Imagine what it would have been like to have grown up in Jesus’ family! Imagine what it would have been like to have seen how Jesus behaved as a child – to have watched how He treated others. What would it have been like to have heard what Jesus said in every situation? What would it have been like to experience His love for all those years? Well, in the writings circulated and widely read by the Early Church, we have such a book written by Jesus’ very own flesh and blood brother. I’m sure many of you are asking right now, where can I get this book? You don’t have to look far. In fact, that very book is in your Bible and is called the Book of James. After Jesus’ resurrection, James grew to believe that his very own brother was the Son of the Living God and the Savior of the world. Wow! What an experience!
The New Heart
We learn from the New Testament, from the historian Josephus, and the writings of the Church Fathers that James, called the Just, was the brother of Jesus and the author of the Epistle of James (Gal. 1:19). There is no other book in the entire Bible like the book of James that is so close to the heart of Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount. From his own first hand experience, James gives us a look at what the New Nature, the God Nature is really like. And what is so stunning about that? This is the New Nature we have inherited from Jesus Christ!
One of the great promises that is so central to the New Covenant is the fact that God promises to take out the stony heart of the fallen nature and replace it with a heart fashioned like His own: “I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh.” “The days are coming when I will make a New Covenant…and I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts and I will be their God and they will be my people” (Ezk.11:19-20, Heb. 8:8-11).
- Each one of us must make a full surrender of “self” to Christ’s Lordship.
- Each of us must make a full transfer of our earthly residence from the world to the kingdom of God, if we want to experience the joy that is found there (James 4:4-7).
We can’t have our feet in both kingdoms and hope to experience the abundant life that Christ promised. James points out the way to this awesome experience.