedience for the assurance. Obedience is your expression of love for God’s word. It ensures your continued fellowship with the Father and Son. As the apostle John stated, “He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son” (2 John 1.9).