Monday, January 20, 2014

James. .Week 3. .Assignment

Ya’ll might remember that I am currently in the middle of a 26 week study  in the book of Genesis. Well, as I finished up my homework last month the night before this post. .
guess what came up in Genesis chapter 22?? If you are relating where I am going. .
to our study in James. .
you may have guessed. .
the faith of Abraham demonstrated BY his intent to sacrifice his one and only son, Isaac. .
Take 5 minutes this week and read for yourself. .
this particular account in Genesis 22.
 I hope that you all are finding some time to go back into the Old Testament to see things with your own eyes. .
It’s a great way to correlate it all together in your mind!!
After I went through the homework pertaining to chapter 22 in my bible study book. .
I went to my bookshelf and pulled out my Beth Moore study guide from a couple years ago when we studied James. .
I wanted to pull out a few of her comments on the subject. .
mainly because it ALSO ties these scriptures. .
right back into what we just studied from the apostle Paul, in the book of Romans last month!
This is what Beth had to say. .
In Abraham, James cited the single most pivotal figure in ancient Jewish history. Their birth as a people of God came through his specific divine calling, explaining why “father” (HCSB) or “ancestor” (NIV) is probably at the top of your biographical information under his name.
One of the biggest controversies of scholars through the centuries has been over the different ways James and Paul applied Genesis 15:6: “Abraham believed the Lord, and He credited it to him as righteousness.” In Romans 4, the apostle Paul views it in its original Genesis 15 context. God promised that Abraham would have an heir from his own body and, from him, descendants beyond number. There, the justifying faith occurred when Abraham believed Him. In Paul’s words:
He believed, hoping against hope. . . .He considered his own body to be already dead (since he was about 100 years old) and also considered the deadness of Sarah’s womb, without weakening in the faith. He did not waver in unbelief at God’s promise but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, because he was fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. Therefore, it was credited to him for righteousness (Romans 4:18-22)
James applies the same Scripture to a scene 30 years later when Abraham offered his beloved son Isaac on the altar. In this stunning act of obedience that preached the gospel of Christ beforehand, God interrupted the slaying of Abraham’s beloved son and substituted a ram caught by its horns in the thicket (see Genesis 22). The glorious irony is that, in the actual fulfillment thousands of years later, the substitutionary offering would be the one and only beloved Son of the Father. We are depicted by Isaac, escaping death, and Jesus is the perfect Lamb of God, slain for the sins of the world.
We already learned that, to James, faith without a shred of works is nonexistent. He doesn’t prefer works to faith or faith to works. He sees them as conjoined co-workers. The part of James 2:22 that I especially want you to see is where James says that Abraham’s faith “was perfected” by works. That’s a key concept in this epistle. It forms the basis on which James is able to use Genesis 15:6 in reference to an act in Genesis 22 that occurred many years later. Think of it as Abraham’s life verse. The faith that Abraham exercised when he believed God in Genesis 15 was brought to its ultimate goal and maturity in Genesis 22 when he offered Isaac on the altar, foreshadowing the gospel.
We aren’t likely to unravel the thick theological knots tied through the centuries around Paul and James, but they had two different objectives. “James was combating a superficial faith that had no wholesome effect in the life of the professed believer. Paul, on the other hand, was combating legalism—the belief that one may earn saving merit before God by his good deeds.”
(the last quote came from Expositor’s Bible commentary, vol. 12, 169.)
I love LOVE that!!
 As you have already seen, Abraham is mentioned throughout the New Testament multiple times. 
I love the way that the two scholars that I have studied with this week. .
have both noted how Abraham BELIEVED way back before he saw God deliver His promise. .
and was counted as righteous. .
and then ACTED on his belief in a faithful DEED. .
that showed God, his Savior. .
that Abraham did more than profess his belief with his mouth.  He believed God enough to sacrifice his ONE and ONLY son. .
believing that God could and would continue to deliver His previous promise to Abraham. .
the promise that Abraham would have more descendants than the stars in the sky!
By the way. .just to see if you are still reading along. .
I learned something that I didn’t know tonight. .
I think you will find it interesting too. .
SARAH. .was not only Abraham’s WIFE. .she was also his ½ sister!!!
They shared the same father (Genesis 20:12)
So. .this week. .
Read through the book of James. .
looking for what OUR responsibilities as children of God entail. .
be prepared to share some thoughts next week!!
Have a great week! 
Love Melanie

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