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Read Introduction to James


“Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.”



The “therefore” is a conclusion drawn from verse 18. The word of truth birthed us into the family of God and made us firstfruits of His creatures. That was the initial planting of the seed of God’s Word in our souls. Now, this verse tells us what the Word of God will do for us beyond our initial salvation. Christians need to move beyond the seed stage of spiritual birth.

lay aside

The New Testament uses “lay aside” for Paul’s clothes laid down at the feet of Stephen (Ac 7:57-60.) When it comes to “filthiness,” we must deliberately lay it aside like a filthy garment. The idea of “lay aside” is to put off from oneself.


We must deal with sin decisively and radically.


The principle of laying aside is the first half of conquering sin; the other half is applying the principles of the Word to our experience.

Romans 13:12 says that we are to cast off certain sin as a definite act:

Rom. 13:12, “The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.”

Paul presents the tandem of both putting off sin and the corollary of putting on the “new man” in Ephesians 4 and Colossians 3:

Eph. 4:22, “…that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.”

Col. 3:8-11, 8 “But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, 11 where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.”

Hebrews uses the term “lay aside” for setting aside non-sinful things that might impede our progress in the Christian life:

Heb. 12:1-2,  1 “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author, and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Peter uses “lay aside” for dealing with specific sins in our lives:

1 Pet. 2:1-3,  1 “Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, 2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.”