James 1:27: “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.”
In a single statement, James reduces the precepts of the Gospel Law under three headings:
1. The God-ward Precepts of the Gospel Law—“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father…”
2. The Relational Precepts of the Gospel Law—“To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction…”
3. The Personal Precepts of the Gospel Law—“To keep himself unspotted from the world.”
Having looked more closely at the personal precepts of the Gospel Law, we now turn our attention to the God-ward precepts.
When the precepts of the Gospel Law were introduced (see the seventh study), I enumerated several God-ward precepts without making further comment. My only purpose in that study was show that the believer is given certain responsibilities towards God. I wish now to expand the list, but as it is only my intention to highlight the precepts, I will not provide a commentary for each text. This I will leave for the believer to explore during his/her own study time.
1. The believer is to worship God in spirit (the new nature) and in truth.
John 4:23,24: “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”
2. The believer is to come boldly unto the throne of grace.
Hebrews 4:14-16: “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
3. The believer is to draw nigh unto God.
James 4:8: “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.”
4. The believer is to rejoice in the Lord always.
Philippians 4:4: “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.”
5. The believer is to give thanks unto the Lord in all things.
1 Thessalonians 5:18: “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
6. The believer is to make his requests known unto God.
Philippians 4:6,7: “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
7. The believer is to boast in the Lord.
2 Corinthians 10:17,18: “But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.”
8. The believer is to humble himself in the sight of the Lord.
James 4:10: “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”
(9) The believer is to submit himself unto God.
James 4:7: “Submit yourselves therefore to God.”
10. The believer is to glorify God in his body and in his spirit (new nature).
1 Corinthians 6:19,20: “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
11. The believer is to glorify God in whatsoever he does.
1 Corinthians 10:31: “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”
12. The believer is to do all things in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Colossians 3:17: “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”
13. The believer is to seek the Kingdom of God first.
Matthew 6:31-33: “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
14. The believer is to sanctify the Lord God in his heart.
1 Peter 3:15,16: “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: having a good conscience;”
15. The believer is to present his body a living sacrifice unto God.
Romans 12:1,2: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
16. The believer is to serve the Lord humbly.
Matthew 6:1-4: “Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: that thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.”
17. The believer is to serve the Lord God without compromise.
First, the Lord God is to be loved/served singularly.
Matthew 6:24: “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”
Second, the Lord God is to be loved/served supremely.
Matthew 10:34-39: “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.”
Mark 10:28-31: “Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, but he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last first.”
18. The believer is to sacrifice to the Lord covertly.
Matthew 6:16-18: “Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; that thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.”
19. The believer is to humbly cast his cares upon the Lord.
1 Peter 5:6,7: “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”
20. The believer to rest content in the Lord.
Hebrews 13:5,6: “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”
21. The believer is to commit the keeping of his soul to God in well doing.
1 Peter 4:17-19: “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.”
22. The believer is to keep himself from idolatry.
1 John 5:21: “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.”
Jared Smith served twenty years as pastor of a Strict and Particular Baptist church in Kensington (London, England). He now serves as an Evangelist in the Philippines, preaching the gospel, organizing churches and training gospel preachers.