James 1:21

Friday, 21 June 2019

Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. James 1:21

James now says, “Therefore.” That is given based on what he has been saying over the past verses concerning the temptation we face being something which comes from our own desires, not from God. As this is so, he implores the reader to “lay aside all filthiness.” Here is a word found nowhere else in the Bible, rhuparia. It properly means, “dirt.” It is the dirt or filth that clings to a person. Thus, it is equated with moral filth that stains the soul of a person. Peter uses a cognate noun, rhupos, in 1 Peter 3:21 which carries much the same sense. It is a grease-filth which soils everything it touches. James implores the reader, like Peter, to put away all such moral uncleanliness.

Next, he adds in “and overflow of wickedness.” The idea of “overflow” here is that which exceeds normal expectations. There is wickedness in the heart which can be controlled, but there is wickedness which overflows from a man and which seems to exude from him in all he does. Again, James says that this needs to be laid aside so that only purity and that which is morally correct issues forth.

He then gives a positive exhortation by saying, “and receive with meekness the implanted word.” Again, James uses a word unique to Scripture, emphutos, or “implanted.” It signifies that which is inborn, congenital, and natural. This is not the same as the idea of grafting which Paul speaks of in Romans 11, and which some translations use here. That is a different concept where something unnatural is brought into a source of life. This signifies that which is rooted.

The gospel is that which is planted in a person, and it is the source of that “which is able to save your souls.” When the gospel is planted, it is what establishes the person as being “in Christ.” It is what makes it possible to do the other things James has stated in this verse. Paul referred to the power of the gospel in this same way in Romans 1 –

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.’” Romans 1:16, 17

The planting of the gospel, which then takes root and grows within man, is that which has the ability to save. And more, it is that which has the power to transform the one who is saved. James understood this, and his words are given so that his reader can as well.

Life application: James’ words were written over two thousand years ago. Immorality is nothing new. However, due to TV, the internet, etc. it has become a part of almost every living room in the world. We now no longer look with contempt upon someone who uses the name of God (or Jesus Christ – who is God) on a television show or a movie. Instead of walking out and refusing to watch that actor again, we ignore what we heard and continue on watching.

Further, the Bible clearly portrays homosexuality as moral perversion, and yet we condone it by watching such people on talk shows, reality shows, etc. without even batting an eyelid. But what we should do is turn that person off and refuse to give our attention to someone who so openly opposes the truth of what God says about such things.

Our lives are to be lived in holiness, not drunkenness; our speech should be seasoned with grace, not obscenities; our close friendships should reflect our character – never shunning the lost, but never condoning what is biblically inappropriate.

As Christians, we all must face the judgment seat of Christ. How will your judgment go? Will it be one of sadness and loss or one of expectation of joy and reward? The lost will face their own judgment and condemnation unless they come to Christ. But we cannot lead them to Christ if we are living like them and not drawing a line between what is acceptable and what isn’t. Keep the word close to you, learn it, live it, and understand that moral filth and evil will be judged for what it is.

Lord, certainly we fail You often in how we relate to the moral perversion which permeates our society. We let you down by not standing against those things which Your word forbids. May we be angry at sin and stand against it lest our morals grow cold and You be disappointed in the conduct of our lives. Help us to be vessels which are holy and set apart for Your good purposes. To Your glory alone. Amen.

10 thoughts on “James 1:21

  • Friday, June 21st, 2019 at 8:00 am

    thank you . what open my eyes about watching most t. v. programs or movies was when a pastor pointed out to me romans 1 : 31 , if we watch that stuff we are approving of what they do . amen love and prayers

    • Friday, June 21st, 2019 at 12:47 pm

      Thank you for that .insight Dan. Never thought of it in that way There’s very little that Christians can watch on cable TV today.

  • Friday, June 21st, 2019 at 8:57 am


  • Friday, June 21st, 2019 at 10:13 am

    Oh to be home with the lord and have all this darkness that hides In us waiting for the moments when it can revieal itsself to those around us and destroy our testimony for the lord, to be with the lord and have it all removed from us, washed away by the blood of Jesus. Like the song says I can only imagine, at this time but soon very soon it will be be done and what joy we will have Amen.

    I want to thank you all for your continued prayers for my daughters kidney issues, as they say no new is good new for now. She will be coming here in two weeks to go through another round of infusions in Boston and we should have more of a handle on her status then.

    On another note I would like to ask for your prayers for the husband of the dental technician that I see at my dentist office. She is saved and her husband is saved Amen from what I understand her husband was severely burned in Vietnam and disabled. He has been living with constant pain since then. The other day we were talking and she asked me to pray for her husband as she is worried that he is reaching the to point of taking drastic measures to end his pain. So yes I said I would do that for him. When the dentis was done with me and I was getting ready to leave I put my arm around her and we prayed together for her husband. This was a totally spontaneous moment and I have never ever prayed like this with anyone before. I can’t explain it and can only consider it a sign from the lord, maybe a way the lord want to show the power of prayer? My hope is when I see her next Monday she will have a positive report about her husband and the glory of God and his mercy will be on full display through him.

    Also prayers to our SW family members that I know are dealing with life changing situations in their life, be it health, financial, what ever just know we are here and praying for you and our trials in this world are almost over. We’re going home soon.

    Thank you all

    We ARE another day closer to home
    Grace mercy and peace on you and yours
    God bless my friends we fly soon

    • Saturday, June 22nd, 2019 at 1:57 pm

      Oh boy, I shall be in prayer for your daughter and for the dental tech and her husband. It’s a tough world and thank God that Jesus is tougher. God bless you.

  • Friday, June 21st, 2019 at 10:34 am

    There will be separate judgements, one of loss for the unbeliever certainly. Charlie is reminding us of possibility of loss for the one implanted by the gospel
    …which then takes root and grows in a person, is that which has the ability to save- hallelujah.
    …and more, it has the power to transform the one who is saved.

    This again is our prayer for our daughters, whom we raised and baptized into the faith, and who had the Word planted in them, they are like so many turning from the Word which is able to transform them into the image of Christ. They will have to face loss for that, while some among us will receive 30, or 60, or a100 fold. May we give ourselves to Christ today in all things, amen?7

    • Friday, June 21st, 2019 at 12:50 pm

      Hi Gordon
      I have noted all prayer requests. Be encouraged. Thank God there will be no more prayer requests when we see Jesus.

      • Friday, June 21st, 2019 at 12:54 pm

        My reply was for both Gordon and John I have written down all requests so I will remember them. He will answer according to His will.

  • Friday, June 21st, 2019 at 6:39 pm

    Amen to everyone’s comments, and I too will keep in prayer all your requests, as I have a daughter too that I raised in the Lord and she knows the way of salvation but the world has crowded it out. So prayers to all our loved ones. Thank you for a thorough study in this important message, Charlie, God bless you all!

  • Saturday, June 22nd, 2019 at 1:58 pm

    I shall be in prayer for all of these things. Each of us has needs, and the ones around us do too, but the prayer requests posted here today will be prayed about right now.


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