“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17)
Early in the developing years, we teach our children the difference between right and wrong. We, time and time again, reinforce this instruction as both mandatory and self edifying. Sometimes, this may be a very difficult lesson, but we, as parents, have the responsibility to see that they are raised in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord” (cf Ephesians 6:4). This is one of the ways that we help them develop character and instill responsibility that will be of great value in the years to come.
The development and growing responsibility of a Christian is very similar to that of a child. We too are taught things of importance that will help build Christian character and responsibility that will prove to be useful in the years to come. The authority of the child is their parents (cf Ephesians 6:1,2). The authority of the Christian is the Bible, i.e., their Heavenly Father’s words. “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.” (Psalm 119:9) The Bible teaches us what is right and what is wrong. It is a spiritual Book written for spiritual-minded people, i.e., those of us who call God, “our Heavenly Father.” It is a Book of instruction, inspiration, and edification. Within the pages of this Bible is recorded the mind of God concerning the things He wants us to know. His Word will guard us and guide us through life. His Word will manifest those things that are good and acceptable as well as those things that are not good and displeasing to Him.
Our opening text, James 4:17, comes into a full spiritual revelation of the mind of God for His children. As children of God, He has given us the Instruction Manual (the Bible, His Word) to know what is good so that we may be able to maintain a close walk and loving fellowship with Him. We are instructed of the absolute need we have to worship Him (on a regular basis) in Spirit and Truth. He assures us we are not of this world, therefore, we should not be influenced by the world, its actions, lifestyles and desires. We are told to desire fellowship with likeminded people (Christians) for the purpose of edification (cf John 17:6,8,9,14-16, 23). We know, too, that today we have the local church to help us develop spiritual character and responsibility through the scriptural doctrines that are taught and practiced as God-pleasing. Herein lies the problem of the text, James 4:17, where people who call themselves Christians don’t seem bothered by being disobedient to God...their heavenly Father.
Ask yourself if you are a Christian, Do you know what is good according to the Bible? Are you doing it? Are you faithful to church? More importantly, are you faithful to God’s Word?
Pastor H. Preston Parker