James 1:23

Sunday, 23 June 2019

For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; James 1:23

James just spoke of those who are “hearers only” and not “doers of the word.” He notes that such people only deceive themselves. Now he begins to explain that by saying, “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer.” The words speak of the person who hears the word read (or today, someone who has his own Bible and picks it up and reads it), but who then fails to apply what he has read.

One might think of a person who gets something in the mail which requires assembly. He opens the box, reads the instruction, but then decides that his way is better. Or maybe he simply reads the instructions without actually mentally cataloging what he has read. He will not do the things he has just read. The resulting damage will be irreparable. James says of a person who treats the word of God this way, hearing and not doing, that “he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror.”

The Greek actually reads, “this one is like a man.” He is being made an object lesson for all others by singling him out in a definite way. There is a peculiarity about him which needs to be highlighted. James says he is like one who is “observing his natural face in a mirror.”

The Greek literally reads, “observing the face of his birth in a mirror.” The word is genesis, and it signifies his birth, lineage, or descent. It is the face he was born with and which carries the state he was in, even since birth. The idea here is that he is a man, a son of Adam. He is fallen and bears all of the nature of a fallen man. What will this man do about that state? He sees it, but will he take action concerning his natural state? James will continue to explain what such a person is like in the coming verse.

Life application: The Bible teaches many points of doctrine. One of them is that of “original sin.” This teaches that the sin of Adam is transferred to all of humanity. Further, it teaches that original sin extends to all humanity at the moment of their conception. Humans are conceived in sin, are born as fallen beings, and – without God’s corrective measure – will die in that state. In this, they will be eternally separated from God.

There is nothing man can do to be reconciled to God because the defect already exists. The cure for it is only found in Jesus. He came to replace Adam as humanity’s new head. Without Jesus, man’s sin remains. But in coming to Jesus, the sin-debt is paid, life is granted, and sin is no longer imputed to man. Thus, he is free from any future condemnation. Jesus Christ is the answer. Come to Christ and be cured of the inherited-sin defect.

Lord God, thank You for Jesus who alone can take away our sin. As only He can do this, may we demonstrate wisdom and receive the pardon that He purchased through His shed blood. Yes, give us this wisdom to receive and then to share, O God. Amen.

5 thoughts on “James 1:23

  • Sunday, June 23rd, 2019 at 7:55 am


  • Sunday, June 23rd, 2019 at 9:58 am

    It always amazes me how we can read scripture over and over and then after a hundred times of reading it, it suddenly jumps off the page at you with crystal clarity. This eternally seperated from God just did that for me. For the longest time I was thinking in physical terms but now I see it in terms of love and hope. To have no love and no hope in the afterlife is a special kind of hell in itself for sure. I am depressed just thinking about it! Ya some of us are a little slow at the switch but eventually we find it. :-). It is something that is more terrifying than the fires of hell. If you still have hope when in the fire you find a way to endur it because there is still a chance to get out but with out hope there is no chance no nothing just the realization that this will never end for you. Yes we need to share the potential loveless, hopeless fate that awaits unbelievers, maybe they will pay heed to our warnings this way because fire and brimstone seems to have lost its terror for many and consider it a joke. We can hope for the best and pray constantly for the lost until we are home with the lord Amen

  • Sunday, June 23rd, 2019 at 1:29 pm

    Amen, Gordon! Thank you Charlie, great sermon in Numbers, much to think about and pray about, and great exhortation for all of us to read the Bible every day and especially first thing of the day, thank you!! ….and great hike in Judea! Your feet defy nature! Praying for all of the SW family as always. Have a blessed week everybody!

  • Monday, June 24th, 2019 at 5:48 pm

    FInished sermon typing for today. Super tired, but I thought I’d come and wish you all blessings and smiles!


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