James’ “practical theology” lessons (see yesterday’s post below) continue today and boy they flow thick and fast!
James has been described as the “wisdom literature” of the New Testament and certainly shares some similarities with books like Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. One of the difficult things in all “wisdom literature” is to identify any overarching theme that unites the practical theology. I reckon one of the overarching themes of James is that God’s people should be humble, selfless people, people who live “in the humility that comes from wisdom” (James 3:13), not proud and selfish people. We should be children of grace – always aware of the ugliness of what God has bought us from and the beauty of what he has brought us to.
If we retain this gospel-centred understanding of ourselves then much of what James warns against will cease to be a problem. We won’t be envious or ambitious or boastful or self-deceivers (James 3:14-15). Instead we’ll be peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere and we will raise a harvest of righteousness (James 3:17-18).