Tim Keller | January 28, 1996
The book of James tells us that our words are really important. If we can control what we say, we can control a lot of other things in our life too. James also says that you can tell if someone’s faith is real by how they talk, how they treat people who don’t have much, and how they interact with the world. James gives a serious warning to teachers, reminding them that they’ll be judged more strictly. This highlights the importance of our words and gives us practical advice on how to use words to heal and communicate well.
1. Christians are judged
Christians will be judged by God for what they do, but they won’t be condemned for their sins because Jesus took that punishment for us. God’s judgment isn’t about whether He loves us or if we’re part of His family, but rather about how we’ve used the gifts and resources He’s given us. It’s like a parent evaluating their child’s behavior. God’s judgment encourages us to be responsible and accountable with what He’s entrusted to us.
2. “To whom much is given, of them much will be required.”
This idea from Luke 12:48 means that people who have been blessed with a lot – a good church, loving parents, a nice home, good education, a successful career – are expected to be humble and use their blessings well. When we interact with people who are struggling with their faith, we should be humble. After all, God might be more pleased with their faith than with the faith of those who have been given much.
3. Don’t envy or resent church teachers
Being a leader in the church requires good character and qualifications. James warns us not to be jealous of or resentful towards these leaders, and cautions against the potential misuse of power by church teachers. He emphasizes the power of words and the consequences they can bring, underlining the need to control our speech. James also talks about “Sonship”, which is the idea that we are saved by grace. He ends with a prayer for wisdom in our speech and for the raising up of qualified church teachers.
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In his book Counterfeit Gods, Tim Keller shows us how a proper understanding of the Bible reveals the truth about societal ideals and our own hearts — and that there is only one God who can wholly satisfy our cravings and fulfill our hopes.
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