Summary of James 4:11-17:
James says not to slander one another for this is in essence slandering the law and judging it. There is only one Lawgiver (God) and Judge (God and Christ). Who are we to judge?
James blasts those who make plans without God. For our life is a mist that vanishes after a while and we do not know what tomorrow will bring. We must ask first if it is the Lord’s will, then we will do this or that. Otherwise, you are boasting, which is evil. Anyone who knows the good and doesn’t do it sins.
BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 29, Day 4: James 4:11-17
9) Part Personal Question. My answer: Boasting, judging others. I struggle with all sin. It truly doesn’t matter which one it is.
10) Part personal question. My answer: God. Pray, and do your best to follow God’s will for your life and for your planning process, but know that He can change plans anytime He wants.
11) Personal Question. My answer: Don’t take anything for granted. Do the good God has placed in your heart to do. Life as He wants me to live.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 29, Day 4: James 4:11-17
Extremely powerful words in light of the coronavirus: “You do not even know what will happen tomorrow.” “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”
If you don’t do good when you know you should, you sin.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 29, Day 4: James 4:11-17
Humbling ourselves and getting right with God must result in our getting right with other people. When we are right with other people, it will show in the way we talk about them. So we must not speak evil of one another and not judge our brother.
- Love one another
- Not judge
When we judge our brother, we put ourselves in the same place as the law, in effect judging the law. This is something that we have no authority to do, because there is one Lawgiver.
James rebuked the kind of heart that lives and makes its plans apart from a constant awareness of the hand of God, and with an underestimation of our own limitations
“In ancient times, people traded from city to city, carrying their goods on the backs of camels. The Jews traded thus to Tyre, Sidon, Caesarea, Crete, Ephesus, Philippi, Thessalonica, Corinth, Rome, etc. And it is to this kind of itinerant mercantile life that St. James alludes.” (Clarke)
“There are two great certainties about things that shall come to pass – one is that God knows, and the other is that we do not know.” (Spurgeon)
We Live By God’s Grace Alone
James asked us to consider the fragility of human life, and the fact that we live and move only at the permission of God. James does not discourage us from planning and doing, only from planning and doing apart from reliance on God.
Jesus told a story about the rich man who made his great plans for the future, and foolishly lost it all when his soul was required of him (Luke 12:16-21).
James knows that it is far easier to think about and talk about humility and dependence on God than it is to live it.
The uncertainty of life should make us ready to recognize what is good and then do it.
Jesus told a story with much the same point in Luke 12:41-48. The story was about servants and how they obeyed the master in the master’s absence. Jesus concluded the story with this application: For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more (Luke 12:48). Greater light gives greater responsibility.