Skip to main content

James 4:17: So Whoever Knows The Right Thing To Do And Fails To Do It, For Him It Is Sin.

James 4:17
[17] So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. (ESV)

I have known people who thought that they were going to heaven based on the fact that they did not do anything that warranted their being punished. It is one of many lies that man believes. We think that because we are better than the really evil people (murderers, rapists, people who disagree with us) we somehow will be declared right before God.

Enter James 4:17. James takes the standard of God's holiness and makes it even more impossible for us to attain. He is saying here that it isn't avoiding sins that is all that is required. He tells us that if you knew the right thing to do and you did not do it, you have sinned. Is there anyone on the planet who can honestly say that they have always done every right thing they knew they should have done?

God's standard of holiness requires that we avoid sin, and also that we do the righteous things he has required. The more we look into this perfect standard we find that we simply do not match up. We could find all kinds of righteous things to do for God but then realize we forgot to do even more. Avoiding one thing that we know we ought to do is for us, sin.

What is to be done about this predicament that we find ourselves in? We go to the cross. We recognize that Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of all of God's Law. I am not holy because I behave in a holy manner. I am declared holy because of my faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the perfect fulfillment of the law, on my behalf. The perfect holiness required by God is only done by Jesus Christ.

Are you still looking to your own efforts to be made right with God? You could never do enough righteous things. Even if you could stop doing wrong things, you would not do enough right things. Confess your sin. Ask Jesus to forgive you. Place your faith in his death and resurrection. 


Popular posts from this blog

Romans 8:18: For I Consider That The Sufferings Of This Present Time Are Not Worth Comparing

Romans 8:18 [18] For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. (ESV) Perspective. What an important word. Let's be honest. We do not like the idea of suffering. We will do almost anything to avoid any kind of suffering. Some churches have gone so far as to preach against the idea of suffering, declaring it to not be a part of the true believer's life. Paul is not shy about the topic. Paul uses the sufferings of this present time as a means to consider the greater glory that awaits us. Perspective. Paul is not in any way attempting to diminish our suffering. A view toward eternity puts our suffering in a proper understanding. Yes, our suffering is terrible. In the grand scheme of eternity it is not even worth comparison. Maybe you are thinking that Paul does not know what he is talking about when it comes to suffering. In 2 Corinthians 11 Paul describes countless beatings, often near death,

Romans 11:24: For If You Were Cut From What Is By Nature A Wild Olive Tree, And Grafted, Contrary To Nature, Into A Cultivated Olive Tree . . .

Romans 11:24 [24] For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree. (ESV) We continue looking at the illustration of an olive tree. The root of the tree is the covenant relationship relationship of God with Abraham. Abraham's faith is what this spiritual tree is built on. The first branches would have been the faithful people of Israel, who like Abraham, placed their faith in God. They believed God, just like Abraham, and it was credited to them as righteousness. There were branches of the people of Israel who never placed their faith in God. Because these branches were not true followers of God they were broken off of the tree. Faith in God was the essential element that made the branches true branches of this spiritual tree. Some branches remained. Others, the faithless unbelievers, were removed. After Jesu

Romans 15:20-21: And Thus I Make It My Ambition To Preach The Gospel, Not Where Christ Has Already Been Named

Romans 15:20–21 [20] and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else's foundation, [21] but as it is written, “Those who have never been told of him will see, and those who have never heard will understand.” (ESV) We need to be reminded continually that the message of the Gospel is intended to move all across the world. Jesus said that his followers were to preach the Gospel, starting in Jerusalem, and continue preaching the Gospel to the whole world. Christians have not always been good at delivering the Gospel message as far and as often as they should. In the first century church it took intense persecution to motivate the disciples in Jerusalem to bring the Gospel to Judea and Samaria. Once the disciples fled to new regions they shared the Gospel wherever they went. Would the disciples have preached the Gospel without the persecution? We may never know. Some probably would have stayed in their co