Life-Study of Jamesby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In the foregoing message we began to point out how in the Epistle of James we see a life that is not fully according to and for God’s New Testament economy. Thus far, we have covered eight characteristics of such a life as found in this book: still keeping the twelve tribes of the Old Testament dispensation, possessing the divine life through the divine birth, receiving the implanted word, keeping the perfect law of freedom in the Old Testament practice, mixing with the practice of the recovered Old Testament dispensation, still keeping the Old Testament law of letter, behaving by the wisdom with the Old Testament flavor, and having the indwelling Spirit only for dealing with the world.
In this message we shall consider some other characteristics of a life that is not fully according to and for God’s New Testament economy.
According to 4:15, James would have us say, “If the Lord wills, we will both live and do this or that.” Many Christians are fond of verses 13 through 17 of the book of James. In 4:13 James indicates that we should not say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into this or that city and spend a year there, and do business and make a profit.” Then in verse 14 James goes on to say, “You who do not know what your life will be tomorrow; for you are a vapor, appearing for a little while, and then disappearing.” Therefore, we should say, “If the Lord wills....” However, this way of living is according to the way of the Old Testament saints. New Testament saints, on the contrary, should be led by the Spirit. In Romans 8:14 Paul says, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” To be led by the Spirit of God is very different from saying that we will do this or that “if the Lord wills.” New Testament saints are those who are led by the Spirit in their daily living. Suppose a brother says, “If the Lord so wills, I will love my wife,” or a sister says, “If the Lord so wills, I will be in subjection to my husband.” This is not the way of the New Testament. Someone who follows the Old Testament way might say, “If the Lord wills, I will go shopping tomorrow. But if the Lord does not so will, what can I do except stay home?” Instead of this, we all must learn in our living to be led by the Spirit. Day by day and even moment by moment, we should be led by the indwelling Spirit.
We have seen that in his Epistle James does not seem to make a clear distinction between Christians and Jews, between God’s New Testament economy and the Old Testament dispensation. He addresses this Epistle to the twelve tribes (1:1) and even uses the term “synagogue” (2:2) to indicate an assembling place for Jewish Christians. Then in a parenthetical section (5:1-6) James seems to speak to the rich class among the Jews in general. Therefore we say that here we have a mixture with the Jews of the Old Testament dispensation.
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