James 4:11-17

The Uniqueness of Our Faith

James 4:11-17

Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin. [James 4:17]

This really makes one’s faith personal, intimate, and unique.  And while there are several common principles of faith, like “looking unto Jesus” [Heb 12:2], setting our minds on things above [ref. Col 3:2], and “forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead” [Php 3:13]; there is a beautiful uniqueness to each one’s faith.

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” [Eph 2:10, emphasis added].  “Workmanship” is poiema, in the Greek.  It is where we get our English word poem.  We [His children] are His poems; His work of art; His masterpiece, and no two are alike.  We are “fearfully and wonderfully made.”  With utmost care and attention to detail God hand crafted each and every one of His children.  What a wonderful truth to ponder!  God’s workmanship dwarfs the worldly philosophy of self-esteem.  To know that we are His workmanship is to be deeply satisfied with who we are in Christ.

But “to whom much is given, much is required.”  That, too, is a spiritual principle in this life of faith.  It is a principle of responsibility.  We are responsible to the things that God has created in us to do.  If He’s called us to something; then we by faith ought to answer the call.  That principle is at the core of James 4:17:  “To him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”  This is a personal call TO DO [“Be ye doers of the word and not hearers only”].  Whatever the Lord calls us to do; we need to by faith do it.  Otherwise to us it is sin.

What has the Lord called you to?  Perhaps it is to apologize to someone, or to drop off groceries to a family, or even volunteer serving somewhere.  It could be God leading you to walk away from your profession and out into the mission field.  Perhaps it is something simple like telling your wife or husband, “I love you.”  Whatever it may be, “to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”

We therefore find in this verse yet another mark of maturity; one who acts upon the good that God has put in his heart to do.  That good varies amongst believers yet makes the Body of Christ complete as we become doers of the Word and not hearers only.