And this is where the hair-pulling, denial, and acrimony start. It’s an odd thing to witness supposed believers tear their clothes and fall to the earth on their faces whenever anyone mentions righteousness, holiness, or, dare I say, being a doer of the Word and not a hearer only. At the same time, the same folks who would burn you at the stake for daring to quote the Bible feel oddly at ease, cheering on the most debased and hedonistic of perversions, waving miniature flags as lost souls thrust and gyrate in front of underage children.
If something doesn’t walk like a duck or quack like a duck,
can it still call itself a duck? If we reject righteousness while embracing
filthiness, light while embracing darkness, and truth while embracing the lie,
can we still call ourselves sons and daughters of the Most High God?
How dare anyone have the temerity to insist on personal
accountability? Haven’t you read Joseph Prince’s tomes on the easy way to
heaven? You don’t even need to repent of anything anymore. The bus is pulling
into the station, and all you have to do is want to get on. Free rides for
everybody! Are you saying some lowly carpenter knew better than Joseph Prince?
Yep, that’s what I’m saying.
James 1:21, “Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow
of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to
save your souls.”
Say it ain’t so! You’re one of those works salvation people,
aren’t you? I just quoted the Bible, ma’am. Well, I don’t receive it. It
doesn’t bear witness with my spirit, and I’m never reading anything you write
ever again. And that’s your prerogative, to be sure, but it’s in the Book, in
black and white, and clear enough for anyone to understand what it means. Empty
vessels are cleaned and then filled. Full vessels are set aside until they are
The onus of laying aside all filthiness and overflow of
wickedness is on you, as is receiving the implanted word of God with meekness.
Knowing that the word is able to save your soul, you receive it with meekness.
Knowing that God will not share your heart with wickedness, filthiness, or sin,
you lay those things aside, preferring Him over the pleasure of sin.
That God will transform the heart and give you a new mind is
a given since it is a promise He made, but it is predicated on your willingness
to unburden yourself of wickedness and receiving the implanted word which is
able to save your soul.
If you refuse to lay aside all filthiness, not just some, or
the filthiness you don’t dip your toe into often enough that you’ll miss it
once it’s gone, you cannot live with the expectation of being remade, born
again, matured, and perfected.
There is a reason the devil is pushing tolerance of sin in
the church with such ferocity, and it’s not because he loves you, and he just
wants to see you happy and fulfilled. The devil knows that the continued
presence of wickedness in someone’s heart impedes the work of the Holy Spirit
and keeps the individual from true transformation.
If he can convince people still in bondage, still shackled to
their sin and vice, that they are free, they will never struggle to be free
indeed. If you can convince someone that they’ve entered through the narrow
gate with no more effort than touching their television screen, why would they
need to strive any longer?
I realize there are certain passages some would rather not
have been included within the canon of Scripture, but they were, and we must
contend with them. We cannot ignore them or pretend they don’t exist because
what they imply is uncomfortable to the flesh. We can’t ignore entire books of
the Bible because a given denomination did a half-hearted job in trying to
convince the masses that they don’t matter.
Somewhere along the way, the household of faith has gone from
the mindset of doing whatever it takes to remain faithful and true to the Word
and will of God to not being willing to do anything at all save for throwing a
few coins in the offering plate when it’s being passed around. Because those in
charge only care about the coin, they’re more than willing to allow the sheep
to live under the delusion that all is well with their souls as long as they
keep ponying up while they are spiritually crippled at best and having never
encountered Jesus at worst.
If I close my eyes, I can sense the frustration James is
exhibiting, and I share it. Although the vernacular of the time might not lend
itself to coming out and saying stop playing games and grow up already, that’s
what James meant when he insisted that we lay aside all filthiness and overflow
Pick a side and stick to it. You can’t swim in the sewer and
the streams of living water simultaneously. It must be one or the other, and
it’s a choice you must make because the onus is on you to break with sin. Will
God give you the strength to follow through and keep yourself pure once you’ve
laid these things aside? Most assuredly. God, however, cannot force
righteousness upon you. You must choose to receive the implanted word with
meekness, knowing that it can save your soul.
When we receive the implanted word, we must do so with
meekness. We receive the word not from a position of arrogance wherein we
believe our feelings trump the words of the Bible or that the Word of God is
inferior to our feelings, but from one of meekness wherein we defer to the word
and submit to its authority.
The genuine desire of one’s heart will be revealed in what they devote their time, energy, and resources to. If you desire to save your soul and produce the righteousness of God, then you will be a doer of the word and not a hearer only. You will actively strive to lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, receiving the implanted word of God with meekness and thankfulness, knowing that it can save your soul.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea, Jr.