by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Study # 28 March 18, 1998 Harlingen, Texas
Thesis:God's sovereign actions prove His goodness toward us.
Introduction:We have been looking into the question of the goodness of God. It is only at this point that we are really vulnerable to temptation. We are only really susceptible to temptation to DO contrary to the will of God when we doubt the goodness of His restrictions; and we are only susceptible to REFUSE TO DO when we doubt the goodness of His commands. Thus, our susceptibility is in the realm of the divine motivation and wisdom. So far in our study we have seen that the real problem of motive is IN US. God has no lack and He never tempts man to act out of his lack to solve his problems. And we have seen that God's actions show the wisdom of His instructions. God has given out of His immutable goodness as the source of LIGHT as illumination and insight. He gives provision (every good gift) and mature insight (every completed gift) as measured by the immutable God. This evening we are going to look into the actions of God as they pertain to our final participation in His goodness.
I. James' Terminology is not 'Birth' Terminology.
A. James is thoroughly familiar with birth terminology as shown in verses 14-15.
B. The word he uses is rare in biblical use; but its meaning is verse 15 is relatively clear.
1. James uses the term to refer to the final result, not the initiation of the process.
a. There are not two births in verses 14-15.
b. There IS a birth that has an end result.
2. James' focus in chapter one has always been on the final results as a primary motivator to care in procedural issues.
C. James' terminology focuses us upon God's final result as a consequence of His will.
II. James' Meaning.
A. That God has a final end in mind.
1. God's 'production' of us is 'final end' terminology.
2. God's boule is also final end terminology.
a. Ephesians 1:11.
b. Hebrews 6:17.
3. 'Final end' conceptions include intermediate processes.
a. Pre-conversion illumination: Matthew 11:27.
b. Conversion: John 1:12-13; 6:28-71.
c. Gifting: 1 Corinthians 12:11.
d. Motivating: Hebrews 6:17; 2 Peter 3:9.
B. That God has an effective means in mind.
1. James does not mention the Spirit because of the radical newness of this experience.
2. James points to the primary tool of the Spirit which is the Word of Truth.
a. There is significant danger in the willingness to be led by anyone/thing when it is not obvious that the Word is primary.
b. Multiple movements have always existed as diluters of the will of God, and they have always existed on a continuum between blatant arrogance and subtle deceit.
3. James then points to the issue of the timing of our resurrection.
a. He says that it is our destiny to be the first of God's harvest of His creatures.
b. Harvest terminology has always been linked to resurrection and the judgment that makes all things final.