by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Study # 54 September 30, 1998 Harlingen, Texas
Thesis:The contradiction of creation by the tongue is to be completely rejected.
Introduction:Last week we looked into James' seeming contradiction in his statements in 1:26 and 3:8. We saw that the resolution is to be found, not in man's ability, but in the character of true religion. Man's problem is not actually in his tongue; his problem is in his heart, out of which the tongue makes its utterances.
Tonight we are going to take one last look at this paragraph on the problem of man's speech. In this look we will once again see that the problem is the heart and our responsibility is to seek God's alteration of it.
I. The Nature of the Problem.
A. A fundamental contradiction of creation.
1. Although there are some flaws, impersonal creation functions in accordance with its created identity and purpose.
a. Springs gush forth a consistent stream.
b. Fig trees do not bear olives.
c. Vines do not bear figs.
2. Human beings are an anomaly in that they do not consistently function according to divine identity and purpose.
a. They were created in the image of God to bear the image of God.
b. Their creation contained a huge potential for violation.
1) Man was created to bear an essential likeness to all of the image of God.
2) This means that he has the capacity of values-driven choices, but WITHOUT the attendant omniscience and wisdom necessary for INDEPENDENT godliness.
3) Therefore there is a continuous need for man to be believing of what he is told about things of which he is inevitably ignorant.
c. Though creation does NOT create an inevitable failure (most angels did NOT sin), it does put the possibility forward.
d. Man's failure as recorded was one of the heart, not the mind: 1 Timothy 2:14.
e. Now the problem continues as one of the heart and, consequently, of the tongue, in contradiction of creation.
B. A fundamental self-focus that produces a decision of worthlessness upon all who do not yield a benefit, or who do yield a problem, for the individual as though the decision maker is some kind of god.
II. The Consequence of the Fundamental Problem.
A. The mouth "blesses" God, but the blessing is corrupted by the basic manner by which blessing is determined--"bless you for the benefit you have extended to me!"
1. Blessing for benefit when seen as totally undeserved is true blessing.
2. Blessing for benefit when seen as a due is corrupt blessing.
B. The mouth "curses" men because they are seen as valueless in that they do not bring us benefit.
1. The basic issue of "cursing" is a pronouncement of worthlessness.
2. Cursing is pronounced on the basis of failure to function as designed.
III. The Prohibition to Man of Cursing.
A. He is forbidden to decide the worthlessness of beings created in God's image.
B. He is forbidden to decide worthlessness in terms of personal benefit denied.