Summary: The Bible is full of great truths. But, these truths can do you no good, even if you know them, if you don’t receive them.
I want you to take your Bibles now and turn to James chapter 1, and we’ll begin reading where we left off this morning. And, that is with verse 21, James chapter 1 and verse 21. We want to speak to you on a truth that we studied together some time ago. But, since we’re going verse by verse through James, we will restudy and reemphasize this truth tonight. And, it is how to receive the Word of God.
“Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed”—or in his doing—“If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world” (James 1:21–27).
Now, the Bible is full of great facts. And, these facts are even more than facts, they are truths. But, these truths can do you no good, even if you know them, if you don’t receive them. To have facts is not enough. Someone says, “I know the plan of salvation.” Well, dear friend, I want to tell you that you can know the plan of salvation, and believe the plan of salvation, and go straight to Hell. You’re not saved by the plan of salvation. You’re saved by the man of salvation, and His name is Jesus. And, there are a lot of people who know the theology, but they have never received the truth.
And, I want to tell you sir, that you can back slide with a Bible under your arm, if you do not receive the Word of God. It is one thing to have facts about Jesus; it is another thing to know the Lord Jesus Christ. It is one thing to hear the Word of God; it is quite another thing to welcome the Word, to receive the Word.
Notice in verse 21, James is talking about receiving the Word, “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word”—that is the word that gets in. It means the implanted word that is alive like a seed. Receive that living word—“which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21).
“Now, wait a minute pastor. What do you mean save our souls? We’re already saved.” And, the book of James is written to save people, written to the 12 tribes scattered abroad, those who’re already saved. Why do they need to be saved if they already have been saved?
Well, learn this about salvation. Salvation is in three tenses. We have been saved. We are being saved, and we shall be saved. There’s no contradiction. All three truths are there. I have been saved—that is, in the past when I received Jesus Christ as my personal Savior, I was saved—saved forever from the penalty of sin. And, I shall be saved—one day when I go to Heaven—from the possibility of sin. But, I am being saved right now from the power of sin. And, that’s what James is talking about. He’s not talking about going to Heaven one day when he says, “…receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21). But, he’s saying you receive the Word of God that is able to deliver your psyche. That’s what the Greek word soul is, psyche, your mind, your emotion and your will. He’s saying that the Word of God is able to sanctify you. That’s what he’s talking about when he says, “The Word of God is able to save your soul.” He’s not talking here, primarily, about having your sins forgiven in the past, or going to Heaven in the future. But, he’s talking about that the Word of God, right now, will be able to give you deliverance—the saving of your mind, your emotion, your will—your deliverance from the power, and pollution of sin, right now.
The same thing is taught—look in Psalm 19 for a moment. You may want to just jot it down along side this verse, but let’s turn to it because I want to read a little extended passage from Psalm 19. Beginning in verse 7, and there again you get the idea—the delivering, saving power of the Word of God. Psalm 19 and verse 7: “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul,” again the psyche. “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward” (Psalm 19:7–11). Oh, my friends, if you could only understand the power of this book that’s able to deliver your souls.