“Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door” (Jam. 5:9). Do you see the Judge? He who fears Him has seen Him. Do we at least call to mind that He is right at the door? What does the apostle mean by his words? He means that God is watching us intently. Many churches are falling back from fulfilling the Lord’s will, because they are indulged in complaining against each other. They are interrupting the heavenly work. This is a sign of spiritual laxity. Of the many temptations Satan induces into believers complaining against one another is the frequent one. It is easy on those complaining as it makes them feel righteous. But, the greatest disadvantage they do not perceive is the possibility of being judged by the Lord. Complaining against one another is an excuse to their inability to grow spiritually. Early churches too were frequently trapped under this weakness.
What do people complain about? Is it about the weaknesses of others? Then, they did not comprehend the truth that the Lord appoints the weak in the church to bestow on them more glory. It is for the Lord’s glory that weaker brethren are present. Know that all are weak in Christ at the time when they were unable to eat solid food. Through weakness God makes us strong. Take the analogy from the account of the person born blind. Did not Jesus say that he was born blind not because of his sin or his parents’ sin, but for displaying God’s works? Was not his weakness blindness? But when Jesus healed him, he was made strong like those with sight. Even so, weaker brethren are present that they may receive abundant honor. Weaknesses are different from sins. A sin must be condemned and a sinner at times must be kept away from the church that his or her spirit might be saved. For instance, adultery, robbery and foul speech are sin; quick to speak, imprudence and fear are weaknesses. However, when churches are unable to differentiate between them, it signifies their spiritual laxity. And as they complain against one another, they sin. It displays their faithlessness. They complain not knowing that the Lord calls for purity.
When the churches grow in the Lord, they will aptly understand their weaknesses. They not only grow in number, but also become strong in Christ. The Lord dwells richly in them that all have the same care for one another. There is not a weakness that He cannot purge. In their weaknesses He teaches them or disciplines them. For this reason, the one preaching the gospel must be full of Christ. There are the weaknesses of the poor and there are the weaknesses of the rich, but the Lord is the Judge of them all. Only the Lord brings the both together through the one proclaiming the gospel. Each one hearing the word ought to be concerned about his condition and must strive in the Lord. Only then can one truly encourage another. This is binding in the Lord. And, having this in mind Paul elsewhere said that each one must stay with God in that condition in which he was called. Or else, we become like the faithless to be judged.
It is not good to fall into the hands of the Almighty. Therefore, it is wise not to invite into us the matters of faithlessness. There is a perfect solution to avoid this. “But whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him” (1 John 2:5). The only thing that keeps us from judgment is being in Him. Judgment is for those that are outside of God; churches are the called by God to be in Him. For this reason, the church of the living God is the safe haven to all those who believe in Him. There is only one thing that defines us as being in Him. It is keeping His word. The word perfects in us His love. Then, we are certainly the strong. When we live like the strong, the weak are encouraged to become like us. Indeed we have been made the examples for those who are to be perfected in the Lord. Where then is complaining? Rather, by faith, we differentiate between sin and weakness. We fulfill the will of God and the weak receive the will of God. This is the power of the word of God and through it He demonstrates His righteousness.
Sadly, many churches are yet to come to this conclusion. They are shooting poisoned arrows at each other in the form of complaining. This surely does not yield in peace and prosperity, but vanity and pain. Every believer must relentlessly pursue the course of being perfected in the love of God. Love has no enemies and laxity; it flings no insults. It has a perfect result. “Then I looked, and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads” (Rev. 14:1). Do you want to be perfected by God’s love? Then, keep His word! Do not lean on the knowledge of man or on his mental power. This will ruin you. It has already ruined many. The word that God has given them is the same He gave you. No man can interpret God or the Word except by the wisdom of His Spirit. And, He pours His Spirit upon whom He confers His unending love. Men that rely on mental power shun this truth. For a moment set aside the condition of the 12 apostles. Consider the theologians and the biblical scholars of our time and the intellectual prowess they gained by grinding themselves in many ways. They are a sign for the quantum of knowledge that did not exist before. Yet, has God failed to perfect His love in men through the ages? The church never ceased to exist since the time of the twelve. God never lacked saints. What I am saying is the word is the power of God to those who believe.
If this seems foolish to you, then consider me foolish. But, there is no way that man’s wisdom determines the power of God. Lack of this understanding is making many churches strive with their minds than by faith. I certainly do not demean intellectual prowess. But, it is useless and renders wastefulness without having found God. Does not the apostle Paul stand for this as a genuine example before us? When he found God, the Law became useful to him to prove Christ. He who does not look to God for wisdom is as good as the one who says, ‘there is no God.’ In such person God’s love is not perfected. If some are hearing him, they too will be like him. Your striving by faith must be to have the name of the Lamb and of His Father on your forehead. And Jesus said, “You too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect” (Luke 12:40).
This Word is telling tale, unless believed. Try telling this Word to the one without belief. He will hiss and laugh at you. When we gather together is it not by faith to receive strength for the sudden appearance of our Lord? But when we gather frivolously, our gathering by the command of the Spirit becomes invalid. Faith is no longer working in us, but only gathering together. This is the guilt in many of us. We have made faith as the Law of the former times. It was the same error that Israel committed. What was the outcome? They performed the Law, but without faith. They went into spiritual laxity. Sin quickly wrapped them up in death. Therefore, Jesus warned saying, “be ready.” We ought to be ready spiritually, and faith in Christ is the only means for it. The depth of your faith in Christ manifests to you the depth in God’s power; not the works or the mental power of men. You overcome the world through the works of God. Christ guides you to perform the works that work along with faith.
To some in the days of Paul the word of God was a telling tale. They began “saying, ‘This man persuades men to worship God contrary to the law’” (Acts 18:13). They could not believe the word; they did not want to believe. Even if one of their own, who persecuted the Way, was testifying, they did not want to believe. O, the stretch of stubbornness in men and how it typifies their foolish complaining! The Law brought forth nothing. Yet they desired it, plainly because they did not want to transform. But, the Lord said all things are possible to one who believes. All truly means all! This determines the depth of your faith in Him. Every word that Christ spoke is of faith. It is beyond what we see, touch and taste. The one who keeps His word has past the stubbornness that typifies complaining. For as long as he keeps the word he keeps His promises, power, truth and righteousness. This is the nature of the strong in Christ. “We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ” (Col. 1:28).
Paul did persuade them to forsake the Law. He demarcated between the matters of the flesh and of faith. The matters of the flesh, whether the Law or the mental power of men, cannot present a man complete in Christ. The Law did not have complete wisdom and so does the mental power of men. The Law punished and brought death and so will the mental power. But, faith in Christ saves. It provides wisdom to believers by admonishing and teaching. Do not be like the churches whose guilt is the lack of all wisdom. Take from a man like Paul, who apart from mental power knew God through believing. He was full of Christ. Men with mental power do not know it. They are of the world. Do not fear them or their hatred. Because of them many are refraining from belief. But, their presence is not a mystery. The Spirit has long ago revealed saying, “Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you” (1 John 3:13). Know the Judge is right at the door. He will judge for you righteously.