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James 2:1 by Robert Dean
Series:James (1998)
Duration:1 hr 8 mins 7 secs

Doctrine of Production Righteousness
James 2:1

We need to recall a few things about James. First of all, this epistle was written in order to teach the believer some vital principles related to spiritual growth. This is outlined in the first chapter where we learn that the believer grows through tests. In verses 19 & 20 James gives us three commands so that we can learn how to go through these tests of doctrine. Those three mandates are: quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger. Now through 1:21 through 2:26 James is unpacking the meaning of the phrase "quick to hear."  It means to keep the mouth shut (you can't listen when you are talking) and take in doctrine. Make the learning of God's Word the number one priority. The highest priority in the believer's means to learn what God has to say to him so that he can be in the process of renovating his life.

In chapter two we are going to see another example of the application of doctrine in the soul. At the end of chapter one there was application in vv. 26, 27. There were two prerequisites to taking in doctrine given in v. 21. The first had to do with confession of sin, which had to do with cleansing. This is the concept in the command "putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness." The second has to do with the means: "by means of humility." We learn the Word in an attitude of humility. Humility is equivalent to a) grace orientation; b) a mastery of the details of life—these are secondary, they are not the source of happiness; c) a relaxed mental attitude. All of this is under the category of humility and is a lack of arrogance. When we are arrogant we are self-absorbed and we focus on our own tests and trials and the adversities that we are going through.

The key word in this whole section is POIES [poihj], "practice, application."

The doctrine of production righteousness

1)  The Greek phrase that we are working with is KARPON DIKAIOSUNES [karpon dikaiosunhj]. DIKAIOSUNE is our word for righteousness, and KARPON is the accusative form of the noun KARPOS which means fruit. The ES ending to DIAKOSUNE indicates that this noun is in the genitive case. This is literally translated "fruit of righteousness." Then we have to ask which classification of rhe genitive this is (there are around 25). The most predominate kind is either a subjective genitive or an objective genitive. A subjective genitive looks at the noun (righteousness) in the genitive and says that that noun produces the action that is implied by the head noun. So that would be the fruit righteousness produces. Righteousness produces a certain fruit. If that is the meaning, then what we are talking about is imputed righteousness. Imputed righteousness provides us with a capacity for blessing. There are two categories of blessing in the Christian life in time: a) logistics, the provision of supply to truth, food, shelter, clothing, etc., and these are the same for every single believer whether they are advancing or retreating in the spiritual life; b) advanced grace blessings, i.e. contingent blessings in time. These are contingent because they are waiting for growth in terms of production righteousness. The subjective genitive says that this is the fruit that righteousness produces. But that construction "fruit of righteousness" can also be understood as an objective genitive. And objective genitive means that righteousness is the fruit produced. So in a subjective genitive righteousness produces the fruit; in the objective genitive it is the fruit that is produced that is righteousness. There is a third category in the Greek, and that is a plenary genitive. Plenary means full. What that means is that it functions as both a subjective and an objective genitive at the same time; both are true; both are present. It is a fruit that righteousness produces, the imputed righteousness that we receive at the moment of salvation, but it is a righteousness that is produced in the believer's life. So as the believer takes in the Word of God and applies it and grows, he produces a righteousness. That righteousness gives him the capacity to handle the contingent blessings that God has for the believer.

2)  Developing the analogy, fruit is the production of a plant. With the plant, first you have a seed. That seed is equivalent to the new life that you have that is produced by the reception of the gospel message. That seed is placed in the soil plus water and that provides the nutrients for that seed to germinate and grow. That is equivalent to the Holy Spirit Bible doctrine, the principles and precepts in the Word of God.

3)  As the seed soaks of the nutrition, puts out the little bud and then produces more growth, it then puts out buds which produce fruit. In that process, in order to increase the fruit production, there is pruning. Pruning is equivalent to the testing and the divine discipline in the belier's life in order cull from the believer's life those things which distract the believer from making doctrine the number one priority and advancing to spiritual maturity.      

4)  Production in phase two is called production righteousness. That production is fruit displayed in the believer's life, and there is vindication in phase two, or phase two justification. But phase two is built on a different righteousness than phase one justification.

5)   Scripture passages. Hebrews 12:11 NASB "All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness." Philippians 1:9 NASB "And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment." Paul has a goal in mind for the spiritual life of the Philippians and he is going to tell them what the end is for the spiritual life. Love is that which initiates God's plan of salvation for the human race, but the love of God works in conjunction with all of the other attributes of His character. What the righteousness of God rejects the justice of God condemns, but the love of God initiates a solution through the grace of God. Paul says, "that your love may abound." How can your love grow? If you think of love as emotion you will never understand this passage. Biblically speaking, love is not emotion, it has to do with knowledge. So we have the phrase, EN EPIGNOSEI [e)n e)pignwsei], and EPIGNOSIS relates to full or applied knowledge and is distinct from just GNOSIS which is academic knowledge. So love abounds on the basis of EPIGNOSIS. Discernment is the application of knowledge and making decisions. [10] "so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ." This is in stages. First your love increases by knowledge and all discernment, "so that"—there is a purpose. Approving the things that are excellent is application, making decisions, so that you will make the right kinds of choices in life. Then we have another result clause, "in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ." What is sincere and blameless? That is explained by the next clause in v. 11, "having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which {comes} through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God." So you become sincere and blameless by being filled with the fruit of righteousness. Here it implies more the imputation of righteousness at salvation because it comes through Jesus Christ. It starts of in the verse with PEPLEROMENOI [peplhrwomenoi]. This is the perfect passive participle of the noun PLEROO [plhrow] which means to be filled, to fill a capacity. So it starts with salvation with the imputation of righteousness and extends to sanctification through the production of righteousness, all of which comes ultimately from and through Jesus Christ and culminates in the glory and praise of God because that is our ultimate goal. It is to produce in our life something that reflects God's glory. Ephesians 2:8-10 NASB "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, {it is} the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For [explanation] we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them." The translation "good works" is the Greek preposition EPI [e)pi] plus the phrase ERGOIS AGATHOIS [e)rgoij a)gaqoij]], work of intrinsic good. EPI plus the dative always expresses goal, result, and purpose. So the purpose for your salvation, the reason God did all this, was not just do he could have you in heaven because you have such a wonderful personality and it is so much fun to have you around; he saved you to produce—production righteousness. This is not to be confused with the works of morality or the works of the sin nature. So we are created "for good works," i.e. production of divine good, good of intrinsic value, "which God prepared before hand," and then we have another purpose clause: "that we should walk in them." How does this take place? Romans 12:2 "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." We have a prohibition at the beginning: "And do not be conformed to this world." Then the command: "but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." The prohibition is talking about thinking—don't think according to the human viewpoint thinking of the world. That includes both the way in which you think and the content of your thinking. The positive mandate is to be transformed by renovating our thinking.