“The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.”
“These” is anything you heard from the apostle, whether in formal or informal teaching. We have to understand truth before we can practice it. Many people try to experience Christianity without either knowing the principles of the Christian life or how to apply truth to experience.
The word “do” means to practice. The idea is to habitually carry out an action. Practice as a habit. Verse 8 instructed our thought life; verse 9 instructed us on conduct. It is not enough to know. We must do (I Jn 1:6; James 1:22). Truth must first go to the mind, then the heart and will, and finally into action. God directs truth to the total person. God did not design it to remain in the mind but to appropriate into experience. Truth that does not grip the total person does not fulfill its purpose.
James says these people hear but do not “do” the word. He says these people are like someone standing before a mirror that reveals their face is dirty. Instead of washing his face, he walks away. The disclosure of the mirror should have caused him to act. A man who listens to the Word of God and does nothing about it is like the man who sees his dirty face in a mirror and walks away. James points out that a person who mechanically listens to the Word without doing anything about it will never enter God’s blessing. God rejects him because he is unclean. His spiritual face is dirty. He has no excuse because the mirror disclosed his condition. Blessing comes as we appropriate truth to experience.
The tense means to “keep on practicing habitually.” Paul’s presentation of Christianity is not pretty mottoes or catch slogans. He wanted aspirations to become actualities and professions to become performances.
Listen to the formal teaching of God’s Word
Apply the principles of God’s Word to experience (edification complex)
Listen to the teaching of God’s Word in informal situations.
Get the point of “rubbing elbows” with mature believers.
Practice the above four points.
The sequence is important. If we do not know the content of God’s Word, we cannot practice it. If we do not apply the principles of God’s Word to experience, we cannot practice it. If we do not take opportunities to expose ourselves to informal teaching of God’s Word, such as a Bible study, we cannot practice God’s Word. If we do not experience personal relationships with mature Christians, we cannot practice it.
If we ever get into a pressure situation, the resources for relating Christianity to our emergency will not be there. If we face a temptation and we do not have the Word of God stored in our mind, we will fall. If we have the Word of God in our mind but apply it infrequently, there is a greater likelihood of falling. A picture of this is a student who tries to bluff his way through an exam without preparation. The Christian who tries to bluff his way through the Christian life will become disillusioned.
What we believe determines what we think; what we think determines who we are; who we are determines what we do.
Do you fail in the practice of your Christianity because do you not begin at the right place?