James 1:12-15

We’ll be gathering this evening to begin our discussion of James. In James 1:12-15, the apostle speaks of temptation leading to sin and to death. In his Commentary on the Sermon on the  Mount, St. Augustine (354-430) elaborates on James’ statement. In commenting on Jesus’ teaching on adultery (lust, not the physical act per se, is sinful) (Matt. 5:27-30)), Augustine sets forth three necessary and sufficient conditions for committing a sin: receiving an evil suggestion, taking pleasure in the thought of performing the act suggested, and consenting to perform the act. We see the outlines of this trichotomy (suggestion-pleasure-consent) in James as well, particularly in his teaching that sin arises from disordered desire and not from God.  

Two centuries later, Pope Gregory the Great writing to Augustine of Canterbury (the first Archbishop of Canterbury who died in 604) traces this understanding of sin back to the Fall.  Gregory writes, “All sin is consummate in three ways – suggestion, pleasure, and consent. Suggestion comes through the devil, pleasure through the flesh, and consent through the will. The Serpent suggested the first sin, and Eve, as flesh, took physical pleasure in it, which Adam, as spirit, consented. . . . For when the evil spirit suggests a sin, no sin is committed unless the flesh takes pleasure in it; but when the flesh begins to take pleasure, then sin is born; and if deliberate consent is given, sin is complete.” (Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of England, Bk. 1, Ch. 27).  Again, it is not God who causes us to sin, but intentional self-gratification.

Dinner is at 6. The menu is turkey areyas. Discussion about 6:45. Hope to see you here. Please bring a friend.   

Happy are they who have not walked in the counsel of  the wicked, *
   nor lingered in the way of sinners, nor sat in the seats of the scornful!
Their delight is in the law of the Lord, *
   and they meditate on his law day and night.
They are like trees planted by streams of water,
   bearing fruit in due season, with leaves that do not wither; *
   everything they do shall prosper.

Psalm 1:1-3

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