MR. WISE OR MR. OTHERWISE
Dr. Jerry Vines
James always dresses the Christian faith, not in Sunday duds,
but in everyday clothing. When James comes to talk about what the
Christian faith is he talks about it in the context of everyday living.
James is a very practical, down-to-earth kind of writer. He does not
deal with spiritual realities in the abstract, but rather he talks about
the Christian life in concrete, down-to-earth, everyday terms. A lot of
people talk about living the Christian life in the abstract, but it's a
different matter when we get down to the concrete.
When I was a teenager I learned a poem that applies here:
You are writing a gospel, a chapter each day,
By deeds that you do, by words that you say.
Men read what you write, whether faithless or true.
Say, what is the gospel according to you?
James is that way. He just talks about the fact that the
Christian life is not something you just talk about. It is not
something you boast about, but the Christian faith is something you live
everyday of your life.
John talks about a know-so salvation. James talks about a show-
so salvation. He says, you are are a Christian -- show me by the way
you live. In that context he deals with the matter of wisdom. You will
notice in verses 13-18 that is the great theme -- wisdom. In verse 13
he says if you are a wise man, show out of a good lifestyle your works
with humility of wisdom. He is saying is that the proof that a person is
wise is not by them pointing to the degrees on their wall, but rather
them pointing to their daily life and the humility and the actions of
their life on a daily basis.
There is a contrast made in these verses between a wisdom which
a wisdom from below in verse 15 and a wisdom which is a wisdom from
above in verse 17. That's the contrast that is being made. In a little
book on James by a man named Guy King he says there are two people in
these verses -- Mr. Wise and Mr. Otherwise.
Mr. Ot ...
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