The Book of James Bible Study

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James 1

The writer of James - James 1:1

Purpose of Trials and Temptations - James 1:2-4

Asking for Wisdom - James 1:5-8

The Christian's Attitude in the Midst of Trials - James 1:9-11

The Crown of Life in the Midst of Trials - James 1:12

The Birth of Temptation - James 1:13-14

Disobedience and Death  - James 1:15

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The Christian's Bible - James 1:16-26

Disobedience and Death

DISOBEDIENCE (James 1:15a): "Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin.” The metaphor is now changed to a female who is impregnated and produces a child. The author does not attempt to give total imagery here, for no male is mentioned. Hence it was not the James’ intention for his readers to attempt identification of the male who impregnates the female as Satan or something else (in this context the author is placing the source within the sinner, not outside). The sole point of the metaphor
is to show what happens when desire is aroused and enticed.

This statement implies that sin occurs following the arousing of inner desires and the attraction to some tempting lure. Temptation per se is not sinful, for even Jesus was tempted (Matthew 4:1; Hebrews 2:18). To resist and flee from temptation is the appropriate response. Only when the temptation is yielded to is an act of sin committed. Indulging temptation, however, yields an inevitable result. Just as a woman who permits herself to become impregnated will in due time produce an offspring, so desire that is gratified by enticement to evil has conceived something that will eventually reveal itself.

The result will be sin—an act that departs from the way of righteousness and falls short of God's
expectation. The term for sin used here (hamartian) is the most comprehensive term in the New
Testament for moral wickedness. Consequently it is not possible to determine any particular type of sin James had in view. It is clear, however, that he was referring to the realm of sinful acts produced by indulged desires, rather than the sin principle within man, although it is fruitless to try restricting the reference to one specific type. He was speaking generically. All sin is the result of yielding to lustful desires.

DEATH (James 1:15b): “And [the] sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” The use of the
article "the" with "sin" makes it clear that James was referring to the sin just mentioned as the product of indulged desire. His point was that sin is not just an isolated act without consequences. There is a development that proceeds toward a goal. The root of the Greek term (apotelesthesia) conveys the idea of an end or aim. It is translated variously as "finish," "bring to completion," "run its course."

The result of sin is death. Its course is always downward. In the Garden of Eden, the warning was given regarding the tree of knowledge, and the sentence carried out: ". . . in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die" (Gen. 2:17). Spiritual death—the separation of man from God—occurred as the immediate consequence of sin, and physical death followed eventually. James asserted that this principle is still true. Sin, if allowed to run its course unaltered by the redemptive grace of God in Christ, will bring eternal death.

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Bible Studies by Bob Conway

Unsealing Revelation

Experiencing Exodus

Decoding Daniel

Life and Passion of Christ

The Holy Spirit

How to Study the Bible

Romans Salvation

Life of the Apostle Paul

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