James 4

 

 

vs. 1-12 - REBUKE OF QUARRELS ARISING FROM PRIDE AND GREED.

A terribly sudden transition from the “peace” with which James 3 closed

 

1 “From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence,

even of your lusts that war in your members?”  Whence wars and whence fightings

among you? The second "whence" (πόθενpothen – whence; which place) is omitted

in the Received Text, after K, L, Syriac, and Vulgate; but it is supported by א, A, B, C,

the Coptic, and Old Latin. Wars... fightings (πόλεμοι...μάχαιpolemoi...machai –

battles...fightings). To what is the reference? Μάχαι (fightings) occurs elsewhere in

the New Testament only in II Corinthians 7:5, "Without were fightings, within were

fears;" and II Timothy 2:23; Titus 3:9, in both of which passages it refers to disputes

and questions. It is easy, therefore, to give it the same meaning here. Πόλμοι (wars;

battles), elsewhere in the New Testament, as in the Septuagint, is always used of

actual warfare. In behalf of its secondary meaning, "contention," Grimm ('Lexicon

of New Testament Greek') appeals to Sophocles, 'Electra,' 1. 219, and Plato, 'Phaed.,

' p. 66, c. But it is better justified by Clement of Rome, § 46, Ινα τί ἔρεις καὶ θυμοὶ

καὶ διχοστσασίαι καὶ σχίσματα πόλεμος τε ἐν ὑῖν - a passage which has almost the

nature of a commentary upon St. James's language. There is then no need to seek

an explanation of the passage in the outbreaks and insurrections which were so

painfully common among the Jews. Lusts (ἡδονῶν – haedonon – gratifications;

pleasures [from which we get the modern word for Hedonism in philosophy] –

CY - 2018);  Revised Version, "pleasures." "An unusual sense of ἡδοναί, hardly

distinguishable from ἐπιθυμίαι – epithumiai – lusts; strong desires, in fact taken

up by ἐπιθυμεῖτε (Alford). With the expression, "that war in your members,"

compare I Peter 2:11, "Abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul."

 

     The Origin of Strife and Conflict to be Sought in Selfish Lust (v. 1)

 

Our “members” are the field of battle in which, or rather the instruments

with which, the conflict is fought; and all the while they are really warring

against the soul (I Peter 2:11). The conflict, therefore, is a suicidal one.

 

2 “Ye lust, and have not:  ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: 

ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.” This verse gives us an

insight into the terrible difficulties with which the apostles had to contend. Those

to whom St. James was writing were guilty of lust, which actually led to murder.

So the charge in I Peter 4:15 evidently presupposes the possibility of a professing

Christian suffering as a murderer or thief. Ye kill. The marginal rendering "envy"

supplies a remarkable instance of a false reading once widely adopted, although

resting simply on conjecture. There is no variation in the manuscripts or ancient

versions. All alike have φονεύετε – phoneuete – ye are murdering. But, owing to

the startling character of the expression in an address to Christians, Erasmus

suggested that perhaps φθονεῖτεphthoneite - ye envy, was the original reading,

and actually inserted it in the second edition of his Greek Testament (1519).

In his third edition (1522) he wisely returned to the true reading, although,

strangely enough, he retained the false one, "invidetis," in his Latin version,

whence it passed into that of Beza and others. The Greek φθονεῖτε appears,

however, in a few later editions, e.g. three editions published at Basle, 1524

(Bebelius), 1546 (Herwagius), and 1553 (Beyling), in that of Henry Stephens,

1576; and even so late as 1705 is found in an edition of Oritius. In England the

reading obtained a wide currency, being actually adopted in all the versions in

general use previous to that of 1611, viz. those of Tyndale, Coverdale, Taverner,

the Bishops Bible, and the Geneva Version. The Authorized Version relegated it

to the margin, from which it has been happily excluded by the Revisers, and thus,

it is to be hoped, it has finally disappeared. Ye kill, and desire to have. The

combination is certainly strange. Dean Scott sees in the terms a possible allusion

to "the well-known politico-religious party of the zealots," and suggests the

rendering, "ye play the murderers and zealots." It is, perhaps, more probable

that ζηλοῦτεzaeloute – are boiling; are being jealous - simply refers to

covetousness; compare the use of the word (although with a better meaning)

in 1 Corinthians 12:31; 14:1, 39.

 

  • The Origin of Strife and Conflict to be Sought in Selfish Lust.

Our “members” are the field of battle in which, or rather the instruments

with which, the conflict is fought; (do you ever feel like your life is a

battlefield?) and all the while they are really warring against the soul –

            “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from            

            fleshly lusts which war against the soul” - (1 Peter 2:11).  The conflict,  

            therefore, is a suicidal one.  James sweeps away the excuses for petty

            quarrels and differences among Christians as so many dusty cobwebs. He

            drags out into the blaze of gospel light the one true origin of strife.Wars”

            and fightings have their fountain within the soul and the evil desires of the        

            heart.  They come (vs. 1,3) “of your lusts (ἡδονῶν) pleasures,” i.e. of the  

            cravings of your carnal hearts - (from  ἡδον - hay-don-ay’; from νδάνω

          [to please; to satisfy]; sensual delight; by implication desire: lust, pleasure) 

{From this word comes the modern philosophy of Hedonism – according to

Wikipediait is a philosophy that argues that pleasure is the most important

pursuit of humanity”}  (When working on my Master’s Degree in Education

at Murray State University in the early 1970’s, I was fed a steady diet of

Hedonism and other worldly and sensual philosophies like Naturalism, Freudism,

Realism, Existentialism, etc. ad nauseum.  There was an anti-Christian bias

promoted at that time and now in 2009  we find the United States is concerned

with Socialism in the government – “caveat emptor” – let the buyer beware!  

Is it any wonder that things seem ripe for “anti-Christ?”   And, not far behind

is the SECOND COMING OF JESUS CHRIST.  Christ said “And when these

things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift your heads; for your

redemption draweth nigh! - ”CY – 2009)  It is royal pride, or the lust of power,

or sometimes the mischievous impatience of an idle army, that “lets slip the

dogs of war  between nations. It is avarice and envy that foment the social

strife between capital and labor. It is the spirit of Diotrephes “who loveth

to have the preeminence among them” (III John 1:9) that produces the evils

of sectarianism.  It is the wild and selfish passions of the natural heart that stir

            up the animosities and conflicts of private life. These passions “war in your       

            members;” issuing from the citadel of “Mansoul,” they pitch their camp in

            the organs of sense and action. There they not only “war against’ the     

            regenerated nature (1 Peter 2:11), and against one another, but against one’s          

            neighbor, clamouring for gratification at the expense of his rights and his

            welfare.  This truth is further expanded in v.2, and in a way which recalls

            James 1:14-15; or which suggests the analysis of sin given by Thomas

            a Kempis: The first stage is that of unreasonably desiring something which we      

            have not. The second is that of murderously envying those whose possessions

            we covet  - cherishing such feelings as David did towards Uriah the Hittite, or      

            Ahab towards Naboth. The third stage is that of open contention and discord —

            “ye fight and war.” But common to all the stages is the consciousness of

            want; and at the end of each, as v. 2 reminds us, this consciousness

            becomes further intensified. Ye “have not;” “cannot obtain;” “ye have not,”

            - even after all your fierce strivings.   Man consists of a higher and lower

            nature, spiritual and psychical, the one designed by God to govern and regulate    

            the other. But without such governance the desires of the lower life are riotous     

            and rampant, and the members of the ungoverned man are the battle-ground for   

            base cravings. And from the man himself the battle is projected into the world.     

            The war-spirit, therefore, is generated by that unrest of the soul which            

            WHICH ONLY THE GOD OF PEACE CAN REMOVE.  It has its source

            in that devouring hunger of the heart WHICH ONLY THE BREAD OF        

            GOD CAN APPEASE.  

 

3 “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon

your lusts.”  An evident allusion to the sermon on the mount, Matthew 7:7, "Ask,

and it shall be given to you... for every one that asketh receiveth." And yet

St. James says, "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss;" for our Lord

elsewhere limits His teaching, "All things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer

believing," etc. (Matthew 21:22). Αἰτεῖτε... αἰτεῖσθε – Aiteite...aiteisthe – ye are

requesting....ye are requesting. The active and middle voices are similarly

interchanged in I John 5:15, on which Dr. Westcott writes as follows: "The

distinction between the middle and the active is not so sharply drawn; but

generally the personal reference is suggested by the middle, while the request

is left wholly undefined as to its destination by the active." That ye may consume

it upon your lusts; render, with Revised Version, that ye may spend it in your

pleasures; ἡδοναί, as in v. 1.

 

vs. 2-3 – “Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain:

ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.  Ye ask, and receive not,

because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”   A nature that is

never satisfied is the result of this unbridled craving for the world?  Baffled desires

and efforts become more and more inflamed, for there is a certain infiniteness in

man’s cravings; becoming ever more and more disappointed, and there is a palling

finiteness in the world towards which man’s infinite cravings go forth.  There is a non-

existence of desires towards God, who alone can satisfy. “Ye ask not” or, “Ye

sk amiss;” not sincerely for God’s blessing itself, but merely for the selfish

gratification of worldly desires.  The guilt of this condition is ABSOLUTE

UNGODLINESS!  This unbridled lawlessness is evidence of DIVORCE

FROM GOD.  This seems to be the state of  mankind today and will end

with DISSATISFACTION WITH THE WORLD AND ETERNAL

SEPARATION FROM GOD AND ALL THAT IS GOOD!

 

  • The Remedy for Strife.  It lies in prayer. If we would have our nature restored

      to restfulness, we must realize our dependence upon God. To struggle after the     

      world in our own strength will tend only to foster the war-spirit within us.

      (Dwight Moody said that God made the human heart too big for the world –

      only HE CAN FILL IT)  Perhaps we have not hitherto directly consulted the      

      Lord about our worldly affairs. If not, let us begin to do so now. Or perhaps we   

      have “asked amiss,” in praying chiefly for what would gratify only the lower       

      elements of our nature, or requesting blessings with a view to certain uses of

      them which would not bear to be mentioned before His throne. We cannot

      expect God to answer the prayer that our worldly business may prosper, if we       

      secretly resolve to employ what success He sends in catering for self

      glorification. The things that we ask must be what we need for the Lord’s

      service; and we must honestly purpose so to use them. The cultivation of the

      true spirit of devotion is the way to contentment with our lot in life. We shall        

      secure peace among the powers and passions of the heart, if we “seek first

      our Father’s kingdom and His righteousness.”  (Matthew 6:33)  Regular

      soul-converse with God (a quiet time each day) will exorcise the demons of          

      discord, and call into exercise the gracious affections of faith, submission,

      gratitude, and peace.  May we learn:

 

ü      The wickedness of the war-spirit.

 

ü      The defilement and degradation which result from allowing selfish

                        motives to govern the heart.

 

ü      The blessedness of making God our Portion, and of resting contented

                        with our allotted share of temporal good.

 

ü      The duty of forgiving our enemies, and of promoting peace in the

                        Church and in society.

 

 

   Ye Ask Amiss, that Ye May Spend it on Your Pleasures (vs. 2-3)

 

Prayer is not to be selfish, or for the satisfaction of corrupt appetites; and

where the spirit of prayer is absent there is no promise to prayer.

“Incredible as it might seem that men plundering and murdering, as the

previous verses represent them, should have been in any sense men who

prayed, the history of Christendom presents but too many instances of like

anomalies. Cornish wreckers going from church to their accursed work;

Italian brigands propitiating their patron saint before attacking a company

of travelers; slave-traders, such as John Newton once was, recording

piously God’s blessing on their traffic of the year; — these may serve to

show how soon conscience may be seared, and its warning voice come to

give but an uncertain sound (Plumptre).

 

 

Wars and Fightings (vs. 1-3)

 

Gazing upon the fair portraiture of the heavenly wisdom with which ch. 3

closes, we perhaps feel as if we could make tabernacles for ourselves in

its peaceful presence, that we might continue always to contemplate its

beauty. Immediately, however, James brings us down again from the holy

mount into the quarrelsome and murderous world. He points us to the

wars” and “fightings” that rage throughout the human family. He returns

to the bitter jealousy and faction” that eat like a gangrene into the heart of

the Christian Church. For the congregations which the apostles themselves

formed were tainted with the same impurities which cling to the Church in

our own time.

 

  • THE PREVALENCE OF STRIFE AMONG CHRISTIANS. (v. 1) In

the believing communities of” the Dispersion” there were many elements of

discord. The time was one of political agitation and of social turbulence.

Within the Churches there were sometimes bitter theological disputes

(ch.3). And in private life these Jewish Christians were largely giving

themselves up to the besetting sin, not only of Hebrew nature, but of

human nature; they struggled for material self-aggrandizement, and in

doing so fell into violent mutual conflict. But do not quarrels and

controversies of the same kind rage still? Christian nations go to war with

one another. Employers and workmen array themselves against each other

in hostile camps. Churches cherish within their bosoms the viper of

sectarianism. Fellow-believers belonging to the same congregation cease to

be on speaking terms with one another, and perhaps indulge in mutual

backbiting. How sad to contemplate the long “wars” waged in hearts which

should love as brethren, and to witness those outward “fightings” which

are their inevitable outcome!

 

  • THE ORIGIN OF STRIFE. (vs. 1-2.) “Whence” comes it? asks

James; and he appeals in his answer to the consciences of his readers. The

source of strife is in the evil desires of the heart. Usually, it is true, all wars

and fightings are traced no further than to some outward cause. One nation

attacks another professedly to maintain the country’s honor, or perhaps to

rectify an unscientific frontier. Trade strikes and lockouts are to be

explained by an unsatisfactory condition of the labor market. Ecclesiastical

contentions are all alike justified by some assumed necessity in the interests

of truth, and sometimes also by a misinterpretation of the words, “first

pure, then peaceable” (ch. 3:17). And the personal quarrels that

break out among individual Christians are sure to be ascribed to severe and

gratuitous provocation. But here, true to his character as the apostle of

reality, James sweeps away these excuses as so many dusty cobwebs. He

drags out into the blaze of gospel light the one true origin of strife. “Wars”

and fightings have their fountain within the soul, and not without. They

come “of your pleasures,” i.e. of the cravings of your carnal hearts.

 

Ø      It is royal pride, or the lust of power, or sometimes the

mischievous impatience of an idle army, that “lets slip

the dogs of war” between nations.

Ø      It is avarice and envy that foment the social strife between

capital and labor.

Ø      It is the spirit of Diotrephes that produces the evils of sectarianism.

Ø      It is the wild and selfish passions of the natural heart that stir up

the animosities and conflicts of private life.

 

These passions “war in your members;” issuing from the citadel of “Mansoul,”

they pitch their camp in the organs of sense and action. There they not only

“war against’ the regenerated nature (I Peter 2:11), and against one another,

but against one’s neighbor, — clamoring for gratification at the expense of his

rights and his welfare.  This truth is further expanded in v. 2, and in a way

which recalls  ch. 1:14-15; or which suggests the analysis of sin given by

Thomas a Kempis: “Primo occurrit menti simplex cogitatio; deinde fortis

imaginatio; postea delectatio et motus pravus et assensio.”

 

Ø      The first stage is that of unreasonably desiring something which we

have not.

Ø      The second is that of murderously envying those whose possessions

we covet — cherishing such feelings as David did towards Uriah

the Hittite, or Ahab towards Naboth.  (II Samuel 11; I Kings 21)

Ø      The third stage is that of open contention and discord

ye fight and war.”

 

But common to all the stages is the consciousness of want; and at the end

of each, as v. 2 reminds us, this consciousness becomes further intensified.

Ye “have not;” “cannot obtain;” “ye have not,” — even after all your

fierce strivings. The war-spirit, therefore, is generated by that unrest of

the soul which only the God of peace can remove. It has its source in

that devouring hunger of the heart which only the bread of God can appease.

And to cure it we must ascertain what the great nature of man needs, in order

to make him restful and happy.

 

  • THE REMEDY FOR STRIFE. (vs. 2-3.) It lies in prayer. If we

would have our nature restored to restfulness, we must realize our

dependence upon God. To struggle after the world in our own strength will

tend only to foster the war-spirit within us. Perhaps we have not hitherto

directly consulted the Lord about our worldly affairs. If not, let us begin to

do so now. Or perhaps we have “asked amiss,” in praying chiefly for what

would gratify only the lower elements of our nature, or requesting

blessings with a view to certain uses of them which would not bear to be

mentioned before His throne. We cannot e.g. expect God to answer the

prayer that our worldly business may prosper, if we secretly resolve to

employ what success He sends in catering for self glorification. The things

that we ask must be what we need for the Lord’s service; and we must

honestly purpose so to use them. The cultivation of the true spirit of

devotion is the way to contentment with our lot in life. We shall secure

peace among the powers and passions of the heart, if we “seek first our

Father’s kingdom and his righteousness.” (Matthew 6;33)  Regular

soul-converse with God will exorcise the demons of discord, and call

into exercise the gracious affections of faith, submission, gratitude,

and peace.

 

  • LESSONS.

 

Ø      The wickedness of the war-spirit.

Ø      The defilement and degradation which result from allowing selfish

motives to govern the heart.

Ø      The blessedness of making God our Portion, and of resting contented

with our allotted share of temporal good.

Ø      The duty of forgiving our enemies, and of promoting peace in the

Church and in society.

 

4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world

is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the

enemy of God.”  Ye adulterers and adulteresses. Omit μοιχοὶ καί - moichoi kai -

adulterers and, with א, A, B. The Vulgate has simply adulteri; the Old Latin (ff),

fornicatores. Similarly the Syriae. Very strange is this sudden exclamation,

"ye adulteresses!" and very difficult to explain. The same word (μοιχαλίς -

moichalis - an adulteress) is used as a feminine adjective by our Lord in the

expression, "an evil and adulterous generation" (Matthew 12:39; 16:4;

Mark 8:38); and in this possibly lies the explanation of St. James's use of the term.

More probably, however, it should be accounted for as a reminiscence of

Ezekiel 23:45, where we read of Samaria and Jerusalem under the titles of Aholah

and Aholibah: "The righteous men, they shall judge them after the manner of

adulteresses, and after the manner of women that shed blood; because they are

adulteresses, and blood is in their hands." It is remarkable too that in Malachi 3:5

the Septuagint has μοιχαλίδας - moichalidas - adulterers although the Hebrew has

the masculine, and men are evidently referred to. If, then, in the Old Testament

the Jewish communities were personified as adulteresses, it is not unnatural for

St. James to transfer the epithet to those Judaeo-Christian communities to which

he was writing; and the word should probably be taken, just as in the Old Testament,

of spiritual fornication, i.e. apostasy from God, shown in this case, not by actual

idolatry, but by that "friendship of the world" which is "enmity with God," and by

"covetousness which is idolatry." (Colossians 3:5)  Φιλία - philia - fondness;

friendship. The word occurs here only in the New Testament. With the thought

of this verse, compare our Lord's words in John 15:18-19.

 

 

       The Friendship of the World is Enmity with God (v. 4)

 

And yet men still strive to retain the friendship of both; to “make the best

of both worlds;” to serve God and mammon. Holy Scripture steadily sets

its face throughout against compromise in matters of principle, against that

spirit of “give and take” which is often the world’s highest wisdom, and in

which the worldly politician is prone not merely to acquiesce but to delight.

God’s claims are absolute, and admit no rival. Whoever hankers after the

friendship of the world is ipso facto – that very fact or act (καθίσταται –

kathistataiis being constituted) God’s enemy. Nay, more; such a sin in one

who has given his heart to God becomes the sin of the unfaithful wife looking

away from her husband, and casting longing eyes on a stranger; and those who

are guilty of it are therefore branded with the name and fame of adulteresses.

(Just as there is such a thing as physical adultery, there is the reality of

spiritual adultery” and it is, in my opinion, a much worse form –  SO IF

PHYSICAL ADULTERY IS A GREAT SIN, NOT TO BE MADE LIGHT

OF, WHAT IS IT TO COMMIT SPIRITUAL ADULTERY AGAINST

GOD?  CY – 2009)

 

5 “Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us

lusteth to envy? The difficulty of the passage is well shown by the hesitation of the

Revisers. The first clause is rendered, "Or think ye that the Scripture speaketh in

vain?" but as an alternative there is suggested in the margin, "Or think ye that the

Scripture saith in vain?" as if the following clause were a quotation from Scripture.

And of this following clause three possible renderings are suggested.

(1) In the text: "Doth the Spirit which He made to dwell in us long unto envying?

     But he giveth more grace. Wherefore the Scripture saith," etc.

(2) Margin 1: "The Spirit which He made to dwell in us He yearneth for even

      unto jealous envy. But he giveth," etc.

(3) Margin 2: "That Spirit which He made to dwell in us yearneth for us even unto

      jealous envy. But he giveth," etc.

 

Further, it is noted in the margin that some ancient authorities read "dwelleth in us,"

i.e. κατώκησεν - katokaesen - dwells, which is the reading of the Received Text, and

so of the Authorized Version resting upon K, L; א and B being the primary authorities

for κατώκισεν. With regard to the first clause, the rendering of the Revised Version,

"speaketh," may be justified by Hebrews 9:5. It is possible that St. James was intending

to quote Proverbs 3:34 immediately, but after the introductory formula, ἡ δοκεῖτε ὅτι                               

κενῶς ἡ γραφὴ λέγει - ae dokeite hoti kenos hae graphae legei - or ye are supposing

that for naught the scripture is saying this, he interposes with the emphatic question,

"Is it to envy," etc.? and does not arrive at the quotation till v. 6, when he introduces

it with a fresh formula of quotation, διὸ λέγει - dio legei - wherefore he is saying,

a looseness of construction which is quite natural in a Hebrew. Other views, for which

it is believed there is less to be urged, are the following:

(1) that the words, πρὸς φθονόν - pros phthonon - toward envy, κ.τ.λ., are a quotation

from some (now lost) early Christian writing. On this view the passage is parallel to

Ephesians 5:14, where a portion of a Christian hymn is introduced by the words,

διὸ λέγει.

(2) That St. James is referring to the general drift rather than to the exact words of

several passages of the Old Testament; e.g. Genesis 6:3-5; Deuteronomy 32:10, 19, etc.

(3) That the allusion is to some passage of the New Testament, either Galatians 5:17

or I Peter 2:1, etc. Passing on to the translation of the second clause, πρὸς φθονόν

(toward envy) κ.τ.λ., it must be noted that φθονός (envy)is never used elsewhere in

the New Testament or in the Septuagint (Wisdom of Solomon 6:25; I Maccabees

 8:16) or in the apostolic Fathers except in a bad sense. True that Exodus 20:5

teaches us that God is a "jealous God," but there the Septuagint renders קנא by

the far nobler word ζηλωτής - zaelotaes - zealous: compare Wolf, 'Curae Philippians

Crit.,' p. 64, where it is noted that, while ζῆλος (zeal) is a vex media, the same cannot

be said of φθονός (envy), which is always vitiosa, and is never used by the Septuagint

ubi vox Hebraica ׃תסך סעדנךמךרפצך סעתאלךר סךנךמוה לךשׁ מעךדּ דא קנאה This

seems to be a fatal objection to the marginal readings of the Revised Version, and to

compel us to rest content with that adopted in the text, "Doth the Spirit which He

made to dwell in us long unto envying?" or rather, "Is it to envying that the Spirit...

 longs?" πρὸς φθονόν being placed for emphasis at the beginning of the sentence.

 

 

  • The Antagonism Between the Love of the World and the Love of God.

      This painful epithet, “Ye adulteresses,” is the key-note of the chord which

      James strikes in his appeal. God is the rightful spiritual Husband of every  

      professing Christian; and thus, if such a one embraces the world, he or she

      resembles a woman who turns away from her lawful husband to follow other        

      lovers. The world is an evil world, alien in its principles and pursuits from the

      will and glory of God; and therefore the friendship of the world” is       

      incompatible with the love of Him. But what precisely is this “friendship”?

      It does not lie

 

ü      in habits of friendly intercourse with worldly men; or

 

ü      in the diligent pursuit of one’s daily occupation; or

 

ü      in an appreciation of creature comforts and innocent pleasures.

                        Worldliness does not depend upon outward acts or habits. It is a

                        state of the heart. The word denotes the spirit and guiding disposition

                        of the unbeliever’s life - the will to “be a friend of the world.” Since,

                        accordingly, this friendship represents direct opposition to the Divine

                        will, every man who seeks it first and most declares himself by that

                        very act “an enemy of God.”

 

  • Confirmation of this Truth. (v.5)   We accept as accurate the Greek reading

      of v. 5 which has been adopted by the Revisers, together with their translation:     

      “Or think ye that the Scripture speaketh in vain? Doth the Spirit which He          

      made to dwell in us long unto envying?” The apostle, accordingly, confirms

      his representation regarding the antagonism between the love of the world and

      the love of God by:

 

ü      The Tenor of Scripture Teaching. The sacred writers with one consent

                        take up an attitude of protest against worldliness. They uniformly

                        assume that “the friendship of the world is enmity with God.”

                        They urge the duty of moderation in one’s desires, and of contentment                              

                        with the allotments of Providence. The worldly disposition, which

                        shows itself in covetousness and envy and strife, is opposed both to

                        the letter and the spirit of Holy Scripture. And the moral teaching of                                

                        God’s Word on this subject is not “in vain.” THE BIBLE MEANS

                        WHAT IT SAYS.  ALL ITS UTTERANCES ARE SOLEMNLY

                        EARNEST!

 

ü      The Consciousness of the Renewed Heart. “Doth the Spirit [the Holy

                        Spirit] which He made to dwell in us long unto envying?” If the

                        Holy Ghost, speaking in the written Word, condemns the spirit of

                        envy, He does so also in the law which He writes upon the hearts of                                  

                        Christ’s people. Some of those to whom this Epistle was addressed

                        had “bitter jealousy and faction in their hearts” (James 3:14): it

                        was seen in their worldly “wars” and “fightings.” But the apostle

                        appeals to their consciences to confess whether such a state of mind

                        was not due to their walking “after the flesh’ instead of “after the                                   

                        Spirit.” (Galatians 5:16)  They knew well that the power of the

                        Holy Ghost within their souls, in so far as they yielded themselves to

                        Him  produced always very different fruit from that of envy and strife

                        (Galatians 5:19-23; James 3:14-18).

 

6 But He giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud,

but giveth grace unto the humble."  God resisteth the proud. The connection of

this with v. 4 is very close, and is favorable to the view taken above as to the meaning

of the first clause of v. 5, as the words appear to be cited in support of the statement

that whosoever would be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

The quotation is from Proverbs 3:34, Septuagint, Κύριος ὑπερηφάνοις ἀντιτάσσεται,

ταπεινοῖς δὲ δίδωσι χάριν - Kurios huperaephanois antitassetai, tapeinois de didosi

charin - the Lord is resisting the proud ones yet to the humble ones He is giving grace..

St. James's version agrees with this exactly, except that it has ὁ Θεὸς - ho Theos - God

instead of Κύριος (Lord - the Hebrew has simply "He,"). The passage is also quoted

in precisely the same form by St. Peter (I Peter 5:5), and with Θεὸς instead of ὁ Θεός

by St. Clement of Rome. In St. Peter the quotation is followed by the injunction,

"Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God .... Your adversary

the devil, as a roaring lion walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

whom withstand (ω΅ι ἀντίστητε  -  ho antistaete - whom resist; withstand ye)

steadfast in the faith." There is clearly a connection between this passage and the

one before us in St. James, which proceeds, "Be subject therefore unto God; but

resist the devil (ἀντίστητε δὲ τῷ διαβόλῳ antistaete de to diabolo - withstand ye

the Adversary), and he will flee from you." This passage, it will be felt, is the

simpler, and therefore, probably, the earlier of the two (compare ch. 1:3).

 

 

 

Worldliness Enmity with God (vs. 4-6)

 

Here the apostle follows up the words of rebuke and warning with which

the chapter opened. The doctrine which he enunciates is uncompromising;

and his language startling, as well as solemn.

 

  • THE ANTAGONISM BETWEEN THE LOVE OF THE WORLD

AND THE LOVE OF GOD. (v. 4.) This painful epithet, “Ye

adulteresses,” is the key-note of the chord which James strikes in his

appeal. God is the rightful spiritual Husband of every professing Christian;

and thus, if such a one embraces the world, he or she resembles a woman

who turns away from her lawful husband to follow other lovers. The world

is an evil world, alien in its principles and pursuits from the will and glory

of God; and therefore the friendship of the world” is incompatible with the

love of Him. But what precisely is this “friendship”? It does not lie:

 

Ø      in habits of friendly intercourse with worldly men; or

Ø      in the diligent pursuit of one’s daily occupation; or

Ø      in an appreciation of creature comforts and innocent pleasures.

 

Worldliness does not depend upon outward acts or habits. It is a state of

the heart. The word denotes the spirit and guiding disposition of the

unbeliever’s life — the will to “be a friend of the world.” Since,

accordingly, this friendship represents direct opposition to the Divine will,

every man who seeks it first and most declares himself by that very act “an

enemy of God.”

 

  • CONFIRMATION OF THIS TRUTH. (vs. 5-6.) We accept as

accurate the Greek reading of v. 5 which has been adopted by the

Revisers, together with their translation: “Or think ye that the Scripture

speaketh in vain? Doth the Spirit which he made to dwell in us long unto

envying?” The apostle, accordingly, confirms his representation regarding

the antagonism between the love of the world and the love of God by:

 

Ø      The tenor of Scripture teaching. The sacred writers with one consent

take up an attitude of protest against worldliness. They uniformly assume

that “the friendship of the world is enmity with God.” They urge the duty

of moderation in one’s desires, and of contentment with the allotments of

Providence. The worldly disposition, which shows itself in covetousness

and envy and strife, is opposed both to the letter and the spirit of Holy

Scripture. And the moral teaching of God’s Word on this subject is not “in

vain.” The Bible means what it says. In all its utterances it is solemnly

earnest.

 

Ø      The consciousness of the renewed heart. “Doth the Spirit [i.e. the Holy

Spirit] which He made to dwell in us long unto envying?” If the Holy

Ghost, speaking in the written Word, condemns the spirit of envy, He does

so also in the law which He writes upon the hearts of Christ’s people. Some

of those to whom this Epistle was addressed had “bitter jealousy and

faction in their hearts” (ch. 3:14): it was seen in their worldly

wars and “fightings.” But the apostle appeals to their consciences to

confess whether such a state of mind was not due to their walking “after

the flesh’ instead of “after the Spirit.” They knew well that the power of

the Holy Ghost within their souls, in so far as they yielded themselves to it,

produced always very different fruit from that of envy and strife

(ch. 3:14-18; Galatians 5:19-23).

 

  • The Substance of the Divine Promises. (v. 6.) “Grace” is the name for

            the influence which the Holy Spirit exerts upon the heart in order to its

            regeneration and sanctification. And how does grace operate, but just by

            killing the love of the world within the soul, and breathing into it the love

            of God? He, by His Spirit, gives to His believing people “more grace,”

            - supplies of grace greater in force and volume than the strength of their

            depravity, or the temptations against which they have to contend.  “But

            as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons

            of God, even to them that believe on His name” – (John 1:12)  Not only

            so, but those who employ well the grace which they already possess, shall

            receive more in ever-increasing measure (Matthew 25:29). And “the

            humble,” who realize most deeply that they do not deserve any grace at all,

            are those upon whom God has always bestowed the most copious supplies.

            The further we depart from pride, which is the fruitful mother of envy and

            strife, the more freely and abundantly shall we receive that supernatural

            energy which will drive the love of the world out of our hearts (Proverbs 3:34).

 

ü      Let us impress upon our minds the intensity with which God abhors

      pride. All history echoes the truth that “he setteth himself in

                        array against the proud.” Take the case of Pharaoh, of

                        Nebuchadnezzar, of Haman, of Wolsey, of Napoleon. For

                        ourselves, therefore, let us “fling away ambition” in every form.                                         

                        Especially let us crucify spiritual pride.  “Many laboring men have

                        got good estates in the Valley of Humiliation;”  and if we go there

                        “in the summer-time” of prosperity we shall learn the

                        song of the shepherd boy —

 

                                    “He that is down needs fear no fall;

                                                He that is low no pride;

                                    He that is humble ever shall

                                                Have God to be his Guide.”

                                                                           (Bunyan.)

 

 

Exhortation (vs. 7-10)

 

Based on the proceeding, this is quite in the style of a prophet of the Old Testament.

 

7 "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." 

Read, but resist, etc. (ἀντίστητε δέ - antistaete de - but withstand ye), א, A, B, Coptic,

Vulgate.

 

8 "Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye

sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded."   Draw nigh to God (ἐγγίσατε

τῷ Θεῷ - eggisate to Theo - draw near ye to the God). A phrase used of approach

to God under the old covenant (see Exodus 19:22; 34:30; Leviticus 10:3). Equally

necessary under the new covenant is it for those who draw near to God to have

"clean hands and a pure heart" (Psalm 24:4). Hence the following injunction:

"Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double-minded."

 

 

Draw Nigh to God, and He Will Draw Nigh to You (v. 8)

 

A truth to which all experience bears witness, and a most important one in

teaching the doctrine of repentance. God not only tempers the wind to the

shorn lamb, but He also makes the path easy to the returning sinner and

meets him half-way. The prodigal arose and came to his father, but while

he was yet a great way off the father saw him and ran to meet him. It is the

first step in repentance which is the difficult one, and yet even this is not

taken without Divine assistance. It is God who first supplies the impulse to

draw nigh to Him, and then Himself comes to meet the sinner who yields to

the impulse. His spirit stirs the sinner to cry to Him, and then Himself listens

to the cry, according to the psalmist’s saying, “Thou preparest their heart,

and thine ear hearkeneth thereto.”  (Psalm 10:17)

 

 

9 "Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning,

and your joy to heaviness. "  St. James's version of "Blessed are they that mourn:

 for they shall be comforted" (Matthew 5:4). Be afflicted. Ταλαιπωρήσατε -

talaiporaesate - be ye wretched -  only here in the New Testament, occasionally

in the Septuagint. Heaviness. Κατήφεια - kataepheia  another ἄπαξ λεγόμενον,

apparently never found in the Septuagint or in the apostolic Fathers; it is, however,

used by Josephus and Philo. It is equivalent to "dejection," and "exactly describes

the attitude of the publican, who would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven,

Luke 18:13 (Plumptre)."

 

10 "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.”

Humble yourselves, etc. A further parallel with our Lord's teaching, St. James's

words being perhaps suggested by the saying recorded in Matthew 23:12, "Whosoever

shall humble himself shall be exalted" (ὑψωθήσεται - hupsothaesetai - shall be being

humbled, as here, "He shall lift you up," ὑψώσει - hupsosei - He shall be exalting).

In the sight of the Lord (ἐνώπιον - enopion - in view; in sight of). The article

(τοῦ - tou - the) in the Received Text is certainly wrong. It is wanting in a, A, B, K.

The anarthrous (used without the article) Κύριος (Lord)is used by St. James here

and in ch. 5:4, 10 (with which contrast v. 14), and 1l, as equivalent to the "Jehovah"

of the Old Testament, which is represented in the Septuagint by Κύριος without the

article.

 

 “As a tree must strike root deep downwards that it may grow upwards, so a man’s

spirit must be rooted in humility, or he is only lifted up to his own hurt” (Augustine).

 

  • Submission to God.  (vs. 7-10)  This passage is a powerful and heart

      stirring appeal to those professing Christians whose hearts had been full of            

      worldly “pleasures” (v. 3), and whose hands had been occupied with wars

      and “fightings.” Within these four verses there are no fewer than ten verbs

      in the imperative mood; but the cardinal precept of the whole paragraph is

      the exhortation to submission, with which it both opens and closes. The other     

      counsels in vs. 7-9 have reference to elements of conduct which are included in

            subjection to the Divine will.

 

  • The Duty of Submission to God. (vs. 7,10) The immediate

            connection of “therefore” in v. 7 is with the quotation at the close of v. 6.

            “God sets himself in array against the proud; therefore, be subject unto

            God.” You must either willingly humble yourselves, or be precipitately

            humbled by Divine Providence. “God giveth grace to the humble;

            therefore, be subject unto God.” Clothe yourselves with humility, that

            you may enjoy this “grace.” “Be subject” to the Captain of your salvation,

            as a good soldier is to his commander. Subjection to God includes:

 

ü      Acquiescence in His Plan of Salvation. These Christian Jews of the

                        Dispersion were to  avoid the sin of the Hebrew nation generally, in

                        “not subjecting themselves to the righteousness of God” (Romans                                  

                        10:3).  And we “sinners of the Gentiles” must throw away that pride

                        of self-righteousness which tempts us also to reject a method of                                         

                        redemption from which all boasting is excluded. We must make the

                        blood of Jesus our only plea, and surrender our hearts to the

                        gracious operations of the Holy Spirit.

 

ü      Obedience to His Law. If we submit ourselves to the righteousness of

                        God in the gospel, we shall begin to reverence and admire and obey

                        the moral law. We shall be willing that God should reign over us and

                        rule within us. We shall allow Him to control us in body and mind, in                                

                        intellect and conscience, in heart and will, in act and habit. We shall                                   

                        forsake our sins. We shall long and labor to be holy.

 

ü      Acceptance of His Dealings in Providence. We are to be contented

       with the lot in life which God has assigned to us. We are to be willing

      to receive evil as well as good at His hand. We must bear affliction            

      patiently, not because it is useless to murmur, but because it is wrong to

      do so. In our times of sorrow we must not challenge God’s sovereignty,

      or impugn His justice, or arraign His wisdom, or distrust His love. The       

      spirit of Christian submission says, “Let us also rejoice in our        

      tribulations” (Romans 5:3).

 

  • Elements of Character Which Enter into this Subjection (vs. 7-9).

 

ü      We Must Resist Satan. (v. 7.)  To “be subject unto God” necessarily

                        involves resistance to God’s great enemy. Human nature has in it the

                        element of combativeness; and the greater any man’s force of character,

                        he is likely to be the more thorough a hater.  But the Christian should

                        not “fight and war” with his fellow-believers; his quarrel is to be with                              

                        Satan, and with Satan’s works. We are to “resist” the devil; we must not                          

                        dispute or parley with him. We must not “give place” to him (Ephesians                            

                        4:27) by cherishing covetousness or envy; for, if we allow him any place                            

                        at all, he may speedily take possession of the entire area of the heart.

                        (I saw on a church marquee in Hopkinsville “If you give the

                        devil a ride, he will end up wanting to drive” – CY – 2009)

                        If, on the contrary, we “stand up against” Satan, “he will flee” from

                        us. The power of the truth, the power of faith, the power of prayer, will                             

                        silence his artillery. (Remember how when Jesus was tempted, He

                        quoted Scripture and the devil left Him – Matthew 4)  There is no giant                             

                        temptation which may not be overcome with some small stone out of the                           

                        brook of Holy Scripture, if we hurl it from the sling of faith, and with an                           

                        arm guided by the Holy Spirit.  (I Corinthians 10:13)

 

ü      We Must Come Near to God. (v. 8.) The design of all Satan’s assaults

                        is to prevent us from doing so; and the best way in which to “resist”

                        him is resolutely to “draw nigh.” What a blessed privilege to us sinners

                        to be allowed to approach to the holy, just, and merciful Jehovah! He has                          

                        opened for us a new and living way of access by the blood of Jesus. We                            

                        draw near:

 

Ø      when we pray, for prayer is the converse of the soul with God;

 

Ø      when our deepest soul-longings go out towards Him, who alone

      can be our Portion; and

                       

Ø      when, along with our supplications and our heart-yearnings,

      we live a pure and godly life. Nor shall any man who truly

      seeks God seek Him in vain. God will be propitious to him,

      and visit him, and take up his abode with Him.  “If a man

      love me, he will keep my words:  and my Father will love

      him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with

      him” – (John 14:23)

 

ü      We Must Put Away Our Sins. (vs. 8-9.) For we cannot really “draw

                        nigh” to God if we persist in hugging them. The act of coming near

                        involves repentance; it carries with it resolutions and endeavors after

                        amendment. We must “cleanse our hands” from the open sins of

                        which our neighbors may be cognizant, and “purify our hearts” from                               

                        those secret faults which are known only to God. Self-loathing should                               

                        possess us when we realize our sinfulness  Here we see the shadows of

                        the life of grace; but its shadows are only the reflection of its joys. It is

                        a blessed mourning of which the text speaks; and they that mourn thus                              

                        “shall be comforted.” Godly repentance is the true humility;

                        and it conducts to the highest exaltation.

 

v. 8 - “Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.” A truth to which

all experience bears witness, and a most important one in teaching the doctrine

of repentance. God not only tempers the wind to the shorn lamb, but He also

makes the path easy to the returning sinner and meets him half-way. The

prodigal arose and came to his father, but whilehe was yet a great way off”

(Luke 15:20) the father saw him and ran to meet him. It is the first step in

repentance which is the difficult one, and yet even this is not taken without

Divine assistance. It is God who first supplies the impulse to draw nigh to

Him, and then Himself comes to meet the sinner who yields to the impulse.

His spirit stirs the sinner to cry to Him, and then Himself listens to the cry,

according to the psalmist’s saying, “Thou preparest their heart, and thine

ear hearkeneth thereto.”

 

  • “Humble yourselves in the sight of God, and He shall lift you up.”

“As a tree must strike root deep downwards that it may grow upwards, so

a man’s spirit must be rooted in humility, or he is only lifted up to his own

            hurt” (Augustine).  “He shall exalt you” (v. 10),

 

  • “Heaviness - κατήφειανkataepheian - from a compound of κατ and

φανω [meaning downcast in look]; demureness, i.e. by implication sadness: -

heaviness.  It is equivalent to “dejection,” and “exactly describes the attitude

of the publican, “who would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven”

(Luke 18:13)

 

 

War or Peace (vs. 1-10)

 

He has just been speaking of peace. But this leads him to survey the actual

state of things: disputes, strifes, murders. (For condition of Jewish society

at this time, see Plumptre’s notes: “rife with atrocities.”) And he will

ascend to the origin of them. Whence come they? They proceed from the

restlessness of the unregenerate nature, seeking, but seeking in vain, its

satisfaction in the world. These two topics, then, are introduced to us:

 

Ø      dissatisfaction with the world;

Ø      satisfaction in God.

 

  • DISSATISFACTION WITH THE WORLD. Man’s nature consists of

higher and lower, spiritual and psychical, the one designed by God to

govern and regulate the other. But without such governance the desires of

the lower life are riotous and rampant, and the members of the ungoverned

man are the battle-ground for base cravings. And from the man himself the

battle is projected into the world.

 

Ø      But what is the result of this unbridled craving for the world? A nature

that is never satisfied.

 

o        Baffled desires and efforts towards the world. Ever more and more

inflamed, for there is a certain infiniteness in man’s cravings; ever

more and more disappointed, for there is a palling finiteness in the

world towards which man’s infinite cravings go forth.

 

o        The non-existence of desires towards God, who alone can satisfy.

“Ye ask not” (v. 2); or, “Ye ask amiss;” not sincerely for God’s

blessing itself, but merely for the selfish gratification of worldly

desires (v. 3).

 

Ø      And what the guilt of this condition? The guilt of absolute ungodliness!

 

o        The world-desires themselves, unbridled and lawless as they are, are

evidence of divorce from GOD (v. 4).

o        The spirit of envy which they provoke is absolutely opposed to God

(v. 5). Yes, it is from below.

 

  • SATISFACTION IN GOD. But, it may be said, we are naturally so

prone to sin; we covet, we envy, as being to the manner born. Yes, truly;

and only God’s grace can suffice and IT IS ABUNDANTLY GIVEN!

(v. 6).

 

Ø      Let us notice the terms upon which this grace is given.

 

o        Towards God: humility (v. 10), and submission (v. 7).

o        Towards the tempter: resistance (v. 7).

o        Towards sin: repentance

§         of the will — cleansing the hands and purifying the heart

(v. 8);

§         of the feelings (v. 9).

o        Towards God, again: drawing nigh, as to a Refuge (v. 8).

 

Ø      And the results of this craving after God?

 

o        God’s nearness to man (v. 8; so John 1:51; 17:22-23).

o        Man’s exaltation to God (v. 10).

 

So, virtually, in the ascension of Christ; so actually by-and-by (John 14:3).

The same old war in the members, from the beginning until now. It

must be put down by a more righteous war. A war which demands ALL THE

ABOUNDING GRACE OF GOD!   Let us learn, then, sternness towards sin;

strong trust towards God. And so HE WILL GIVE THE VICTORY!

 

 

Warning Against Censorious Depreciation of Others (vs. 11-12)

 

11 Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of

his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the

law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge."

Speak not evil. Καταλαλεῖτε - katalaleite - be ye speaking against - only here and

I Peter 2:12; 3:16. Vulgate, detrahere. But the context shows that the writer is thinking

rather of harsh censorious judging. Revised version, "Speak not one against another."

And judgeth; rather, or judgeth; (א, A, B, Vulgate, Syriac, Coptic) for καὶ of the

Textus Receptus. Speaketh evil of the law. What law? According to Dean Plumptre,

"the royal law of Christ, which forbids judging (Matthew 7:1-5)." Alford: "The

law of Christian life: the old moral Law, glorified and amplified by Christ:

the νόμος βασιλικός - nomos basilikos - royal law of James 2:8; νόμος τῆς

ἐλευθερίας - nomos taes eleutherias - law of liberty of James 1:25." Huther:

"the law of Christian life which, according to its contents, is none other than the

law of love."

 

12 "There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that

judgest another?" To play the part of a censor is to assume the office of a judge.

But THIS IS AN OFFICE THAT BELONGS TO GOD and not to man (compare

Romans 14:3-4). The first words of the verse should be rendered as follows:

"One only is the Lawgiver and Judge:" the last words, καὶ κριτής - kai kritaes -

and Judge, omitted in the Received Text, being found in א, A, B, and most versions,

the Latin, Syriac, and Coptic. In the last clause also the Received Text requires

correction. Read, Σὺ δὲ τίς εῖ - su de tis ei - but you who are you (insert δὲ, א, A, B,

L, K, Latin, Syriac, Coptic) ὁ κρίνων τὸν πλήσιονho krinon ton plaesion –

who are judging your neighbor (א, A, B).

 

  • The Sin of Detraction.  Observe how this differs from slander. Slander

involves an imputation of falsehood. Detraction may be couched in truth and

clothed in fair language.  It is that tendency to disparage good actions, to look

for blemishes and defects in them, using care and artifice to pervert or

misrepresent things for that purpose. It is a poison often infused in sweet liquor

and administered in a golden cup. By the addition of the word “brethren” - ]

“Speak not evil of one another, brethren” — St. James enforces the precept

by a strong argument; for brethren, who are members one of another, are

bound to love each other, and should be the last to deny the merit or destroy

the reputation of each other.  He does not condemn all judging. God has

implanted within us the critical faculty, the judgment; and we cannot avoid

using it. Indeed, it is a Christian duty to pronounce upon conduct and character.

(positive peer pressure and community morality – we are to be “the salt of the

            earth” without losing our savor!)  To judge publicly is a function of the civil

            magistrate and of Church rulers. What James condemns here is evil-judging

            - all judging that is censorious or calumnious. We are not to judge rashly,

            harshly, uncharitably and to remember our proper place and work as Christians

            is that of humble submission to the authority of the law  and remember that

            “One only is the Lawgiver and Judge”.  Who,” then, “art thou that

            judgest thy neighbor?” Actually judging, not thy neighbor, but the law;

            nay, not the law, but the great God from whom all law springs, and to

            whom it all returns! MAY GOD SAVE US FROM ALL THIS!

 

 

Evil Speaking and Evil- Judging (vs. 11-12)

 

Here James still continues his warning against the spirit of selfishness and

worldliness. In these two verses he issues a solemn prohibition against the

habit of calumny and unjust censure of brethren. For evil-speaking is one of

the most familiar manifestations of that spirit of strife which he has already

rebuked.

 

  • THE PROHIBITION (v. 11)

 

Ø      Fundamentally it is directed against evil-judging. The apostle’s words

are to be interpreted according to their spirit. He does not condemn all

judging. God has implanted within us the critical faculty, the judgment;

and we cannot avoid using it. Indeed, it is a Christian duty to pronounce

upon conduct and character. We require to do so within our own breasts

for our own moral guidance; while to judge publicly is a function of the civil

magistrate and of Church rulers. What James condemns here is evil-judging

all judging that is censorious or calumnious. We are not to judge rashly,

harshly, uncharitably. Even good Christians are tempted to transgress in

this matter in many ways, e.g.:

 

o        from listening to mere rumor,

o        from trusting to our own first impressions,

o        from narrow-mindedness,

o        from self-conceit,

o        from mistaken views of the sufferings of others,

o        from forgetting that we cannot look into our neighbors’ hearts.

 

In forming our judgments of conduct and character we should have regard

to such principles as these:

 

o        We have no right to come to an unfavorable conclusion unless we

possess full knowledge of all the facts.

o        We ought to guard against undue severity of judgment.

o        We must not allow bad motives to warp our decisions.

o        When acts are capable either of a favorable or an unfavorable

construction, we are bound in charity to take the favorable view.

(giving the benefit of the doubt – CY – 2018)

 

Ø      But the prohibition refers also to the expression of our judgments. It

forbids evil speaking. The vilest form of this sin consists in the willful

creation of false reports against brethren. To originate such is literally

diabolical. True Christians may seldom fall into this lowest and guiltiest

form of calumny; but how readily do some of us yield ourselves to the

circulation of slanders which have been poured into our ears! How

frequently do we “take up a reproach against our neighbor” (Psalm 15:3)!

We find it lying in our way, and we pick it up and pass it on,

whereas we ought to allow it to remain where it is. Alas! even in Christian

circles a small and slight rumor will sometimes expand speedily into a huge

inflated calumny, which will scatter mischief and misery along its path. And

even mere idle speaking degenerates into evil-speaking. Gossip soon

becomes backbiting; scandal grows out of tittle-tattle. It is so much easier

to talk of persons than of principles, that our dinner and tea parties, instead

of being occupied with profitable subjects of conversation, are sometimes

largely given over to the retail of scandal. We should ever bear in mind

such principles as the following for our guidance in the expression of our

judgments concerning others:

 

o        The end of speech is to bless and serve God, while evil-speaking is

work done for Satan.

o        We should direct attention to the excellences rather than to the defects

of our neighbor’s character.

o        When we require in private life to use the language of condemnation,

we ought to condemn principles rather than persons.

o        We should tell his fault to the erring brother himself rather than to

others.

 

  • THE GROUNDS OF THE PROHIBITION. One strong argument is

introduced incidentally, in the use of the words “brethren” and “brother.”

Depreciatory and calumnious language towards one another is subversive

of the whole idea of brotherhood. It is inconsistent with the recognition of

the common brotherhood of the race, and tenfold more so in relation to the

special spiritual brotherhood of believers. The apostle, however, submits

expressly two grounds for his condemnation. To judge and speak evil is:

 

Ø      To condemn the Divine Law. (v. 11.) “The law” refers to the moral

code which was given by Moses, and fulfilled and made honorable by Jesus

Christ. It is the same which James has spoken of in ch.1 as “the law of

liberty.” Of this law the second great commandment is, “Thou shalt love

thy neighbor as thyself” — a precept which embraces within it the “judge

not of the Lord Jesus (Matthew 7:1). But the man who speaks evil of

his brother virtually condemns the New Testament ethics as unsound, and

pronounces the moral law to be unworthy of obedience.

 

Ø      To usurp the functions of the Divine Judge. (vs. 11-12.) Our proper

place and work as Christians is that of humble submission to the authority

of the law. If, however, we speak evil regarding our fellows, we in so

doing withdraw altogether from the attitude of subjection. In “judging our

brotherwe climb up to the judicial bench; we usurp the seat of Him who

administers the law, and who is not Himself under it. But how frightful the

impiety that is involved in such usurpation! “ONE ONLY is the Lawgiver and

Judge;” HE ALONE pronounces infallible judgments, and possesses power to

execute them. His sentences are spoken for doom; yet He loves to “save,”

and it gives Him “no pleasure” to “destroy.”

 

  • LESSONS.

 

Ø      The presumptuousness of evil-judging. “Who art thou that judgest thy

neighbor?” Man lacks the requisite knowledge and wisdom and purity!

Ø      The duty of cultivating love of the brethren.

Ø      The importance of copying in our lives the perfect character of the godly

man, as mirrored in Psalm 15:4. The reasonableness of fearing God, as

the one true and final Judge.

 

 

Judgment, Human and Divine (vs. 11-12)

 

The besetting sin of the Jews; the besetting sin of man: evil-speaking. But

to speak evil, is to judge; and who are we, that we should judge? ONE IS THE

JUDGE, EVEN GOD!

 

  • THE JUDGMENT OF MAN. In some cases, where great public ends

are to be served, man seems to be justified in exercising a power of

delegated judgment; so the magistrate, the minister, the historian. But even

here the power is qualified; the judgment of motives is not absolute. The

besetting sin, however, is to judge of motives where only the act is known;

and, which generally accompanies the former, to conjecture the act where

little is definitely known. So in the world; so, alas, in the Church! But why

is this judgment, why is this evil-speaking, wrong? There is a law against

which it sins — the law of love. Indicated in “the Law” (Galatians 6:2);

also in the word “brother.” Yes, a law which has said, “Judge not”

(see Matthew 7:1). But such judgment has a more uniquely evil

relation to law than this.

 

Ø      False relation to law: Speaketh against the law, judgeth the law.”

What a subtle hypocrisy is this! When we think we are championing

the law by our censorious speaking, we are in reality blaming it,

condemning it; for we are virtually denying its right to teach us

charity! So do we sit in judgment, forsooth, on the law itself.

 

Ø      True relation to law. “A doer.” By charity, we recognize the

validity and rectitude of the great law of charity, and ourselves obey

its precepts. This law, let us remember, IS IMPERSONATED IN

CHRIST!   If, then, we do not bow to its sway, we do not receive

Christ; and, not receiving Christ, we have no salvation.

 

  • THE JUDGMENT OF GOD. The great principle is here stated that,

ultimately and absolutely, there is one Lawgiver, one Judge.

 

Ø      The legislative authority of God: rooted in His very nature, as God.

And the special law of love rooted in this, that “God is love.”

 

Ø      The judicial authority of God. He discerns infallibly the sin of the

creature.

 

o       As being Himself perfectly good: an essential requisite. The mirror and

the breath. So that infinite holiness!

o       As being the One to whom all sin is adversely related. Whatever its

exact bearings directly, it is essentially hostile to God. And as in Him we

live and move and have our being, its hostility is immediately known by

God.

 

Ø      The executive authority of God. “Able to save, and to destroy.”

 

o       To save: taking into blessed fellowship with Himself, as having affinity.

o       To destroy: casting off from Himself, as being alien

(see II Thessalonians 1:9).

 

So there is nothing arbitrary in the judgment of God, from first to last. The

legislative, the judicial, the executive functions are all rooted in His nature,

and in the essential relation of that nature to us.  Who,” then, “art thou that

judgest thy neighbor?” Actually judging, not thy neighbor, but the law; nay,

not the law, but the great God from whom all law springs, and to whom it all

returns! May God save us from this!  “For of Him, and through Him, and to

Him, are all things to whom be glory for ever.”  (Romans 11:36)

 

 

Denuciation of Over-Weening Confidence in Our Own Plans

and

Our Ability to Perform (vs. 13-17)

 

 

13 “Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such

a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:”

Go to; Ἄγε - - age – be leading; come - properly, the imperative, but here used

adverbially, a usage common in Greek prose, and found again in ch. 5:1. (For the

word, compare Judges 19:6; II Kings 4:24; and for similar instances of the singular

where more than one person is referred to, see Wetstein, col. 2. p. 676.) The

Received Text (Stephens) requires some correction in this verse. Read, σήμερον

αὔριον – saemeron ae aurion - today or tomorrow with א, B; the futures

πορεύσομεθα – poreusometha - we should be going; ποιήσομεν – poiaesomen –

shall be spending; ἐμπορευσόμεθα – emporeusometha – we shall be traffiking;

and κερδήσομενkerdaesomen – shall be getting gain (B, Latt., Syriac) instead

of the subjunctives; and omit ἔνα – hena - one after ἐνιαυτόν – eniauton - year,

with a, B, Latt., Coptic. Continue there a year; rather, spend a year there,

ἐνιαυτὸν (year) being the object of the verb and not the accusative of duration.

For ποιεῖνpoiein – spend - used of time, compare Acts 15:33; 18:23; 20:3;

II Corinthians 11:25. The Latins use facto in the same way; e.g. Cicero, 'Ad

Attic.,' 5. 20, "Apamea quinque dies morati... Iconii decem fecimus."

 

14 “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life?

It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” 

This verse fortifies the rebuke of v. 13 by showing the folly of their action;

compare  Proverbs 27:1, "Boast not thyself of tomorrow (τὰ εἰς αὔριον –

ta eis aurion – of thyself tomorrow), for thou knowest not what a day may bring

forth." Whereas ye know not; rather, seeing that, or, inasmuch as ye know not, etc.

(οἵτινες οὐκ ἐπίστασθε – hoitines ouk epistasthe – whereas ye know not; none are

being versed in). The text in this verse again in a somewhat disorganized condition,

but the general drift is clear. We should probably read, Οἵτινες οὐκ ἐπίστασθε τὸ

τῆς αὔριον ποίαἡ ζωὴ ὑμῶν ἀτμὶς γὰρ ἐστε ἡ πρὸς ὀλίγον φαινομένη ἔπειτα καὶ

ἀφανιζομένη – Hoitines ouk epistasthe to taes aurion poiahae zoae humon atmis

gar este hae pros oligon phainomenae epeita kai aphanizomenae, Revised Version –

"Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. What is your life? For ye are

a vapor that appeareth for a little time and then vanisheth away."

 

15 “For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.”

For that ye ought to say (ἀντὶ τοῦ λέγειν – anti tou legein – instead of the to be

saying); literally, instead of your saying; ἀντὶ τοῦ, with the infinitive, "saepe

apud Graecos" (Grimm). This verse follows in thought on v. 13, v. 14 having

been parenthetical. "Go to now, ye that say... instead of your saying (as ye ought),

If the Lord will," etc. Once more the text requires correction, as the futures

ζήσομεν – zaesomen – we shall be living and ποιήσομεν poiaesomen – we shall

be doing should be read (with א, A, B), instead of the subjunctives of the Received

Text. It is generally agreed now that the verse should be rendered, "If the Lord will,

we shall both live and do this or that." But it is possible to divide it differently, and

to render as follows: "If the Lord will, and we live, we shall also do this or that."

Vulgate, si Dominus voluerit et si [omit si, Codex Amiat.] vixerimus, faciemus, etc.

(cf. Winer, 'Grammar of N.T. Greek,' p. 357).

 

16 “But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.”

But now. As is actually the case, "ye glory in your vauntings." Ἀλαζονεία –

alazoneiavauntings; ostentations; bragging: only here and in I John 2:16; in

the Septuagint, in II Maccabees 9:8 and Wisdom of Solomon 5:8. It is a favorite

word with St. Clement of Rome. On its meaning and distinction from ὑπερηφανία –

huperaephania pride; haughtiness; arrogance and other kindred words, see Trench

on ' Synonyms,' p. 95; and cf. Westcott on the 'Epistles of St. John,' p. 64. The vice

of the ἀλάζων (boasting) centers in self and is consummated in his absolute

self-exaltation, while the ὑπερήφανος (pride; ostentation) shows his character

by his overweening treatment of others. The ἀλάζων sins most against truth;

the ὑπερήφανος sins most against love." This extract will serve to show the fitness

of ἀλαζονεία rather than ὑπερηφανία in the passage before us. The verse should be

rendered, as in Revised Version, "But now ye glory (καυχᾶσθε – kauchasthe – ye

are boasting) in your vauntings: all such glorying (καύχησις - kauchaesis) is evil."

Καύχησις – kauchaesis – a boast -  is the act, not the matter (καύχημα – kauchaema –

of boasting), of glorying.

 

 

                                    Conclusion of the Section (v. 17)

 

17 “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”

"Some have supposed a direct reference to Romans 14:23, 'Whatsover is not of faith

is sin.' We can scarcely assume so much; but the correspondence is very remarkable,

and St. James supplements St. Paul. It is:

 

  • sin to doubt whether a thing be right, and yet do it.
  • sin to know that a thing is right, and yet to leave it undone."

 (Dean Scott, in the 'Speaker's Commentary')

 

The Greatness of Sins of Omission (v. 17)

 

It is not only sinful to do wrong; it is also sinful to lose an opportunity of

doing good. God means us not only to be harmless, but also to be useful;

not only to be innocent, but to be followers of that which is good. How

miserable is the satisfied acquiescence in the thought, “I never did anybody

any harm” — a thought which is falsely used as a consolation at many a

death-bed! The slothful servant who hid the talent in a napkin did no wrong

with it, but nevertheless he was condemned. He had failed to do good. So

God claims from all of us, not merely that we should “cease to do evil,” but

also that we should “learn to do well”  (Isaiah 1:16-17)  for “to him that

knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”

 

 

  • THE UNCERTAINTY OF HUMAN PLANS AND SCHEMES. 

      (Presumptuous self-reliance in relation to the future)  Best illustrated by the           

      parable of the rich fool (Luke 12:16-21), boasting of his “much goods” laid

      up for “many years” on the very night on which his soul was required of him.

      It is such a spirit as his that St. James denounces so sternly; not the careful            

      forethought and providence which Holy Scripture never condemns, but the           

      forming plans and designs without the slightest reference in word or thought to    

      that overruling will on which all depends.  It is not the mere looking forward

      that is forbidden, but the looking forward without the recollection that while

            “man proposes, God disposes.”  The whole of human history forms a comment

on these verses. Alexander seized with mortal illness just at the moment when

the world is at his feet;  Arius “taken away” the very night before he was to be

forced into communion with the Church; the statesman struck down by the

knife of the assassin just when his country seems to need him most; — all

these show the truth of the words which St. James had probably read, and

which may well be compared with his own: “Our life shall pass away as a

cloud, and shall be dispersed as a mist that is driven away with the beams

of the sun, and overcome with the heat thereof” (Wisdom of Solomon 2:4).

The vanity of human schemes is well shown by the old epitaph:

 

“The earth goeth on the earth glistening with gold;

The earth goeth from the earth not when it wold;

The earth buildeth on the earth castles and towers;   

 

But:

 

“The earth saith to the earth, ‘These shall be ours.’”

 

“Boast not thyself of tomorrow for thou knowest not what a day may bring

forth”(Proverbs 27:1)  For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live,

and do this, or that.”

 

“But now ye rejoice in your boastings - “ye glory in your vauntings.”

(Ἀλαζονεία –alazoneia from [ἀλάζων -  braggadocio, (by implication)

self-confidence:  boasting, pride.  The vice of the ἀλάζων “centers in self and is

consummated in his absolute self-exaltation,

 

“For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and

then vanisheth away.” – (I remember, as a teenager in the late 1950’s, in Pulaski

County Kentucky watching the Strategic Air Command’s B-52’s, tankers, and fighter

jets, as they flew over terrain that, topographically was similar to that of the inhabited

Soviet Union.  They were practicing mock bombing runs.  In so doing they would leave

a trail like this vapor of which James is speaking – I was aware of this verse then and

understood its application.  But now, over a half century  later I understand it much

better – that is the brevity of life! – CY – 2009)

 

v. 17 – “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him

it is sin.”  Romans 14:23 says “Whatsover is not of faith is sin.”  It is sin to

doubt whether a thing be right, and yet do it. It is also sin to know that a thing is right,

and yet to leave it undone.

 

  • The Greatness of Sins of Omission.  It is not only sinful to do wrong; it is

      also sinful to lose an opportunity of doing good. God means us not only to

      be harmless, but also to be useful; not only to be innocent, but to be followers

      of that which is good. How miserable is the satisfied acquiescence in the

      thought, “I never did anybody any harm” -  a thought which is falsely used as

      a consolation at many a death-bed! The slothful servant who hid the talent in a     

      napkin (Luke 19:20) did no wrong with it, but nevertheless he was condemned.    

      He had failed to do good. So God claims from all of us, not merely that we

            should “cease to do evil,” but also that we should “learn to do well;” (Isaiah

            1:16-17) for “to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is        

            sin.”

 

 

                                    Man Proposes, but God Disposes (vs. 13-17)

 

The subject here is another prevalent manifestation of pride and worldliness;

namely, the propensity to indulge in presumptuous self-reliance in relation

to the future.

 

  • THE SPIRIT OF VAIN CONFIDENCE WHICH THE APOSTLE

REBUKES. (v. 13.) The apostle solemnly rebukes those who formed their

business plans without taking into account the providence of God, or even

the uncertainty of human life. He is very far from stigmatizing commercial

enterprise as a form of worldliness. He does not censure the formation of

business schemes even for long years to come, provided such be contemplated

in subordination to the Divine will, and be not allowed to interfere with spiritual

consecration to His service.  What he condemns is the spirit of self-sufficiency

in regard to the continuance of life and activity and success (Psalm 49:11;

Isaiah 56:12; Luke 12:19). He rebukes the practical atheism which would

shut out God from business arrangements. And his “Go to now” is quite

as much needed among us Gentiles of the twenty-first century as it was

among the Jews of the first.  How prone men are to ignore the eternal laws, and

            exclude from their calculations the sovereign will of the great Disposer!

            How apt busy men are to act as if they were the lords of their own lives!

            When we allow the spirit of worldliness to steal over our souls like a

            creeping paralysis, then we begin to “boast ourselves of tomorrow.”

            The great matter is for every one really to permeate his business life with

            religion, and to live up to the measure of his spiritual knowledge.

 

  • THE GROUNDS OF THE REBUKE. (vs. 14-17.) The apostle

reminds his readers that this confident expectation of a successful future

betrays:

 

Ø      A foolish and irrational spirit. (v. 14.) Although man is endowed

with reason, he often neglects to use his reason. These merchant Jews of

the Dispersion” knew thoroughly well the brevity arid frailty of human

life, but were in danger of allowing their proud thoughts to efface from

their consciousness so commonplace a truth. They forgot that we “know

not what shall be on the morrow.” In the political world “the unexpected

generally happens.” In the commercial world what startling surprises

occur! — poor men raised to affluence, and rich men reduced to sudden

poverty. And the duration of our lives is as uncertain as any other event.

“For,” asks James, “what is your life?” What is it like? What is its most

prominent outward characteristic? “Ye are a vapor;” human life is like the

morning mists that mantle the mountain. It spreads itself out, indeed, as

vapor does; for it is manifold in its schemes and cares and toils; but, like

vapor, it is frail and transient. We know this to be true, but how little do we

realize it! We form plans about our business and family affairs, plans about

our houses and fields, plans to improve our social status; and we forget

that all these are dependent upon an unknown quantity — our continuance

in life and health, our possession of the future, and of property in it. Now,

in all this, do not we act quite irrationally? How can our calculations be

correct, when we leave out the factor of the frailty of life? This thought

should be uppermost in our minds. It is the part of a wise man often to

reflect that he will soon be IN ETERNITY.   Again, this vain confidence

reveals:

 

Ø      An impious and wicked spirit. (vs. 15-17.) It is impious to forget to

carry the will of the supreme Disposer into all our calculations, and to

neglect to qualify our plans by a reference to that will. It is wicked for a

finite and sinful man to cherish the proud confidence that he may map out

the future of his life at his own pleasure. To act as if the keys of time were

in one’s own keeping, and as if one could ensure life and health, like papers

locked up in a fire-resisting safe, involves an arrogance which has in it THE

ESSENCE OF ALL SIN!  “All such glorying is evil;” for it originates in pride,

which is the fountain-head of sin. It is the spirit which makes an idol of self,

and which would practically thrust out GOD from His own world. The

apostle concludes with a general moral statement on the subject of the

relation between knowledge and responsibility. Our guilt will be the greater

if we do not practice what we clearly know (v. 17). But every professing

Christian knows perfectly well the uncertainty of life. How aggravated,

then, is our sin, when we “boast ourselves of tomorrow!”

 

  • THE DUTY OF REALIZING OUR DEPENDENCE ON THE

LORD’S WILL. (v. 15.) We should always remember that our times are

in the hands of the Lord Jesus, and be ready upon every fitting occasion to

acknowledge it, not only with submission, but with confidence and joy.

Some good men habitually say or write “D.V.,” while others equally in

their hearts recognize the Lord’s will, although they do not often refer to it

after such fashion. The great matter is for every one really to permeate his

business life with religion, and to live up to the measure of his spiritual

knowledge. Thomas Fuller’s remarks on this subject are excellent in spirit:

“Lord, when in any writing I have occasion to insert these passages, ‘God

willing,’ ‘God lending me life,’ etc., I observe, Lord, that I can scarce hold

my hand from encircling these words in a parenthesis, as if they were not

essential to the sentence, but may as well be left out as put in. Whereas,

indeed, they are not only of the commission at large, but so of the quorum,

that without them all the rest is nothing; wherefore hereafter I will write

those words fully and fairly, without any enclosure about them. Let critics

censure it for bad grammar, I am sure it is good divinity” (‘Good Thoughts

in Bad Times’).

 

 

What is Your Life? (vs. 13-17)

 

The life of the savage is characterized by an almost total lack of true

foresight; no calculations of the future. True civilization, on the contrary, is

largely built up on the principle of far-seeing prudence. Yet there may be a

false use of a true principle. And so it may come to pass that we manifest

an unchristian reliance on the future, and an absorbed engrossment in plans

for its direction. It is this which James condemns, He sets forth the false

glorying, and, over against the false, the true.

 

 

  • FALSE GLORYING.

 

ü      A False Love of the World. Trade, and get gain.” So And the

      essence of such sinful worldliness is this: “Layeth up treasure for

      himself. (Luke 12:21)  But the gains on which men’s hearts are set

      may be other than these material ones: position, power, fame,

                        intellectual achievements. It matters not what they are, if they be

                        sought covetously and selfishly, they come under the condemnation

                        of a false love of the world.

 

ü      A False View of Life. “Spend a year there.” So the parable,

      as above.  In reality consider:

     

Ø      The Transiency of Life in Itself. “A vapor.” As compared

      with the ages of history. How that dwindles our little day! As        

      compared with the life of God (Psalm 39:5, 90:4, 102:27).

 

Ø      The Permanence of Life’s Spiritual Results. How

                                    immensely important every moment now! Psalm 90:12, 39:13.

                                    The glorying is evil, then, whether of speech or of heart. For

                                    the principle is not one of words. A man may talk piously of

                                    the brevity of life and of the will of God, while really his heart

                                    is as essentially worldly as that of the man who makes no                                                    

                                    pretensions to better things.

 

  • TRUE GLORYING.  - “He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord”

            (1 Corinthians 1:31).  But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he       

            understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise   

            lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these

            things I delight, saith the LORD.” (Jeremiah 9:24-25)

 

ü       A Trite View of Life. If the Lord will, we shall live.”

 

Ø      His Governance of Human Vicissitudes: “The Lord reigneth.”

      Fate, chance, human willfulness — all governed by His will.

 

Ø      His Regard for Human Destiny: Educating Us. That mighty future,

      shall we be made ready for it?  Yes; for “He that spared not His

      own Son, but delivered Him up for us all,  how shall He not       

      with Him also freely give us all things” (Romans 8:32).

 

ü      A True Love of the World. “Do this or that.” A living will runs

      through all these things, and it is given to us to blend our wills with

      it, and so help to work out God’s design.

 

                                                “If on our daily course our mind

                                                            Be set to hallow all we find—”

                       

                        that is the secret of a true, a godly love of the world.  We have

                        knowledge of these things, for we have “tasted the powers of the

                        world to come” (Hebrews 6:5). Therefore, what shall be our sin,

                        if still our glorying is in the world (see John 9:41)? Oh, to us, as

                        from heaven, the warning comes: “Ye Christians, arouse yourselves,

                        and live for heaven and God!”

 

 

The purpose of Christianity is to sanctify the secular.  (Charles H. Spurgeon)

 

“Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,

neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man

glory in his riches:  But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he

understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise

lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these

things I delight, saith the LORD  (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

 

 

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