knowing that we will receive a stricter judgement – It could be assumed that the Jewish Christians were starting to teach something that they didn’t clearly understand. This brings in much danger to those who hear the teaching, and even more so to those who give the teaching.
It is important to note that James includes himself in this ‘stricter judgement’. He is fully aware of his part in the Body of Christ – a teacher. He understands clearly his responsibility as an instructor/master (Strong’s G#1320 – didaskalos)
A teacher must live his life according to the standards of the Word he is teaching. A man must check his motives and his ability before he enters into the office. God requires excellence in His house and His bride must be taught and looked after by those He has called and commissioned to instruct the Church. A teacher must teach the truth.
The Word of God speaks clearly about teaching and the judgement of those that give instruction.
Matthew 7:2 – 5 – For with whatever judgement you judge, you shall be judged; and with whatever measure you measure out, it shall be measured to you again. And why do you look on the splinter that is in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the beam that is in your own eye? Or how will you say to your brother, Let me pull the splinter out of your eye; and, behold a beam is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First cast the beam out of your own eye, and then you shall see clearly to cast the splinter out of your brother’s eye.
Mark 12:38 – 40 – And He said to them in His teaching, Beware of the scribes, who love to walk about in robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost places at feasts who devour widow’s houses, and as a pretence make long prayers. These shall receive greater condemnation.
Luke 12:48 – But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask for more.
2 Corinthians 5:10 – For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, so that each one may receive the things done through the body, according to that which he has done, whether good or bad.
Ephesians 4:11 – 15 – And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head – Christ.
Our words must live up to our lifestyle. The tongue and the words that it speaks must correspond to the life that the person lives. Jesus warned about hypocrisy and was often speaking to the Pharisees about it (Eight times in Matthew 23).
Instructors or teachers will receive a ‘stricter judgement’ because they need to be completely aware of what they are teaching others. Galatians 5:8 – 9 reminds us that a little leaven leavens the whole lump. (See also 1 Corinthians 5:8 – 10). A little bit of bad teaching can go a long way. Bad teaching or a false foundation can corrupt a whole doctrine and guide people away from the truth found in the teachings of Christ and His Word. Teachers should be wary of people stumbling because of their teaching and practise.
Jeremiah was one Old Testament ministry that had a clear calling and foundation from God.
The ministry of the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah was a teaching ministry and based on a firm foundation. He had a two-fold ministry;
- To root out and pull down; to destroy and throw down
- To build and plant
Jeremiah was called by God to firstly bring down false teachings and philosophies that had rooted themselves in the hearts and minds of Judah at the time of the successive kings Josiah, Jehoiakim and Zedekiah.
Before truth can be established there must be the proper preparation for the foundation. If truth is mixed in with error then heresy occurs and we are unable to rightly divide the Word of Truth.
If we allow truth to build on a doctrinally weak foundation then we arrive at;
- False assurance
- False religion
- False satisfaction
Truth must be built upon truth – line upon line, precept upon precept. (Isaiah 28:10)