King's Business - 1966-03

through the life where there is consistency o f be­ havior toward all men, regardless of their stand­ ing in society. III. It results in a defiled life (James 4 :8 ). In James 4:8, while giving his solution to the problem of worldliness, the author points out a correlation between doublemindedness and im­ purity of heart: “ Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye doubleminded.” Worldliness is bound to overtake the unstable soul. It can easily be seen that one who is not of a settled opinion in regard to the things of God will easily be swayed when he passes into an en­ vironment where eternal truths are not dominant. He will be a split personality: one thing in church and another at home; one thing in the Christian businessmen’s meeting, but another when he is among secular businessmen. And such is his con­ dition because he is doubleminded and has not reached a settled decision regarding his relation­ ship to the Lord Jesus Christ. To see further James’ dread o f this sin one might investigate 3:13 where Christian teachers are exhorted to make their “behavior” (a trans­ lation to be preferred over “ conversation” ) match up to the content of their teaching. Or for further insight into James’ opinion on this subject, one might look at the characteristics of the wisdom not from above in 3:15-16, and he would find included in the list “ confusion” (or “ disorder” ; the basic meaning of the word is “ instability” ). However it may be described, “ indecision,” “ in­ stability,” “ doublemindedness,” or “being divid­ ed,” it is a sin and is to be shunned. It contaminates so that no matter how good the words a person speaks, the total effect of his life can be negative, if his behavior is inconsistent with what he utters. If the Christian person does not stand firmly upon the one decision he has made to follow Christ, his life is defiled. Thus it can be seen that instability is far from being a virtue in the sight o f God, and the Chris­ tian today is asked the same question as was Eli­ jah’s generation: “How long go ye limping be­ tween the two sides?” (I Kings 18:21, ASV). There can be no combining of the worship o f the Lord with the worship of Baal. We must go one way or the other. God grant that we may decide with Joshua: “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).

the verse could be translated, “ for he who is divided is like a wave o f the sea.” James very emphatically says that such a man will receive nothing from the Lord for the simple reason that he is doubleminded, and therefore unstable. When a wave is driven and tossed by the sea, who knows where it will terminate its movement? It is also thus with the doubleminded person. On the other hand, a stable person will face adversity properly, because God will hear and answer his prayer. II. It has an adverse effect upon our relations with others (James 2 :4 ). This is the writer’s point when he asks, “Are ye not then partial in yourselves?” Again, this is the word for “being divided,” and it could read, “Are ye not then divided in yourselves?” Respect of persons, according to James, is one of the most serious hindrances to the fulfillment of God’s will in the life of a Christian. Here is a well-to-do person who comes into the congregation, one well- known in the community, a successful business­ man. He receives favored treatment. But then the town beggar enters to attend the service. He is brushed off hurriedly, and no one goes out of his way to show kindness to him. Why is it that we as Christians give favored treatment to some, and all but completely ignore others? Is it not for selfish reasons? Is it not for the sake of some benefit we expect from the highly honored brother? Can it be that we are divided, sometimes desiring to please the Lord and some­ times to please the person who might do us some temporal good? Certainly it is not because o f our desire to be like Christ, for the Lord Jesus, if one could think He played favorites at all, always took the side of the underdog (James 2:5-7). Instead, however, we so often choose to side with those who blaspheme the name of Christ. The partiality which results from double­ mindedness causes a person to profess allegiance to Jesus Christ in one breath, while with the next breath he is guilty of violating the principle of loving his neighbor as himself. So prevalent is respect of persons today, that we are actually caught off guard if someone shows interest in us without expecting something in return. We do not know how to act in response to such kindness. Yet, what miracles can be wrought in and

MARCH, 1966


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