Surgical Truth & Uplifting Truth

Different passages of Scripture strike different tones than others. I’m noticing this vividly as I preach an expository series through the book of James. Yesterday we looked at “Facts about Temptation” from James 1:13-15. And next Sunday we will look at “The Goodness of God” from James 1:16-18. These two passages strike two very different tones.

James 1:13-15 presents what I like to call surgical truth. These verses penetrate your spirit and cause you to reflect on unpleasant realities. They provide the Holy Spirit with an avenue for conviction of sin and a reminder of your human condition. The attraction to sin is within you When you sin, it is your fault. You must take personal responsibility for your sin. You must not blame anyone or anything else for your sin.  And your sin, if left unchecked, will eventually produce hideous tragedy and separation in your life. This is sobering, probing truth indeed.

But James 1:16-18 counters this with a different kind of truth – uplifting truth. These verses strengthen your spirit and cause you to reflect on pleasant realities. They provide the Holy Spirit with an avenue for  encouraging you with hope and  reminding you of God’s intervention in your life. You are loved by your brothers and sisters in Christ. You are loved by God as your Father. Every good thing is from Him, who made the stars and everything else that is amazing and good. His goodness is entirely reliable. He chose you to be His child, and you are His trophy. This is uplifting truth indeed!

After preaching from James 1:13-15, I am very eager to preach from James 1:16-18. In the meantime, I look forward to how God will use James 1:13-15 to cause spiritual growth this week in the members of our church – including myself – as we take steps of obedience to Christ, learning to take full responsibility for our sins. The more candidly and wholeheartedly we embrace this surgical truth, the more precious and uplifting James 1:16-18 will be for us when Sunday rolls around.

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