WISDOM

Where are you getting your wisdom from? This verse from James says it all. There is only one place to get wisdom that is pure, peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy, impartial, sincere, and will bear good fruit.

If it does not come down from above, note what James says, it is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.

Wisdom from Above

Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. James 3:13-18

Words make an impact for good or bad. One kind word can change someone’s entire day.

One sentence can change your life forever. If the Holy Spirit convicts you of your sin and you repent of those sins and earnestly desire to get right with God and accept what Jesus has accomplished for you by dying in your place then this one sentence will change your life forever.

Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29

My Heavenly Father, please wash me clean in the blood of your Son, Jesus, truly the lamb of God spoken of by John the Baptist.”

You do need to be baptised and you will want to be, so you are obedient to God’s commands. Note also the signs that should accompany you receiving the Holy Spirit.

Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name, they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” Mark 16:16-18

Also, if you are saved you will want to get on with doing the works that God has prepared for you to do.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.Ephesian 2:8-10

HOW IS COVETING IDOLATRY? FAILURE TO FEAR, LOVE AND TRUST GOD

How is it that “coveting” is such a severe sin that it rates inclusion in the Ten Commandments? Coveting does not overtly harm our neighbour.  Desiring what my neighbour has does not hurt him, unless coveting gives way to actually acting on that desire, by, for example, violating the commandment against stealing.  But coveting is a sin that harms me, even if I never act upon it.  Coveting is not a matter of committing external actions, as in other commandments.  Rather, it is a condition of the heart.

Coveting is not just as an action but an internal state is the point Jesus makes in the Sermon on the Mount.  Not just murder but hatred and contempt violates the commandment against killing.  Not just actual fornication but lust violates the commandment against adultery (Matthew 5:21-28).

In fact, the sinful inner state is the prior cause of the other sins.  Before you steal, you first covet what belongs to your neighbor.  Before you commit adultery, you covet your neighbor’s wife.  The original sin of Adam and Eve involved coveting – wanting to be like God (Genesis 3:5).

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.Colossians 3:5

How is coveting idolatry?  To sinfully desire what your neighbor has is to be discontented with what God has given you.  It is thus a failure to “fear, love, and trust in God above all things,” Both have to do with the lack of faith.

Faith made possible by Jesus sacrifice on The Cross

Graven images can distract us from trusting the true God, and so can our desire for possessions or relationships.  But we can trust God to meet all of our needs.  And, in fact, He has already given us gifts that are right for us, and He will continue to do so.  We do not need to covet what He has done for someone else.

The Law leads us inexorably to the sin within our own heart.  And the cure is faith, made possible by the Cross of Jesus Christ, who has atoned for both our external and our internal sins. He offers both forgiveness and an inner transformation wrought by the Holy Spirit that bears fruit in love for both God and our neighbor. Thus the Law leads to the Gospel.  As Luther said, if we can just fulfill the first commandment, to have no other gods before the God of the Bible – that is, to have faith in Him–all of the other commandments will take care of themselves.