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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Day 103 (Works)

[reaction to OYB's Nov. 17-21 readings]

Today's readings include the entire letter of James, and the most famous chapter Ezekiel. The latter is so famous it's a song, YouTube version. In Ezekiel 14, like end of Isaiah and Jeremiah, we get a peak at some hope with the famous vision of the dry bones, once Ezekiel prophesies to them as instructed by YHWH, come back to life.

James is probably my favorite letter so far. James says, "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." (1:22) Also, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." (1:27). In political terms, that would be fiscally liberal, socially conservative. On the idea of faith or works, James says, "faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." (2:17) Finally, the letter supports not giving up on people by concluding, "Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins." (5:19)


Matt Dick said...

James is another one of those books that evangelicals get exactly wrong. Not like wrong as in they miss the point, and not wrong in that they mistake a metaphor for an immutable law, but wrong like saying black is white.


JimII said...

My understanding is that James' emphasis on works causes many fundamentalist to disdain the book in general.

Matt Dick said...

Right, it was works that I was mostly thinking of. I mean how can you read James at *all* and come to the "only by grace" conclusion?

I would be semi-fine with that, if they also weren't the same folks who say they take the book "literally" and believe it's infallible. You can't agree that James is part of the infallibility *and* maintain that you are saved by grace alone. You just can't.