13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.
14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.
15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers.
In an earlier blog, we considered James 1:12 in relation to the security question. The very next week in Sunday School, we continued on in the passage and came across the verses below. During the class, the teacher suggested I ask my question to another believer in the church. That was a welcome offer since it gave me a chance to meet another believer.
So after Sunday School we ventured off to discuss the following passage.
My basic question for both teachers was..
• When James mentions death, is he referring to spiritual or physical death?
• If James’ warning is referring to physical death, what threat is that? Everyone dies!
• But if James’ warning is referring to spiritual death, what does that mean?
The believer that I got to chat with boldly stated that the death being referred to in this passage is spiritual. I was somewhat surprised when he said this, since I assumed he would be defending the eternal security doctrine. I asked him how this spiritual death applies to believers. He said it doesn’t. He gave me an illustration of when he preaches on a Sunday morning. He sometimes preaches to the congregation as believers, and sometimes directs his message to the lost within the group. I told him I understood his analogy, but the text seemed to be directed to believers. (See James 1:2, 9, 16, 19, 2:1, 5, 14, 15, 3:1, 10, 12, 4:11, 5:10, 12, and 5:19)
He held on to the idea that James is warning the lost within the congregation. He also mentioned that sin and death was brought up by Paul in Romans 6, but I didn’t see how that strengthened his position in the security discussion. I am afraid he has fallen into a trap that is very familiar to me, that is the practice of bringing my preconceived ideas into a passage. I didn’t mention that to him since he was kind enough to chat with me, and I have found that a well placed question left alone is very powerful. I often think of the fellow who asked me about sin and death in Romans 6:23. He just asked, but I couldn’t let it go. Nevertheless, I told him I appreciated his time and hopefully will be able to discuss other issues in the future.
One of the side issues that came out of this discussion was the curiosity of other believers that passed by. By the end of the discussion, the youth pastor and another christian was involved in the discussion. Each partook in the discussion. I hope it was an edifying time.
I am thankful for the body that my wife and I have found. I pray we can be useful for the Lord among His people.
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