A People Under the Word - Gospel in Life

A People Under the Word

Tim Keller |  November 29, 2009

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  • Doctrine
  • The Bible
  • Christian Living and Obedience
James 1:18-27
RS 317-02


The book of James is a very practical book that gives us clear direction on how to live the Christian life. It asks these questions, “If you have had an encounter with God through belief in Christ, what will your life look like on the ground? How does belief in Christ make a difference in real life?” That’s what the book of James is about.

This particular text tells us something very important. If you have a new and living relationship with God, then you will have a new and living relationship with God’s Word. This relationship with God’s Word is marked by three things: 1) you’ll be humbled by the Word; 2) you’ll be shaped by the Word; and 3) you’ll be liberated by the Word.

Understanding James 1:18–27

In the book of James, we learn about the power of God’s Word to change our lives. It’s not just about hearing the Word, but also living it out. This includes being a good listener, speaking less, controlling our anger, and practicing self-control, all of which guide us towards a good life. The true mark of a genuine faith is also described – it involves caring for those in need and staying pure from the negative influences of the world.

1. The Word teaches us humility

The Holy Spirit uses the Word of Truth to guide us in our spiritual growth. As Christians, we respect and follow the teachings of the Bible, which guide our lives and decisions. It’s not about doing what’s popular or what we personally want, but about aligning our lives with the Bible’s teachings, just like Jesus did.

2. The Word shapes us

James 1:27 shows us that real faith involves caring for those who are less fortunate, standing up for what’s right, and keeping our lives clean from sinful influences. Sometimes, people will focus on one side of this – like fighting for justice but forgetting about personal purity, or sticking to traditional values but not caring for those in need. A life and church that are truly shaped by God’s Word will balance both social responsibility and personal purity, showing whether we’re being led by God’s wisdom or the world’s ideas.

3. The Word sets us free

The Word of God has a powerful ability to transform us, especially when we really dive into it and try to understand it. This personal relationship with the Word goes beyond just knowing facts – it can lead to true freedom and happiness. The Bible teaches us about forgiveness, loving God, and seeing Jesus Christ as the one who sets us free and fulfills the law.



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