The "Implanted" Word
In James 1:21 we are not told merely to receive the word, but the “implanted” word. Now what does that mean? Continue reading . . .
In James 1:21 we are not told merely to receive the word, but the “implanted” word. Now what does that mean?
In speaking of the religious leaders of Israel who were trying to kill him, Jesus said: “you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you” (John 8:37b). Clearly the “word” or truth of who Jesus is had not been “implanted” in their hearts.
What makes this so remarkable is that no one knew the OT Scriptures any better than did the Pharisees. They had memorized it. They had studied it for a lifetime. But the “word” of God and of Jesus had no place in their souls. Their knowledge of God’s word was solely a matter of spiritual pride. It was a tool by which they arrogantly thought themselves better and more holy than all other people. The “word” was in a certain sense inside them, in their heads, but it had not blossomed forth in their hearts. They slavishly obeyed it, but they didn’t love it.
Conversely, James is confident that the people to whom he is writing his letter had the “word” “implanted” in their hearts. When, like seed, it was sown into their souls it took root. It burrowed down deeply and spread its roots throughout their inner being. It sank in. It gripped them.
This is precisely what happened in the experience of the Christians in Thessalonica. Paul describes their response to his ministry in their city:
“And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers” (1 Thess. 2:13).
The word of God communicated by Paul and received and believed by these Christians didn’t come and go. It didn’t fly into one ear and just as quickly make its exit out of the other. It remained. It was implanted in their minds and hearts. We know this because Paul says it is even now “at work in you.” Here is another example taken from the first epistle of the apostle John:
“I write to you fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one” (1 John 2:14).
When the word is not only heard but enters into us and is joyfully received and cherished it is “implanted” in our souls and does its work: changing us, convicting us of our sin, encouraging us, providing us with reasons and the incentive to obey, reminding us daily of God’s sure and certain promises, showing us the heart of Christ and the hope we have in him, etc., etc.
To be continued . . .