We’re Heirs Of God’s Kingdom. Let’s Walk The Walk – Not Just Talk The Talk!

The gospel is to be believed – and it is to be lived. We are to hear the word of God – and we are to do the word of God. This is the message of the letter of James. We are to be practical Christians, men and women who live for Christ in our daily lives.
The letter of James reverses the standards of this world. The world says that happiness is the big thing. James tells us that holiness must be the great priority of our lives. Those who seek happiness discover that it has an infuriating habit of disappearing just when it seems to be within grasp. Those who  seek holiness discover that happiness comes with it – not the superficial kind of happiness which the world seeks, but the true and lasting joy of which the world knows nothing.
The reversal of the world’s values takes us to the very heart of what it means to be a Christian – to “hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory” (James 2:1). When Jesus Christ comes into your life, you see things from a different perspective. No longer are you impressed by the world and all that it has to offer. The world’s glory is a fading glory – “All flesh is like grass and all its glory is like the flower of grass. The grass withers and the flower falls” (1 Peter 1:24). There is a greater glory – “The word of the Lord abides for ever. That word is the good news which was preached to you” (1 Peter 1:25). Through the word of God, through the preaching of the gospel, we discover a greater glory. It’s the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. As his glory begins to dawn upon our souls, the things of this earth start to grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace.
In James 2:5, we have a reversal of the world’s values: “Has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which he has promised to those who love him.”
Some people set Paul and James over against each other – Paul speaks about faith; James speaks about works. How foolish! They miss the point! Paul tells us that we are saved through faith in Christ. James tells us how we are to live, once we’ve been saved.
Here’s one point in which we find Paul and James in complete agreement – “Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?” (James 2:5);   “26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him” (1 Corinthians 1:26-29).
Why is there no room for boasting in the presence of God? – It’s because salvation is God’s doing, and not ours (1 Corinthians 1:30-31; Ephesians 2:8-9). Paul may have said more about salvation by grace through faith than James did. Nevertheless, James is making a similar point in James 2:5. Salvation cannot be bought. It cannot be earned. It can only be received as a gift, and the glory must be given to God alone.
How are we to live according to the Lord’s standards, and not the world’s? – “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2). There are two ways of living. There’s the way of being squeezed into the mould of this world. There’s the way of being transformed by the renewal of the mind – to do the will of God.
The worldly man is impressed by worldly things (“gold rings and … fine clothing” (James 2:2)).
The worldly man tries to impress those who will help him climb the social ladder – “Have a seat here, please” (James 2:3). 
How can we escape this way of thinking and living? – “Listen … ” (James 2:5). Who are you listening to? Are you listening to God or the world? 
In the story of Elijah, we read about “a still, small voice” (1 Kings 19:12). There are many voices. Some of them are very loud. It almost seems like the voice of God has been silenced. It hasn’t. He still speaks with the “still, small voice.” His voice can be heard, if we’re listening for it.
When we read the Bible, the important thing is not our education. It’s our obedience. We read so that we might do. We need to take time to listen. We need to “be still and know that God is God” (Psalm 46:10).
This is the way in which our thinking and our living will become less worldly and more godly – more truly, thinking God’s thoughts after him, and, more fully, living in the centre of God’s will. Do you care enough to hear what God wants to say to you about your life? This is the first step in a life that’s being renewed by God.

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