Today. I want to go a little further into James 1:21. I want you to particularly look at the words “Filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness.” Since James tells us that we must remove and discard from our lives whatever is meant by these two concepts, it is imperative that we understand exactly what he is talking about.
The Greek word for “filthiness” describes filth that is obnoxiously filthy. The man pictured in James 2:2 is described in this same way. In this verse, James described two categories of people who attended the Early Church—those who were nice in appearance and those who were filthy dirty. About these categories, James wrote, “For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, and in goodly apparel, then there come also a man in vile raiment.”
That word vile at the end of this verse and the word filthiness in James 1:21 come from the same Greek word. James 2:2 portrays a man whose body and clothes are so encrusted with filth that he emits a disgusting odor to everyone nearby. Have you ever been around a person who smelled that badly?
This is the same Greek word James uses in James 1:21 when he describes believers who have bad attitudes! In other words, when a believer is being pessimistic, downbeat, negative, uncooperative, gloomy, cynical, or indifferent, it just stinks to God. Nothing stinks worse than an attitude of a grumpy and pessimistic person. In fact, a person with a bad attitude emits such a distasteful aroma that it will literally drive people away from him! This person has to make the decision to “lay apart all filthiness”—which in this case is not referring to dirty clothes, but the stinking and repulsive attitude he carries in his life.
You need to take your own temperature and see where you stand.
Pastor Earl Goings shares his thoughts on everyday concerns.
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