“If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.” -James 4:17 (NIV)
I’ve met people who tell me that they will do what they want, despite knowing it’s wrong, because God will understand and forgive them. Beware such thinking! I recently wrote a cautionary post about antinomianism, the fancy word for living as if there were a Get Out of Hell Free card.
Being a true believer results in fruit of action that our flesh may want to run from for easier pursuits, but our lives are not our own. And the more we do what is right, the easier it is each time, as God carries us through the spiritual battle of not weakening to temptation.
Salvation is not a Get Out of Hell Free card!
Oh, the conviction the Holy Spirit strikes in our hearts when we knowingly go against what is right in God’s eyes!
The context for this verse follows warnings against boasting, to say that one will go and accomplish this or that tomorrow, as if we were solely responsible for our fortunes. Yet, that is exactly what the world tells us: we make our own luck…we make our own destiny.
In fact, anything that transpires is whatever God’s will allows, so as true believers, it’s more accurate and God-fearing (respecting) to say:
Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” -James 4:15 (NIV)
When we know what God wants us to do, and act on it, we know we are honoring and pleasing Him in doing so, and can be at peace with Him and the Holy Spirit.