Book information

Life-Study of Jamesby Witness Lee

ISBN: 0-7363-2047-4
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry

Currently in: Chapter 13 of 14 Section 1 of 5

LIFE-STUDY OF JAMES

MESSAGE THIRTEEN

A LIFE NOT FULLY
ACCORDING TO AND FOR
GOD’S NEW TESTAMENT ECONOMY

(1)

Scripture Reading: James 1:1, 17-18, 21, 25; 2:2, 9-10; 3:13, 17; 4:4-5

In the Gospel of Mark we see a life—the life of the Lord Jesus—that is fully according to and for God’s New Testament economy. By contrast, in the Epistle of James we see a life that is not fully according to and for God’s New Testament economy. In this message and in the message following we shall consider a number of points in the book of James that indicate a mixture of the New Testament economy with the Old Testament dispensation.

James was a very godly man, and, humanly speaking, he was quite wise. But in instance after instance we see that James was occupied too much with Old Testament matters. No doubt, he was saturated, soaked, with the feeling, flavor, and atmosphere of the Old Testament. We cannot find a strong indication with James that he passed through the Old Testament dispensation fully into the New Testament economy. Probably James had been baptized. However, according to his writings, I do not believe that he ever experienced a thorough termination and burial of himself along with all the things of the past, both good and bad,

STILL KEEPING THE TWELVE TRIBES
OF THE OLD TESTAMENT DISPENSATION

In his Epistle James still keeps the twelve tribes of the Old Testament dispensation. This is indicated by the way James begins this book: “James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes in the dispersion (1:1).” The fact that James addresses his Epistle to the twelve tribes in the dispersion may indicate the lack of a clear view concerning the distinction between Christians and Jews, between God’s New Testament economy and the Old Testament dispensation. James may not have been clear that God in the New Testament has delivered and separated the Jewish believers in Christ from the Jewish nation. Therefore, the expression “twelve tribes” in 1:1 is too old; it is something of the Old Testament dispensation.

According to Paul’s writings, the Jewish believers in Christ have been called by God out of the old dispensation. In the book of Galatians Paul even regards Judaism as the present evil age: “Who gave Himself for our sins, that He might rescue us out of the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father (1:4).” According to the context of the entire book of Galatians, the present evil age in Galatians 1:4 refers to the religious world, the religious course of the world, the Jewish religion. This is confirmed by Galatians 6:14-15, where circumcision is considered a part of the world, the religious world, which is crucified to the Apostle Paul. Therefore, Paul indicates in the book of Galatians that Christ gave Himself for our sins in order to rescue us out of the Jewish religious world, the present evil age.

The present evil age in Galatians 1:4 is equal to the “perverse generation” in Acts 2:40. On the day of Pentecost Peter told the people to be saved from this perverse generation. How, then, could such a godly person as James address his Epistle, which was written to Christian Jews, to the twelve tribes in the dispersion? This certainly was contrary to God’s New Testament economy.


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