At times, we think about sin as what we do in violation of God’s law. However, Scripture is clear that we sin against Him whenever we do not do His will—which includes knowing the right thing to do and not doing it. Partial obedience is disobedience. Therefore, when God motivates us to serve Him in some way, we should never ignore it. We should obey Him, knowing that He will certainly bless our obedience.
Although this statement may apply to any number of situations, James intends it to refer to the immediately preceding context (James 4:13-16), which we discussed in Life is Fragile, Handle with Care. Perhaps this is a maxim that means something like “You have been fully warned,” as if James were saying, “Now that I have pointed the matter out to you, you have no excuse.” Knowing what should be done obligates a person to do it.
In 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12, Paul says, “With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Our “calling” from God, as Christians, is to become like Christ (Romans 8:29). This is a gradual, life-long process that will be completed when we see Christ face-to-face (1 John 3:2). To be “worthy” of this calling means to want to do what is right and good (as Christ would). We aren’t perfect, but we’re moving in that direction as God works in us.
In Luke 12:35-48 Jesus warns us to be watchful and ready for Him to return to the earth. Before Christ’s return, we have time to live out our beliefs and to reflect Jesus’ love as we relate to others. May your life be more like Christ’s so that when He comes, you will be ready to greet Him joyfully. People who are ready for their Lord’s return are:
- Not hypocritical, but sincere (Luke 12:1)
- Not fearful, but ready to witness (Luke 12:4-9)
- Not worried, but trusting (Luke 12:25-26)
- Not greedy, but generous (Luke 12:34)
- Not lazy, but diligent (Luke 12:37)
In Luke 12:47-48 we are told “The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Punishment that the Lord will mete out will be in proportion to both the privileges each person has enjoyed and one’s response to those privileges. The more resources, talents, and understanding we have, the more we are responsible to use them effectively. God will not hold us responsible for gifts He has not given us.
Last weekend, Pastor Tim Liston shared a familiar parable with us, The Parable of The Talents, which he entitled “What To Do With a Bag of Gold”. He made some great points that tie in with our requirement to do what we know we should do.
1.What God does for us is His gift to us. God blesses us even when we don’t deserve it because He is merciful, not because we are deserving. We aren’t supposed to compare our blessings to other’s blessings, but be thankful for the blessings we have received. Comparison is the thief of joy.
- “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17)
- “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.” (Romans 11:36)
2.What you do with the gifts you receive is your gift to God. The way we use the blessings is how we can gift back to Him – by putting those blessings to work for His glory. We are blessed so that we can be a blessing.
In this parable, the servant who was given one bag of gold and hid his master’s gold instead of using it, failed to please his master. Why? Because not trying is a failure. And this brings us back to James 4:17 “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”
3.Everything you do for God is rewarded and multiplied. It’s not how much you have, but what you do with it that counts. God blesses those who are faithful with His blessings!
- My notes from Bible Study “Faith: A Bible Study on James for Women“
- Life Application Study Bible (NIV)
- Parables: Stories That Jesus Told | Lesson (02-14-2016) from newhopechurchtv on Vimeo.