THE LETTER OF JAMES – PART 3
TO LIVING OUT THE CHRISTIAN LIFE
Having said that temptation does not come from God, the letter then
traces the progress of evil from desire to sin to death.
1. The progress
is also portrayed as an evil generation, from conception in desire (here
portrayed in feminine form) to the birth of sin and then its maturity
in death. There is a dramatic contrast between the desire who
is the mother of sin and death (called in wisdom literature Folly) and
the matron Wisdom who welcomes children to the house of life.
See Prov. 1:20-23, 7:1-27; 9:1-18; Sir. 1:15, 4:11-19.
likewise drew such contrasts between the children of light and children
of darkness. Se Luke 16:8, 13; John 1:12-13, 8:39-47
1. At one
level, the letter is saying (as St. Paul did) that, as sin grows it
dominates the person and leads to death. St. Paul does have a
slightly different perspective on the law (by which he means the codes
given by God), saying that before Christ they paradoxically led to greater
sin because people who received the law could not keep it. However,
the increase in sin makes the reign of sin and death more obvious
and thus leads people to recognize their need for Christ. See
Rom. 4:13-25 5:12-21, 5:13-25; Gal. 3:19-22.
1. Jews were
already calling God Father, and Christians were well used to God as
Father, Son and Holy Spirit. See Ps. 29:1, Job 1:6, 2 Sam. 7,
Hosea 11:1, Wisdom 3:18; Matt. 6:9, 14, 28:19; Mark 11:26, Luke 11:2-14;
John 5:17-37; Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6.
1. The word
of truth here is presented as the mother of the faithful. God created
through the word. See Gen. 1, Is. 55:11. In Psalm 119, the word,
the law, and the teachings of the Lord are all praised together as the
source of all life and true joy. See also Ps. 1, 19.
The prophets consistently receive the word of the Lord and proclaim
it, not only in the sense of announcing God's will, but even in the
sense of sending forth God's power through the word. See, e.g.,
Is. 55:6-11; Jer. 1:9-10; Ez. 36-37; Mic. 1;1, 4:2. St. Paul likewise
refers to the word of truth as creating new and fruitful life in the
faithful. See Col. 1:5; Eph. 1:13.
is certainly a contrast to the anger that is opposed to the righteousness
of God. See 1 Cor. 4:21; Gal. 5:23, 6:1. But the virtue
(often associated with the poor) is a positive one, implying an openness
to the will of God in all circumstances, thus making one's faith as
stable as the land. See Ps. 25:9, 37:11, 149:4; Zeph. 2:3.
Moses thus becomes the model of such meekness for he was fully open
to God's will. See Num. 12:3