Sunday, April 26, 2015

JOB AS AN EXAMPLE OF PATIENT STEADFASTNESS - James 5:11




The other example of steadfastness James gives is Job. His is a remarkable story. Job lost everything when he had done nothing wrong:
his oxen and donkeys were stolen by Sabeans and his servants killed (Job 1:15);
his sheep and servants were killed by fire from heaven, maybe lightning (1:16);
Chaldeans took his camels and killed his servants; (1:19)
his children were killed by a great wind (1:19); and
he was struck with sores from head to toe (2:7)

Yet, in the midst of this suffering, Job remained faithful. His wife told him to give up his integrity, curse God and die. (2:9)

But Job responded by worshipping God in his grief. (1:20-21) He stayed faithful. (27:1-6)

Job recognized God's sovereignty over his life, God's right to do with it as he wills. Listen to his words:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21)

Matt Redman wrote a song that seems to be a meditation on the first chapter of Job. He calls it “Blessed be your name”. Here is one stanza:
Blessed be your name
When I’m found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed be your name.

God restored Job’s fortunes twice over. (42:10) He considered Job righteous. (Ezekiel 14:14)

Our fortunes may not be restored until heaven. So, James does not encourage his readers, or us, to wait for God to do that. Rather, he encourages us to wait for Jesus will return. That is when we receive our reward. We want to be like the servant whose master said “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little. I will set you over much. enter into the joy of your master.” (Matthew 25:21) This is from the parable of the talents, a story of rewards in heaven. Note that it says “after a long time the master of those servants came” after going away. Jesus may take a long time to return, but we must be faithful and steadfast.

James says we have the example of the prophets and Job, but we have more. We know the purpose of the Lord, how he is compassionate and merciful. God purposes to sanctify us. Romans 8:29 tells us “For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son”. That requires sanctification. Ephesians 1:4 says God chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.

God also purposes to bring glory to himself through us. Job brought glory to God in his steadfastness. Our friend Monica brings glory to God as she stands fast in her faith in the face of cancer.

But God is also compassionate. He does to bring suffering to us for fun. He cares about our pain. And he is merciful. He not only delivers us from hell, but from many sufferings and temptations.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

PATIENTLY WAITING FOR CHRIST'S RETURN - James 5:7-11





James 5:1-12
Patiently Waiting for Christ’s Return

James has been addressing non-believers, but return to address believers in verse 7
He referred to them as brothers. James will focus on the attitudes God’s people need to have while anticipating the coming judgment\return of Jesus.

Persecuted & oppressed believers must be patient waiting for Christ's return , his coming (7) When the righteous are vindicated & the wicked judged (day of slaughter in v. 6). Both the warnings to the wicked and the encouragement of the righteous are in light of Christ’s return.

The word translated “coming” is parousia in Greek. It meant arrival of a king in secular Greek. It is used in New Testament For Christ's return at the end of history to judge the wicked & deliver the saints. For example, Matt. 24:37 says “As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming (parousia) of the Son of Man (Christ). ; 1 Corinthians 15:23 says “But each in his own order; Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.”

The line of thinking in James is similar to that of Psalm 37. The theme of that Psalm is not to fret over the success of evil doers because the Lord will come and judge evil doers. Verse 1-2 say “Fret not yourself because of evil doers; be not envious of wrongdoers! For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb.”

As an example of patient waiting, James cites the farmer. (7) He plants seed, then waits a long time until harvest (7)He must be patient - he cannot change the time frame. Believers cannot change the time frame for the return of Jesus. He will return at the time appointed by the Father.

Notice in this example that God gave the rain, both the early rain after planting and the latter rain before harvest, Autumn & Spring. God promised this to the faithful in Deuteronomy 11:14. What you may not know is that all of the Old Testament references to early & latter rain are in reference to God's faithfulness. A Biblically literate, converted Jew would get the reference. So, James is saying as the farmer waits patiently in faith that God will provide rain at the right time, Christians should wait patiently knowing Jesus will return as he promised. He is faithful. He will judge the wicked. He will vindicate & deliver those who are his.

While we wait for the return of Jesus, we must “establish our hearts”. The word translated “establish” in the ESV literally means “strengthen”. We must strengthen our faith to endure hardship in light of his coming.

For example, we had a violent thunderstorm Saturday night. Our power went out. I wrote out the Bible Study for Sunday by candlelight! At the beginning of the storm, a very strong wind roared through. Some said it was up to 90 miles per hour. It uprooted live oak trees which have very shallow roots. But the trees with deep, strong roots survived. Strengthen your heart through Bible study and pray to survive all of the storms that will come before Jesus returns.

Another facet to our attitudes while we await the return of Jesus is patience with each other. We should not grumble & risk judgment (9) God will hold us accountable for our grumbling. We must endure suffering and waiting without grumbling against God or each other. This is patient endurance.

As an example of patient endurance, James refers us to the Old Testament prophets. (10) They suffered but endured and were patient in waiting. Jeremiah, for example, was put in a cistern where it was wet and muddy. Jezebel threatened Elijah with death.

In Acts 7:52, Stephen asked the Jewish leaders “which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute?” In Luke 11:50, Jesus said the blood of all the prophets would fall on that generation of Jews. The prophets suffered but waited patiently for deliverance.

The prophets were steadfast. They were not moved by trials. They stood firm and strong. They were blessed by God for it. We, as they, are blessed when steadfast. (11)

We receive God's favor. He is pleased when we are steadfast. That is because he himself is steadfast. He is immovable. (1 Corinthians 15:58) We reflect his character and bring glory to him.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Prideful Rich - James 5:1-6


The Prideful Rich Landowners
James 5:1-6

James condemns those who have taken security in their material wealth as opposed to their salvation. In this case, they are land owners. They owned fields. The decay of their hoarded riches testified against them. (3) Notice that he says they accumulated riches in the last days. His thought was that Christ would return and judgment would come, making their wealth irrelevant. Certainly those Jews who were left in Jerusalem when the Romans destroyed the city lost all their possessions. I wonder if that rich young man who walked away from Jesus was there, losing all his possessions and losing his soul because he chose possessions over Jesus.

Notice that he reflects the words of Jesus: rotten riches, moth eaten clothes, corroded gold and silver. Jesus said “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal…” (Matthew 6:19)

James also condemned them for holding back wages from their workers. The Old Testament law required prompt payment. Many workers needed that day’s wages to buy food for their family. If they were not paid, their family did not eat. Leviticus 19:13 required owners to pay laborers at the end of the day, not waiting until the next morning. Deuteronomy 24:14 required payment before sunset. God is very concerned with social justice and the treatment of the poor. The Sabbath specifically applied to servants. (Exodus 20:10) You could not take the Sabbath off but make your servants work. You had to free a slave in the seventh year. (Exodus 21:2) So, getting rich off of a poor man’s wages was offensive to God. (I wish I had known to send this verse to my clients when I had my own business.) I want to pay a fair price for what I buy. I want to tip young waiters generously for serving me. I do not want to save money off of the back of poor people.

The younger generations today are very concerned with social justice. They do not want to belong to churches or other organizations that condone injustice. My youngest daughter will not shop at a well known discount chain because they work to keep their employees from getting benefits and they pay very low wages.

James also condemned them because they mistreated their workers. (6) He said they had condemned and murdered righteous people who did not resist them. This is another sentence that raises the question: is this literal or figurative language? Did they condemn people by their slander? Did they actually kill people? Or is this hyperbole for mistreatment? Either way, Christians must treat those who serve us justly and kindly.

If we have sinned in this regard, repentance is in order. Otherwise judgment is coming. James tells them to weep and howl at the miseries that are coming upon them. These are words of judgment like the Old Testament prophets said to Israel.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

BELIEVE IN THE RESURRECTION






Belief in the resurrection of Jesus is essential to salvation. Paul wrote "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." (Romans 10:9) Their is no salvation for one who denies the resurrection. "if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain." (1 Corinthians 15:14) Belief in a Jesus who was a historical figure is insufficient for salvation. Receiving Christ means believing he is who he claimed to be, the divine son of God who assumed human flesh, died for our sins and rose again.

If Jesus did not rise, he is not God as he claimed. The Bible tells us he was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead. (Romans 1:4)

There is ample evidence for Jesus' resurrection. Someone once told me there was absolutely no evidence of the resurrection. I pointed out that Matthew recorded the witness of Mary Magdalene and "the other Mary" who saw the empty tomb and received confirmation from an angel. They saw the risen Jesus and took hold of his feet. (Matthew 28:1-10) What a moment that must have been.

Matthew also recorded, as an eye witness, the meeting of the 11 remaining disciples in Galilee with the risen Jesus. (Matthew 28:16)

Mark, who was believed to have written his gospel from the account of Peter, recorded that Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome went to the tomb and saw the empty tomb. (Mark 16:1-8) He wrote the story of Peter running to the tomb and looking in and seeing it empty. (Luke 24:12)

Luke thoroughly investigated the life of Jesus, including interviews with eye witnesses. (Luke 1:1-4) He also recorded that Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James and other women saw the empty tomb. (Luke 24:1-12) He recorded the appearance of Jesus to two men on the road to Emmaus. (Luke 24:13-35)

Luke recorded the appearance of Jesus to his disciples, allowing them to see his wounds and touch him to show he was alive in his body after death. (Luke 24:36-43) He even ate fish to prove he was alive. And lastly, he recorded the ascension, when the disciples saw Jesus rise to heaven. (Acts 1)

John, himself an eyewitness of the risen Jesus, recorded the story of th women seeing Jesus when they went to the tomb. (John 20:11-18) He also recorded Jesus' appearance to his disciples the same day,in a locked room. (John 20:19-23) He recorded the story of Thomas, absent at the first appearance, seeing the wounds and believing. (John 20:24-28) Finally, he recorded Jesus revealing himself again at the Sea of Tiberias, eating breakfast with them. (John 21)

Paul recorded Jesus appearing to the disciples, to 500 people at one time, most of whom were still alive when he wrote. (1 Corinthians 15:3-6) Jesus appeared to James, as recorded in verse 7. Did you ever wonder how James went from thinking Jesus was crazy, to leading the Jerusalem church? Seeing your brother alive, after seeing him crucified and buried, will do that to you.

The resurrection of Jesus is our hope of resurrection. Paul wrote "But in fact Christ as been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead." (! Corinthians 15:20-21)

Believe in Jesus, believe in the resurrection. Be saved and look forward to the resurrection of all the saints.

Happy Resurrection Day! He is risen. He is risen indeed.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

PRIDE - James 4:11-17





Do Not Speak Evil Against A Brother or Sister
James 4:11-12

Having spoken of humility, James now turns to pride as the second subject of verse 6. Pride can lead say evil things about or against each other. This may also tie back to James discussion of conflict in the church. I think there is a since of slander here, saying things that are not true. The Greek word literally means “speak against”. If we believe we are better than others, we may say things to put them down. James says when we speak evil against a brother, we speak evil against the law and judge the law. That means that we are not doing (obeying) the law, but acting as a judge. You hear an echo here of 1:22 (be doers of the word and not hearers only).

When we judge, we put ourselves in the place of God, who is the only lawgiver and judge. That is a sin of pride. We have the ability often to ascertain or discern sin. We can compare actions to the word of God and know the action is sin. But if we assume bad motivations for good, or even neutral actions, we sin in judging. God is the ultimate judge. He alone has the power to save and destroy. Jesus said God alone is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28) That is judgment.

For example, suppose a church member who has never been generous gives a large gift in response to the pastor’s statement that the church needs money. Someone might say he is doing it to show off or to look good or to get attention. In reality, he may have been convicted by the Holy Spirit to give and was obedient. We would slander him if we accused him of bad motives. We would certainly break the royal law of loving our neighbor. And James uses the word “neighbor” in verse 12. You do not slander someone you love. Additionally you would break the commandment not to bear false witness. (Exodus 20:16) Exodus 23:1 says “you shall not spread a false report”.

Psalm 15:3 tells us the one who may come into the Lord’s presence is one who does not slander. Paul told the Corinthians he did not want to find them guilty of slander when he came to see them. (2 Corinthians 12:20) He told the Ephesians to put away all slander. (Ephesians 4:31) Peter said the same thing. (1 Peter 2:1) Slander has no place among God’s people. If it is not true, or if you do not personally know it to be true, do not say it. And, no, saying “bless his heart” does not make it ok.

James takes the concept of judging further, though. He said when we slander, we judge the law itself. (11) When we do not keep the law, we deny the authority of the law. When we do not obey any part of God’s word, we deny the authority of his word. If we do not love our neighbor, we deny the authority of God’s word that tells us to love our neighbor. (Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 22:36-40)

This very issue is in play in America right now. The Bible defines marriage for us. But some churches are giving in to societal pressure and changing that definition. By doing so, they deny the authority of God’s word.

Do Not Boast About The Future
James 4:13-17

The second area of pride is boasting about the future. It is a type of pride. Both this section and the next are rebukes to rich people who believe they can think and act without reference to God. These people were boasting about traveling to another place, staying a year, and making money. James says we should say “if the Lord wills”. He is warning us about assuming the future. No one knows how long they will live and what they will do. Proverbs 27:1 says “Do not boast about tomorrow for you do not know what a day may bring.” Jesus, in Luke 12:13-21, told the story of a man who neglected spiritual matters to make a fortune, then decided to take it easy and enjoy his wealth. But God “required his soul” of him that very night, and he was not prepared for death.

It is alright to plan, but not to presume. The Puritans took this seriously. In their writings, you will see the initials “D.V.” after their plans and schedules. It stands for “Deo Violente”, which is Latin for “if the Lord wills”. When I was a kid, I often heard adults say “Lord willing” when they talked about their plans. We should acknowledge that God is in control of our lives, present and future. David wrote “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them”. (Psalm 139:16) David was saying God knew exactly how long David would live before David was born. I would add that God knew it because God decreed it.

Another thing involved in pride here has to do with a characteristic of God. Only God is eternal. We are temporal in this body. Compared to God’s eternal existence, our life is short. The Bible calls it a mist or vapor. We need to keep that perspective, and not elevate ourselves in our minds to be equal to God in existence.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

REPENTING FOR WORLDLINESS - James 4:5-10




Verse 5 tells us God does not take this lightly. He is jealous for his people. (5) [I think the NIV gets this backward, speaking of the jealous spirit of men. But the context is God’s reaction to the behavior of his people. The ESV and NASB both translate it to it is God who is jealous.] When he made his covenant with Israel, he he told them they could not worship idols (other gods) because he is a jealous God. (Exodus 20:5) That means he demands exclusive loyalty and worship. Deuteronomy 6:10-15 states it in strong terms: if they forget God when they become prosperous he will wipe them off the face of the earth.

Jesus taught this also. He said no man can serve God and money. (Matthew 6:24) He also seek to seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness. (Matthew 6:33) So, he will not be pleased if you value money more than him. That is why he demanded that the rich young ruler give up all his wealth and follow. (Matthew 19:10-22) Remember that the young man declined to follow Christ and give up his property, for “He had great possessions”. If we are friends with the world, we are stained by the world and do not practice true religion. (James 1:27)

Fortunately, verse 6 tells us God gives more grace. That is, while we are humbly struggling to ascertain God’s will and do it, he gives us grace when we fail to put him above money and possessions. He does oppose the proud, though. James, here, is quoting Proverbs 3:34. He gives grace to the humble, but not the proud. If money makes you proud, get rid of it. The proper response to grace is humility.

I do not feel the pull of these things as much as I used to, but I know the temptations lurk in the shadows. I know the Tempter is always out there. James tells us to submit ourselves to God. That is an act of humility, allowing God to work in us and on us, to give us more grace to conquer our weaknesses. It is submitting yourself to his lordship. This is exactly how I managed my desire for success a few decades ago. I submitted myself to God and he worked to rid me of that weakness and sin.

So, in this deal of loving God or loving the world, you will receive temptation from the world and strength from God if you seek it. James uses one of his famous comparisons. He said, in verse 8, to resist the devil and he will flee from you. The key is you resist, not run into his arms like a lover on the beach and say give me what I want. On the other side of the coin, if you draw near to God he will draw near to you. This is not an evangelistic verse. This verse tells us if we resist the devil and his temptation and draw near to God instead, the devil will go and God will draw near and keep you from sinning.

Part of drawing near to God is repentance. If we have fallen into love of the world, James calls us double minded. This goes back to chapter 1 where James said if you ask but you doubt you are double minded and unstable. It also alludes to verse 4 of this chapter, where James called them “adulterous people”. They are folks who are embracing the values and methods of the world instead of living according to God’s kingdom standards. If you have been double minded, you must repent to draw near to God. James said it two ways: (1) cleanse your hands and (2) purify your hearts.

“Cleanse your hands” signifies repentance of outward behavior. “Purify your hearts” signifies repentance of inward attitudes. Psalm 24:3-4 puts it this way? “Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart.”

Repentance is turning away from your sins, but also in deep regret over them. James said to be wretched, mourn and weep. This again is Old Testament language describing those under God’s judgment. In Joel 2:12, for example, God said “Yet even now, return to me with all you heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning and rend your hearts and not your garments.”

Have you ever felt this bad about your sin? You laughter should be replaced by mourning. Your joy turns to gloom. This are very strong and expressive words. In the Old Testament, one who laughs at God’s standards was a fool. Jesus dug in on this type of person also, in Luke 6:25, saying “Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.”

Since God hates sin intensely, so should we. When we sin, we should deeply regret it and mourn it. The idea often expressed today is hey do not sweat it, say “I am sorry” and get on with your life. That is not the picture of repentance in the Bible. David’s words in Palm 51 show genuine repentance.

The good news is the end result. God will draw near to you. And you will be blessed, as Jesus said “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)

Sunday, March 08, 2015

THE ROOT CAUSE OF CONFLICT - JAMES 4




The Root Cause of Conflict
James 4:1-2

James begins this discussion simply by asking the question “what causes quarrels and what causes fights to break out among you”? He also answers plainly: it is because our desires\passions are in conflict within us. The ESV says they are “at war” within us. In other words, conflicts on the inside of us result in conflicts on the outside.

The conflict here is between our desire for what the world wants and our desire for what God wants. In Romans 7, Paul discussed this in relation to the lost person. He called it the battle between obeying the law of God and the law of the flesh. We know that the battle continues after salvation.

There is an implied question in verse 2. The question is “why don’t I get what I want”? James answers that question with 2 alternatives.

First, James says you do not ask. He means you do not ask God for what you want. That may mean you do not believe God will give it to you. James has already told us that every good and perfect gift comes from our heavenly Father. (1:17) Yet, we do not always trust him to give us what we need. It may also mean you think you deserve it without asking. Or it may mean you want to take it for yourself without help from God.

Second, James says you ask but do not receive because you want the thing for your own selfish desires. Janis Joplin sang “Oh, Lord, won’t you give me a Mercedes Benz?” And, at least in America, a lot of people pray for things like that. And some preachers preach that you should. But not James. James says instead that this kind of asking is idolatry. He called them “adulterous people”. (4) God used that image of marriage in the Old Testament to describe those who broke his covenant by worshipping idols. Here the idol is money and possessions. We want those things for our own pleasure, status and pride rather than to help others or advance Christ’s kingdom.

Friends With God or Friends With the World
James 4:3-8

So, James sternly reminds us that we can live for the world or we can live for God. He said friendship with the world is enmity with God. Enmity is hostility. For example, God put enmity between the serpent and Eve, between its offspring and her offspring. (Genesis 3:15) James explains ti further by saying if you are a friend of the world, you are an enemy of God. God does not allow you to straddle this particular fence. James echoes Jesus here. Jesus put it this way:

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)

No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. (Matthew 6:24)

That is pretty clear, is it not? Well, it might not be that clear when you apply it to yourself.

The very cool thing, and the very deadly thing, about being a Christian in America is that you can serve God and money and still be considered a good Christian. It is cool if you do not want to grapple with the issue. There is a lot of preaching and writing in America about being rich and being Christian, encouraging you that being rich is a sign of being a good Christian, much as there was in first century Judaism.

It is very deadly because if you do not grapple with this issue you may become an enemy of God because you love the world and not God and do not even realize it.

I wish I had an answer for you on every question. I wish I could tell you how much your how should cost, or your car, or your clothes or anything else. I wish I could tell myself all those answers. But I can tell you that need to grapple with them or face great peril. And, when I mean grapple, I mean reading what the New Testament says about money and candidly applying it to your life.

Verse 5 tells us God does not take this lightly. He is jealous for his people. (5) [I think the NIV gets this backward, speaking of the jealous spirit of men. But the context is God’s reaction to the behavior of his people.] When he made his covenant with Israel, he he told them they could not worship idols (other gods) because he is a jealous God. (Exodus 20:5) That means he demands exclusive loyalty and worship. So, he will not be pleased if you value money more than him. That is why he demanded that the rich young ruler give up all his wealth and follow.

Fortunately, verse 6 tells us God gives more grace. That is, while we are humbly struggling to ascertain God’s will and do it, he gives us grace when we fail to put him above money and possessions. He does oppose the proud, though. James, here, is quoting Proverbs 3:34. He gives grace to the humble, but not the proud. If money makes you proud, get rid of it. The proper response to grace is humility.

I do not feel the pull of these things as much as I used to, but I know the temptations lurk in the shadows. I know the Tempter is always out there. James tells us to submit ourselves to God. That is an act of humility, allowing God to work in us and on us, to give us more grace to conquer our weaknesses. It is submitting yourself to his lordship. This is exactly how I managed my desire for success a few decades ago. I submitted myself to God and he worked to rid me of that weakness and sin.

So, in this deal of loving God or loving the world, you will receive temptation from the world and strength from God if you seek it. James uses one of his famous comparisons. He said, in verse 8, to resist the devil and he will flee from you. The key is you resist, not run into his arms like a lover on the beach and say give me what I want. On the other side of the coin, if you draw near to God he will draw near to you. This is not an evangelistic verse. This verse tells us if we resist the devil and his temptation and draw near to God instead, the devil will go and God will draw near and keep you from sinning.

Part of drawing near to God is repentance. If we have fallen into love of the world, James calls us double minded. This goes back to chapter 1 where James said if you ask but you doubt you are double minded and unstable. It also alludes to verse 4 of this chapter, where James called them “adulterous people”. They are folks who are embracing the values and methods of the world instead of living according to God’s kingdom standards. If you have been double minded, you must repent to draw near to God. James said it two ways: (1) cleanse your hands and (2) purify your hearts.

“Cleanse your hands” signifies repentance of outward behavior. “Purify your hearts” signifies repentance of inward attitudes. Psalm 24:3-4 puts it this way? “Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart.”

Repentance is turning away from your sins, but also in deep regret over them. James said to be wretched, mourn and weep. This again is Old Testament language describing those under God’s judgment. In Joel 2:12, for example, God said “Yet even now, return to me with all you heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning and rend your hearts and not your garments.”

Have you ever felt this bad about your sin? You laughter should be replaced by mourning. Your joy turns to gloom. This are very strong and expressive words. In the Old Testament, one who laughter at God’s standards was a fool. Jesus dug in on this type of person also, in Luke 6:25, saying “Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.”

Since God hates sin intensely, so should we. When we sin, we should deeply regret it and mourn it. The idea often expressed today is hey do not sweat it, say “I am sorry” and get on with your life. That is not the picture of repentance in the Bible. David’s words in Palm 51 show genuine repentance.

Do Not Speak Evil Against A Brother or Sister
James 4:11-12

These verses may seem out of place to us at first. But we must remember the passage is speaking of fights and quarrels in the church. Angry disagreements often lead us to say evil things about or against each other. I think there is a since of slander here, saying things that are not true.