Doers and Not Simply Hearers
It is quite amazing how the Epistle of James the first chapter flows so fluidly from the conclusion of Hebrews, found just prior to its postscript found in the final three verses:
Now the God of peace… make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (Epistle to the Hebrews 13:20 & 21)
The Epistle to the Hebrews has just completed a thorough treatment of the Law and of the Word of God, including our heavenly reward for keeping His Word at the expense of much suffering in this life for His name’s sake. See our treatment of Hebrews 12 and other chapters for more on this.
Now we move into James and see not only that our temptations are to be joy to us (v.2,3), but also that the law is a perfect gift from God:
Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. (Js 1:16,17)
But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. (v.25)
We see here that in verse 25, that the Law (Torah) is the Perfect Law of Liberty. This liberty does not mean we are free to do as we please, but free to do as we should, according to the Law. It is Perfect, which is Holy. The same word “perfect” is used in verse 17 to describe the perfect gifts which by default come only from the Father – and that He never changes. Therefore, the Torah is also a Perfect Gift which has come down from our Holy, never-changing Father in Heaven.
This is the warning: “Do not err, my beloved brethren” (v.16). The warning is against us who may disregard the perfect law.
For an idea of what Paul taught about the law, let’s peek at Romans 7:12:
Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.
On this verse, Robert’s Word Pictures comments:
Holy, and righteous, and good (agia kai dikaia kai agayh). This is the conclusion (wherefore, wste) to the query in verse 7. The commandment is God’s and so holy like Him, just in its requirements and designed for our good. The modern revolt against law needs these words. (RWP)
Continuing in James:
Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. (Js 1:21,22)
Filthiness and naughtiness are the results of breaking the law.
What is the “engrafted word?” This is the Logos of God, which has been taught to us, implanted in us, even implanted by others into us. It is this Logos, which has been offered to us by YHWH and written upon our hearts. He has written it (Logos) in His book by His Spirit, and He has written it upon our hearts by His Spirit. They are one and the same, for the Spirit will never contradict Himself.
This is the Logos (Word) which we are instructed to receive with meekness (v.21). We are to be doers of the Logos, and not hearers only (v.22).
“Do not err, my beloved brethren.” That is, do not despise the Word of God, including His Perfect Law. Rather, receive it with meekness. And do not be hearers only, but doers.
May the LORD bless you in the Name of Yeshua.
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5046 teleiov teleios tel’-i-os
; TDNT – 8:67,1161; adj
KJV – perfect 17, man 1, of full age 1; 19
1) brought to its end, finished
2) wanting nothing necessary to completeness
4) that which is perfect
4a) consummate human integrity and virtue
4b) of men
4b1) full grown, adult, of full age, mature
 engrafted 1721 emfutov emphutos em’-foo-tos
from 1722 and a derivative of 5453;; adj
KJV – engrafted 1; 1
1) inborn, implanted by nature, implanted by others instruction