Come Follow Me LDS- James Part 1 (Nov 18-24)

The ‘Works of James

–  James 1:5 perfectly brings together both Works and Grace/Faith in a scripture for the restoration.

–  The Golden Rule and The ‘Platinum’ Rule

–  We must have both Works and Grace/Faith for Salvation

–  3rd Article of Faith show us this

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Come Follow Me LDS- James Part 1 (Nov 18-24)

The ‘Works of James – James 1:5 perfectly brings together both Works and Grace/Faith in a scripture for the restoration.

Raw Transcript

n this episode we talk about the works

of James here we go alright so the

Epistle of James a couple things to give

us a little bit of a background on James

we’re not sure exactly when this epistle

was written and not even a hundred

percent sure of who this was written by

but most scholars believe that it was

written by James the brother of the Lord

that would be James the just who was

kind of like the Bishop of Jerusalem and

he’s writing this to Christian Jews and

this epistle is kind of there’s two

things that I would point out up front

on it number one is that it is kind of a

coming from on the other side of the

book of Hebrews and many of the epistles

of Paul as far as works and grace go so

we’re going to talk again about works and

grace here from a little bit of a

different point of view as far as

emphasis anyway on the site of works the

other thing is that the Epistle of

James is kind of like wisdom literature

in other words if you were to go through

the book of Proverbs in some of Psalms

and maybe a little bit of Job you’re

going to find some things in here

whether it’s just kind of some

recommendations on how to live and

little nuggets of wisdom that you would

find in this epistle but as far as the

the epistle itself goes early on as a

part of the Canon of the New Testament

a lot a lot of times this was not

allowed in to the Canon and I think some

of it had to do with the fact that it

really does have a little bit more of a

focus on works and we even find

this epistle that the words that are

translated into English actually help

defer the works versus the faith Sahar

Hale here so we’ll go into that as well

but let’s start off here in chapter one

and here’s what we get in verse one

James a servant of God and of the Lord

Jesus Christ to the twelve tribes which

are scattered abroad greeting so that’s

really kind of interesting right is it’s

not just to the Jews so to speak when we

talked about the Jews today at least who

are we really talking about we’re

talking about the lower kingdom what was

left of the lower kingdom that came back

from Babylon not the ten tribes that

were taken away from the battle with

Assyria so most of the Jews that we

would we would talk about today or even

during the time here of the New

Testament are from the tribes of Judah

Benjamin and some of the Levites you

know of course there’s others that are

going to be mixed in there but that’s the

majority of who we’re talking about and

here just interestingly enough James

here is talking about all of the twelve

tribes of Israel and then we’re going to

get right into the works and faith with

James here and see what his approach is

going to be let’s go down to verse four

it says but let patience have her

perfect work now perfect here again is

from teleos– right this is going to be

teleon meaning completion right it’s

it’s done and again it’s a good way

to think about this and in temple terms

of going all the way through the temple

and completing the journey through the

temple into the Holy of Holies and so

let patience have her perfect work in

other words it’s going to take works to

get through to perfection as well that

ye may be perfect completed teleos and

entire

wanting nothing so in this time of trial

and patience we’re going to be required

to perform works which is a natural

thing to consider right because we need

to have works to become something works

are the fruit of our faith works are

what help us manifest our agency and who

we are becoming and so if we’re going to

follow the example of the Savior and not

just be grateful to him for saving us so

to speak but we’re actually going to try

and become something and look at his

atonement his sacrifice as not only

something that saves us but actually

looking at the atonement and as being

saved as something more about who we can

become what doors it opens up for us

what opportunities are laid before us

where we can make decisions and we can

manifest those decisions through our

works and then we get to the famous LDS

scripture which is James 1:5 this is

what Joseph Smith had been reading and

contemplating as he gives us in the

Joseph Smith history that leads him to

go to the sacred grove now in a primary

sense in a very simple sense we read

this and think okay well he was maybe

reading this one day and really thinking

about it or even a few days and then he

finally went out and said okay I need

to ask of God but he was actually

contemplating this for a very long time

in this scripture really stuck out to

him but it was a long time that he

really had pondered upon this and so

here we go with verse five it is if any

of you lack wisdom let him ask of God

that giveth to all men liberally and

upbraideth not and it shall be given him

I think that this is in in the context

of looking at the entire New Testament

that we have gone through here and

looking at the epistles of Paul and

now this Epistle of James that this is a

perfect little what should we call it

it’s it’s a perfect conjoin er of

both works and faith so in other words

if you lack wisdom then you’re going to

go to the Lord in faith that you’re

going to receive an answer but you’re

going to go to the Lord you’re going to

go pray those are your works and

therefore your faith in receiving an

answer is only going to work if you have

the works that manifest that faith and

that is what seems to launch the entire

restoration here is this bringing

together of faith and works which is

kind of neat to think about when you

look back at the New Testament and see

how so much of this is focused on this

side of works and this side of faith and

how they work together and then seeing

that this has been lost in many ways

over the centuries since the time of the

writings of the New Testament and then

brought back into restoration into an

understanding of the doctrine of faith

and works by this scripture that can

joins both of these and it’s the faith

and the works of Joseph Smith here being

going to the Lord in prayer that then

opens the veil and begins the

restoration and of course we can narrow

this down to our cells also right and

how we are going to have the veil rent

for us and how we could receive

revelation it’s just as president Eyring

said recently I saw him in one of his

visits here recently

somewhere in the u.s. he said the

closer we get try to get to him to God

the closer he will get to us and so

faith on its own isn’t enough we have to

have works

under the law of God that move us toward

God so that we can grow in faith and

manifest our faith and then this is

qualified here in verse 6 it says but

let him ask in faith nothing wavering

for he that wave earth is like a wave of

the sea driven with the wind and tossed

so the wavering being tossed around the

the waters and the sea are oftentimes

depicted as chaos why do you think about

the beginning of creation and how the

light comes across the deep right

there’s chaos out there and then the

light comes or the new creation that

happens with Noah right and you have the

waters that cover the earth or at least

a portion of the earth and that is chaos

and so it’s a great example here you

don’t have anything firm or in order

unless you have faith something that is

secure and anchored on something perfect

like the Savior and our Heavenly Father

then he says a double minded man is

unstable in all his ways in other words

if we are speaking one way or act one

way but also act another way we’ve got a

foot away from the iron rod and we’ve

got a foot at the iron rod then we’re

going to be completely unstable and I’ve

seen that in my own life where I’ve got

certain principles that I’ve kind of

held on to a little bit at times but

kind of not and there’s definitely

instability at least in that thing what

are we told elsewhere let no man serve

two servants so James is saying to us

you need to be all in both feet need to

be in otherwise you’re going to be

unstable that might also apply to us if

we are preaching of one thing but doing

another and I think the hardest place

for that where we get advice oftentimes

in the scriptures is judgment where it

is much easier to judge other people but

then we don’t want to be judged

ourselves

that would be double-minded and down in

verse 12 it says blessed is the man that

endureth temptation or trials for when

he is tried he shall receive the crown

of life so again this to me is temple

imagery right the process of going

through the temple you start at the east

gate you open that up you go out into

the court and you move further and

further in toward the holy of Holy’s on

the west side right so why is it built

that way the Sun comes up on the east

and it sets down on the west that’s the

way the temple is built well the temple

of Solomon is built and in fact most

temples would be built that way even

outside of Jewish or LDS temples and so

as you move through that progress

through temple the Solomon’s Temple

you’re passing through trials and

tribulations you’re getting stronger as

you move forward because you’re making

stronger covenants and you’re moving

toward holier and holier ground until

you finally get to the throne of God and

you are crowned with the crown of life

it’s like being at the Tree of Life and

then he says which the Lord hath

promised to them that love him and again

I think that love should almost always

be looked at as a verb right it’s not

that all we have this feeling of love

for him that’s not that’s the fruit of

love the actual love of God is that we

have moved through the process we have

gone through the trials and tribulations

we have repented we have made the we

have used our agency to bring us closer

to God and to get to the Holy of Holies

that’s love it’s what we sacrifice and

how we use our agency and then we get a

lot of this wisdom type of phrases

wisdom literature about how we should

behave pieces of advice that you might

get from a parent

and then down here as a part of that he

says in 22 be doers of the word and not

hearers only deceiving your own self or

your own selves so again what he is

emphasizing here is that you have to

work you have to have works be doers of

the word and not just hearers of the

word what is the point of hearing the

word if you’re not going to apply it and

in 23:4 if any be a hearer of the word

and not a doer he is like unto a man

beholding his natural face in a glass or

a mirror for he beholdeth himself and

goeth his way and straightway forgetteth

what matter what manner of man he was so

if we can imagine looking in the mirror

and realizing that we are in the image

of God that we are sons and daughters of

God and seeing that in the reflection

and that’s what we hear right that’s

what we know who we are and then we walk

away from the mirror and forget who we

are and we hear the word but we don’t

act on the word we don’t follow the

example of our Savior and then here in

the King James Version it doesn’t change

as much but a lot of newer translations

where the same Greek word Ergo or heir

gone is used for works you’ll see some

changes here even in the King James

Version not as much but you’re going to see

words like deeds or words like actions

in a number of the translations in the

Bible today so that they pull away from

this works right because there’s this

Protestant focus on pushing away works

where Paul had not a total but a little

bit more of an emphasis on grace over

works so here James doesn’t fit in that

well with this because we know that both

are necessary both grace and we’re

are necessary and Paul’s message had

always been look we’ve only focused on

the law up to now we know that that

isn’t right it cannot provide you with

salvation you can’t work your way to God

and that was his message he had to get

the Jews away from that thought in

understanding that it is grace that

ultimately gives us salvation

you can’t just follow everything or try

to follow everything and earn your way

back but James is coming from the other

side and he’s actually going to use a

number of examples that Paul uses but

from the side of works and showing how

both of these have to work together and

so here in 25 we get but whoso looketh

into the perfect law of Liberty and

continueth therein I love the term the

law the law of Liberty right in other

words there is a law to follow that

helps us be free

that’s God’s law he being not a

forgetful hearer so he doesn’t just hear

the word but a doer of the work this man

shall be blessed in his deed right or

this man shall be blessed in his works

that’s what that sayings the same exact

greek word and then he ends the chapter

here with what he sees as pure religion

it says pure religion and undefiled

before God and the father is this to

visit the fatherless and widows in their

affliction and to keep himself unspotted

from the world

Joseph Smith inserts in here from the

vices of the world so two things is what

James is saying here pure religion is

service number one again it’s reaching

down and lifting up those that are the

downtrodden the poor the weak those that

need to be lifted up it is the golden

rule and secondarily it is to purify

ourselves based off our works and based

off of our decisions of what where we’re

going to set boundaries

right what is off-limits we do that by

covenant and then adhering to that

covenant and then we get this advice

about how to treat those that are rich

and those that are poor and that we

treat everybody the same way and he

gives the example of somebody coming

into church and they’re dressed really

nicely great a nice apparel they’ve got

the latest fashion and the biggest

labels that they’re wearing the best

brands and we invite them in to sit in

you know for example hey come in and sit

in front here and then the person that

walks in that’s all straggly and isn’t

very well-kept and we say you know maybe

you maybe you ought to sit toward the

back and so James are saying no you need

to treat everybody the same everybody

has the same value everyone is an

individual everyone is a child of God

and so that’s important for us to do to

apply to our congregations and try not

to judge give people the benefit of the

doubt and remember that we’re going to be

judged by the way that we judge in other

words God is going to judge us based on

how we judge others and in verse 8 this

is what we get

it says if he fulfill the Royal law

interesting see how he’s using James’s

using law on purpose to go along with

works if you fulfill the Royal law well

fulfill here is also from teleos if

you complete the law according to the

scripture thou shalt love thy neighbor

as thyself ye do well and I think again

I’ve said this before but I think that

this is one of the primary teachings

that not only strengthens us

individually but strengthens our society

that has strengthened for example the

Christian world is this idea of treating

others as you would like to be treated

just that simple golden rule that most

of us aren’t great at all the time but

it’s there some people are better at it

than others and in 13 we get what I

all the platinum rule it says for he

shall have judgment without mercy that

hath shewed no mercy and mercy rejoiceth

against judgment or a better way

to look at this if you look at the

underlying Greek is probably and mercy

triumphs over judgment judgement would be

that cherubim in the Garden of Eden

the mercy of Christ is what gets us past

the cherubim to the Tree of Life but

what it says here is if we judge others

without mercy then we’re going to be

judged without mercy it’s a good thing

to keep in mind even I don’t know I mean

it sounds almost selfish sometimes but

obviously what it is it’s changing

our hearts to be more like the heart of

the Savior I don’t think he judged any

of us in a way that said you’re not

worthy of my pain you’re not worthy of

this kind of a sacrifice of this kind of

a suffering to anybody and in 14 we get

back to this work and the works and

faith it says what does it profit my

brethren that a man say he hath faith

and have not works can faith save him

right in other words he’s saying no you

know what is the point of being

able to rely on the atonement if you

don’t have the works to manifest that

faith if you don’t have the service to

others if you don’t have the strength

and conviction of your agency to make

the choices and to exert the effort to

manifest the faith that you have you can

have all the faith in the world in the

Savior and in your opportunity but

unless you actually manifest that it’s

pretty much for naught and in 17 even so

faith if it hath not works is dead being

alone right so faith is dead it doesn’t

exist it’s nothing remember how Paul

continually talked about how the law is

dead it’s a dead law well it is a dead

law unless now the law of Moses yes but

the law of God is a dead law if you

don’t have the grace in the atonement of

Jesus Christ because it doesn’t get you

anywhere

it is the Aaronic priesthood alone right

but on the other hand faith and mercy

are dead without any works because it’s

for naught it’s useless what’s the point

of it if we look at mercy and grace as

the love of God giving us opportunity

then the question is are we going to

take advantage of that opportunity are

we going to grow and if we look at the

idea of salvation not as just something

where we believe in Christ we have faith

in Christ and therefore we are going to

go to heaven and play a harp and sing

but we look at salvation as who we are

going to become and the ability to grow

and be fulfilled and to become like the

Savior and follow his example then

obviously works are required with that

that is how we grow is utilizing the

faith and that’s James message here 18

yay a man may say thou hast faith and I

have works in other words they’re both

by themselves shew me thy faith without

thy works and I will shew thee my faith

by my works so there it is he’s talking

about how a true faith is manifested

through our works Joseph Smith actually

inserts in here that faith without works

he specifically says it cannot save you

and if you look at the third article of

faith you’ll see that we need both the

atonement of Jesus Christ and our works

which would be our obedience or our use

of agency our proper use of agency and

then in nineteen he says thou believest

that there is one god or thou believest

that God is one

thou doest well so if you believe in God

that’s great but the real word

underlying believest here is pistis it

is faith right so it’s not just a belief

we’re talking about faith versus works

which should not be versus it should be

both so understand that you can have

that side of the equation faith without

works it doesn’t matter Joseph Smith

says in the judgement translation you

make yourself just like them if you are

not exerting works you can believe all

you want it’s not enough and in 20 but

wilt thou know o vain man that faith

without works is dead and then we go

back into where we’ve seen this in the

book of Hebrews and throughout the

epistles of Paul we go into the example

of Abraham and now we’re going to get

the exact opposite of what we’ve talked

about before where we’ve talked about

Abraham showing his faith this is all

obviously a very central point at least

to the Christians and maybe to the Jews

as well in talking about faith but here

are Christians that were the Christians

it’s obviously faith in Jesus Christ

using Abraham as this example where

Abraham goes through trials and

tribulations Abraham and Sarah but

continues to have faith in Jesus Christ

he leans on the Lord and eventually

Isaac is born and even after being told

he had to sacrifice Isaac he had faith

and then it was all counted to him as

righteousness

right all of this was counted to him as

righteousness his faith was counted to

him as righteousness as what we’ve been

told before well how did he manifest

that faith how did he manifests the

faith when he was told he needed a

sacrifice Isaac well he did the works he

went and did that and so James takes

that point of view here and he says in

21 was not Abraham our Father justified

by works

when he had offered Isaac his son upon

the altar seest thou how faith wrought

with his works faith wrought with his

works and by works was faith made

perfect right in other words the faith

is made perfect or teleos complete the

faith is made complete by the works it’s

not complete in other words it doesn’t

reach its end goal its end purpose its

raison d’etre right without the works I

don’t know if James would have been

written after some of the epistles of

Paul very possible maybe likely maybe

he’s trying to clarify some things here

with those that are already trying to

push away on works

remember again covenant is coming

together where everything has been

pulled apart including the in the fall

of man where we have been separated from

God covenant atonement at one mint is

reaching back out to each other and so

that requires effort on both sides that

requires love on both sides that

requires works on our end and Grace on

his end which even that grace obviously

was made manifest and was made perfect

by Christ’s works he actually had to go

through it otherwise it’s not really the

charity and grace that we think of and

by this then we get back to the

fulfillment of the scripture says in 23

and the scripture was fulfilled which

saith abraham believed god that’s pistis

you had faith in God and it was imputed

unto him for righteousness

again so he’s laying out this framework

here his faith he’s fulfilling the

scripture here his faith in God was

counted as righteousness to him but that

faith

was made perfect by Abraham’s works and

24 you see then how that by works a man

is justified and not by faith only it is

not one or the other it is both that’s

covenant that’s atonement and I love

then after that he follows up with what

we just got through with in Hebrews

chapter 11 where the author of Hebrews

ran down the line of all those Old

Testament prophets and figures including

Abraham and how they had exerted faith

and he’s saying hey I’ve got the same

line of reasoning here but I’m showing

how works made that faith perfect and so

he brings up also here the harlot Rahab

and says in 25 likewise also was not

Rahab the harlot justified by works when

she had received the messengers and had

sent them out another way in other words

again her works were the manifestation

of her faith and made her faith perfect

and then he concludes here in 26 for as

the body without the Spirit is dead so

faith without works is dead also and

this really has been the message of Paul

all along there are many scriptures

that you can extract different verses

and phrases that you can see where he

talks about works being essential it’s

all over the place

he just has more of an emphasis on grace

because of the situation that he’s in he

was a hardcore Pharisee where they were

very focused on the law of Moses

and works and beyond all the other rules

and regulations that the Pharisees put

on everything right they couldn’t stop

it’s kind of like what we’re entering

into today in our society all of these

new social rules that are starting to

come out to limit your agency and to

limit your freedom and that has to do

with your actions and your speech and so

he

is coming from that environment in

trying to push against it and talking to

all of the Jews brand new in this

teaching where he was going out

throughout Asia Minor Greece Syria

Palestine etc and he’s trying to push

away from the thought that it only you

only need works and giving the message

of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and

grace and mercy and that those works

that you are very familiar with he says

all the Jews that isn’t enough and

that’s not going to save you need grace

over here and so there’s more of a focus

on that throughout the pauline letters

to me it’s obvious as we run through the

New Testament that we need both that we

need to do everything that we can to

reach out to God through disciplining

ourselves through making covenants and

holding on to those covenants to obey

and to repent when necessary that’s how

we show our love that’s how we love God

and on the other end we need him because

we can’t get there without him we need

his grace we need to have faith in the

atonement of Jesus Christ to carry us

through on those works and when we do

push forward almost works it makes our

faith perfect and so we push through the

journey of Solomon’s Temple going past

the Sentinels going past the different

objects within the temple going through

trial and tribulation

praying to God to help us move forward

and then finally with both works and

grace entering into the Holy of Holies

and sitting on the throne with I’ll talk

to you next time

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