Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
The first three admonitions slow to speak, quick to listen and slow to anger, were given to us in the previous section of scripture. These passages were required training in order for us to accomplish this next commandment of the Lord. We must remember James is speaking to Christian believers, these were Jewish converts to Christianity. James through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is telling all believers us included to put away all wickedness and evil behavior. God is commanding us as His children through our faith in Jesus to abstain from wickedness. With Jesus we have the ability to do this. We can accomplish this task because of our new nature. We are a new creation in Christ Jesus our Lord. Moreover, as children of God this is required in order for us to receive with humility and meekness the implanted word of God. Just like planting a seed in fertile soil will cause it to grow quickly. So to the Holy Spirit teaches us to put away all wickedness and evil behavior to prepare the soil of our hearts with meekness and humility. Which in turn allows Him to plant God’s word deep into our hearts and change our lives. God’s word leads to salvation because it leads us directly to Jesus. Both the Old and New Testaments speak of God’s plan of redemption for all of mankind.
Therefore, both the Old and New Testaments testify of Christ. The Greek word used for putting off or laying aside is, “apotithemi.” It carries the meaning of casting off or throwing away old dirty clothes in order to be properly clean. And interestingly enough, it was also occasionally used in reference to removing ear wax in order to better hear what people were saying. Which, as it turns out, is fitting for our study. So by putting off or laying aside all wickedness, it helps us to receive and hear the implanted word of God. Also working in concert with humility and meekness, it helps the Holy Spirit to plant God’s word deep into our hearts. This allows God’s word to grow and become fruitful in our lives. In addition receiving the implanted word of God brings joy into our lives because God’s word regenerates sinners. It’s God’s word through the work of the Holy Spirit, which brings about the sanctification of believers. And our sanctification will see its ultimate completion on the very day we meet Jesus face to face and receive our glorified bodies. In conclusion, what James is telling us in this verse is that we have been saved by grace through faith. We have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the implanting of God’s word deep in our hearts. Therefore, it’s now time for us to behave as Christians and cast away worldly lust. Putting off living as the world lives and live as Jesus intended us to live!