The attack on the gentleness of divine wisdom
is friendship with the world.

Verses 1-10
You cannot serve two masters
The believer is continually faced with the challenges of following the divine value system. That value system is totally opposite to the value system of the world, which revolves around self-centeredness, self-pleasure, and self-promotion (The lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the arrogance of life, 1 John 2:16).
Jesus taught that there must be a clear break from the old value system and a total dedication to the kingdom of God. At Matthew 6:19-34, He clarifies the issues of light vs. darkness, and of the divine priority vs. human priority.
At John 15:1-17, Jesus taught the reality of sinless consistency through keeping His word and abiding in Him. Sinless consistency revolves around the understanding and application of BENEFICENT LOVE which is reflected through keeping the teachings (commandments) of Jesus.

Here, James amplifies the absence of peace among believers by zooming in on what friendship with the world is and does. Friendship with the world undermines the divine priority of promoting divine wisdom by elevating personal pleasure and comfort above the mandates of God’s word.

Verses 1-4 Friendship with the world
Verse 1
1. What is the source of: pothen is an interrogative adverb that simply inquires as to the REASON or MEANS by which something comes about.

2. quarrels: polemos refers to social conflicts of various types and degrees designed to deprecate and outmaneuver one’s opponent.

3. And conflicts: machā, on the other hand, emphasizes physical confrontations, whether they be personal, local or national in focus.

4. Are they not from: Adverb, enteuthen, simply answers the question of pothen, and then for emphasis, the preposition, ek (out from) is added to indicate the cause for these various social conflicts.

5. Your pleasures: hādonā is used for the lusts of the sin nature.
At James 1:14-15, the usual word (epithumia) is used to indicate these lusts in general. hādonā specializes these lusts as those which characterize rich-mindedness and covetousness in a frantic and/or violent search for happiness. Thus, the translation, “pleasure lusts.”

6. These pleasure lusts “wage war” in your members. The word for wage war is strateuomai and refers to the inner conflict that takes place within the soul.
At James 1:14-15, this conflict from the sin nature, is described as a temptress attempting to seduce the believer into thoughts and actions contrary to the standards of God; contrary to the law of love.
At Galatians 5:17, it is described as the flesh lusting (expressing its desire) against the Spirit and the Spirit expressing His desire against the flesh. And in the middle, is the self-consciousness of the soul -faced with divine viewpoint influence via God’s word and the urging of the Holy Spirit, AND the human viewpoint influence of the sin nature.
At every point of contact with these sin nature lusts, the volition of the believer’s self-consciousness must make a decision as to which influence he will follow. If he adheres to the divine viewpoint standards of God’s word which guide him into the pathway of love and righteousness, the temptation is resisted and rejected. Fellowship with God is maintained, and the filling/influence of the Spirit is preserved (the Spirit is not quenched or grieved, 1 Thes. 5:19 and Eph. 4:30). To the degree that the believer maintains fellowship with God, to that degree he experiences sinless consistency.
However, if the believer chooses to reject the divine viewpoint influence of the word and instead embrace the lust of the flesh, he grieves the Holy Spirit, quenches His filling/influence, and commits personal sin.
This not only breaks his fellowship with God, but puts the self-centeredness of the sin nature in control of the soul, causing the various overt sins of this passage; quarrels, conflicts, jealousy, murder. This same warfare in the soul is mentioned at 1 Peter 2:11 and Romans 7:14-25.

7. In your members: This does not refer to a group of believers, but to the various areas of your life as the sin nature seeks to dominate you. We see this same usage at Romans 6:12-18.

Verses 2-3, The believer’s frantic search for happiness
There are many different ways the search for happiness is expressed, but basically, there are two degrees; passive and aggressive.
The passive search is non-confrontational and does not infringe on the rights of others. The aggressive search is impervious to the negative effects on others, and will do anything to find satisfaction.
Beyond these two degrees, there are two types of search; secular and religious. The secular search revolves around a man-centered world view and the religious search revolves around a God-centered world view.

Verse 2a-2b, The violent search for happiness with lethal consequences
1. You lust: The verb is epithumeo as a present active indicative.
Lust can refer to two different ideas.
A. It refers to the temptation directed toward the functional
believer, soliciting to get him out of fellowship with God
(Gal. 5:17).
B. And then, it refers to the active control of the sin nature once
the believer yields to temptation and quenches the
filling/influence of the Holy Spirit.

Here, it refers to the believer who is already out of fellowship and living under the control of the sin nature. This is called the reign of THE SIN (nature) at Romans 6:12-13. This REIGN makes the sin nature LORD (verse 14, kurieuo) over the life with the functional result that every facet of your life becomes a weapon of unrighteousness.
Specifically in this James context, the lust (desire) is for the possession of what is perceived to be the source of happiness in others. Accordingly, he wants it for himself and will do anything he can to get it.

2. And do not have: this is a present active indicative of echo + ouk (negative). The desire for material comforts and luxuries in and of itself, is not wrong. Paul tells us that “God freely gives us all things for enjoyment” (1 Timothy 6:17).
The issue then, is not the desire for material things, but the balance between that desire and the believer’s spiritual responsibilities as a priest and ambassador.

3. So you commit murder: If the believer embraces rich-mindedness as a life style (1 Timothy 6:9-10; Ephesians 5:19), he will pursue his frantic search for happiness in many different ways. Here James focuses on the aggressive search that uses lethal force to possess what belongs to another.
The word murder, is a present active indicative of phroneuo, to indicate the reality of aggressiveness when one’s desires are not satisfied.

Verse 2b, The violent search for happiness with CONFLICT results
1. And you are envious: zeloo refers to an intense emotional desire either good or bad depending on the context.
A. It is used for a possessive protectiveness of what one owns or
a zeal of faithfulness to what one has allegiance to.
B. In a negative sense, it is the selfish desire that wants to hoard
and control both the things and the people in a one’s life. Our
English word, envy, fits this, as well as jealousy. This is how it
is used here.

Verse 2b
2. And cannot obtain: The word cannot, is a present middle indicative
of dunamai with a negative, and indicates an inability to
accomplish one’s desires.
A. The word obtain, is entugchano as a present active infinitive, and
indicates a personal possession of what one desires.
B. Together, the translation, “cannot obtain” communicates a total
impotence in acquiring the desired object through peaceful means.
C. This obviously will result in frustration, bitterness, anger -
and eventually - strife.

3. So you fight and quarrel:
A. fight: The word is machomai as a present middle indicative, and
indicates physical conflicts as we saw with the noun, mache.
B. quarrel: the word is polemeo (present active indicative) and
indicates verbal and overt activity that seeks to deprecate
and outmaneuver one’s opponent or enemy.

Verse 2c Failure to use divine policy for dealing with needs and wants.
1. You do not have: This is a present active indicative of echo + the negative to indicate unfulfilled needs and wants.

2. Because you do not ask: The preposition, dia plus the accusative case of the definite article plus the infinitive (present middle infinitive of aiteo), indicates the failure to use the provision that God has made available for dealing with creature needs and comforts in an antagonistic environment. That provision is faith-rest through prayer.
A. Statement of prayer policy: Matthew 21:22
1. All things: Anything that qualifies as a need or a want.
2. However, “all things” is restricted by application of wisdom
and God’s sovereignty (1 John 5:14-15), “if we ask anything
according to his will.”
3. This requires that the believer understand the plan and
viewpoint of God, in both general and specific categories.
John 15:7, “if my words abide in you.”
4. It also requires that the believer be in fellowship, that is,
no sins in the life. Psalm 66:18; John 15:7
5. It requires proper motivation and attitude that reflects the
desire to glorify God (1 Cor. 10:31).
James 4:15, “If the Lord wills.”
B. But if prayer activity does not line up with God’s policy,
then the needs and wants will be unfulfilled.

Verse 3 Failure in prayer through carnality
1. You ask: attempt to use divine policy to fulfill pleasure lust.
aiteo as a present active indicative.

2. And do not receive: The reality of failure in prayer. There are several reasons why one’s prayers would not be answered, but the focus in this passage is on wrong motivation - pleasure lusts.
3. Because you ask with wrong motives: The adverb, kakōs, describes the attitude behind the prayer activity. It literally means, wrongly or wickedly.

4. The adverb, WRONGLY, indicates both the attitude and the viewpoint involved.
A. The wrong attitude is described as the desire to fulfill pleasure lusts.
B. The wrong viewpoint is the idea that prayer is a RESOURCE that can be SPENT.
C. So that: hina + subjunctive of dapanao introduces the purpose clause.
The use of this word, which means to spend money for something, indicates
that the person actually thinks that prayer is a RESOURCE that one can USE
or SPEND in order to get something in return.

D. On your lusts:
hādonā again, refers to the pleasure lusts that dominate the
Experiencing pleasure and enjoyment from the various material and
recreational things of this life, is not wrong.
Paul writes at 1 Tim. 6:17, that God abundantly supplies us with all things
for enjoyment (apolusis).

It is not the participation in these things that is wrong, it is the over
participation that disrupts the believer’s priority focus.
When one’s life revolves around the pursuit of pleasure, it interferes with
priority responsibilities toward God and family.
Not to mention, the disruption it causes within the soul. This disruption is
described at 1 Timothy 6:9 as ruin, and at verse 10, as many pains.

5. It is impossible to have two different items on the top of one’s priority list.
One cannot give equal value to more than one at a time (Mat. 6:24).

6. The desire to fulfill personal pleasure lusts at the expense of reflecting beneficent love opens up the believer to a variety of temptations and sin cycles that neutralize his capacity for blessing and for service (1 Timothy 6:9-10).
A. Such an occupation with lust removes the believer from his functional
ambassadorship and puts him in opposition to God.
B. Jesus said at Matthew 6:24, “You cannot serve God and material pleasures.”

Verse 4
1. You adulteresses: A term of sexual infidelity to indicate the spiritual compromise and unfaithfulness of the believer who gives in to his pleasure lusts.
A. At the moment of salvation, the believer enters into a spiritual marriage
union with Christ, with the purpose of bearing spiritual fruit to the glory
of God (Romans 7:4).
B. If the believer seeks out fellowship and companionship with the world, in
place of cultivating rapport with Christ through fellowship and growth, it is
hostility toward that spiritual union and he functions not only in
unfaithfulness to Christ, but more aggressively, as an enemy of God.
C. The UNFAITHFULNESS idea is expressed at Revelation 2:4 with the indictment,
“you have left your first love.”
D. The AGGRESSIVENESS idea is expressed by Jesus at Matthew 12:30, “he who is
not with me is against me;” and by Paul at Romans 8:7, “the mind set on the
flesh is hostile toward God.”
2. Friendship with the world: The word friendship is philia, and speaks of a rapport relationship with someone or something. The word group deals with having a relationship based on agreement in standards and character.
A. If the believer finds affinity with the immoral, self-centered standards of
the world system (kosmos), it is impossible for him to adhere to the moral
and beneficial standards of the light system.
B. John calls this walking in darkness at 1 John 1:6.
C. Paul calls it participating in the unfruitful deeds of darkness at Eph. 5:11.
C. And John, again, calls it loving the world at 1 John 2:15-17.

3. Hostility toward God: The word echthra, is from the “enemy” word group, and speaks of an active conscious hostility toward someone.
A. Sometimes enmity is viewed as a status which exists because of spiritual laws, such as the fact that all members of the human race are born
spiritually dead to God and exist “inactively” as His enemies (Romans 5:10).
B. But here, there is an ACTIVE spiritual hostility based on a choice to set
aside divine viewpoint standards and embrace instead, the pursuit of personal
pleasure lusts.
C. This refers to the life style of sensuality mentioned at Ephesians 4:17-19. This was mentioned earlier embracing the three philosophies of the world’s
value system listed at 1 John 2:16.

4. Therefore, whoever wishes: boulomai as an aorist passive subjunctive, communicates the volitional choice the believer makes between God and his own personal pleasure lusts.

5. To be a friend of the world: philos + kosmos
6. Makes himself: the verb is kathistemi as a present middle indicative. It means to set into place, to establish, to appoint, to set in the category of.
A. The middle voice indicates that the subject acts upon himself.
B. He places himself into a particular category by his own choice, that then
establishes himself as having a particular attitude, or even world view.

7. An enemy of God: echthros is the condition of this believer because of a chosen attitude or life style. It is the “as-a-matter-of-course” result of choosing one absolute over another.

Verse 5, The possessiveness of God wants undivided devotion.
1. Or: This introduces an explanation of the absolute nature of devotion to God.
A. It explains divine possessiveness (jealousy) as it is stated in the Old
Testament, such as at Exodus 20:5, “I Yahweh your God, am a jealous God.”
(Joshua 24:19; Exodus 34:14; Deuteronomy 4:24; 5:9; 6:15; Nahum 1:2)
B. It answers the foolish believer who thinks he can minimize his attention to
God for the fulfillment of his own pleasure lusts without incurring God’s

2. Do you think: This refers to the attitude that discounts the validity of certain doctrinal truths because they don’t line up with one’s personal philosophy of life.
The Christian is just as capable of rejecting these truths as is an unbeliever.
A. The verb is dokeo, as a present active indicative, and means to have a mental
feeling or opinion. It is often used for subjective, emotional thinking, but
not always.
B. Here it is used to show the negative opinion of the foolish and arrogantly
independent believer who fails to apply certain doctrinal principles.
C. It thus carries the idea of presumption as the creature elevates himself
above the viewpoint and policies of the Creator.
D. Paul tells us at Romans 15:4, “For whatever was written in earlier times,
was written for our instruction, so that through the endurance and the
encouragement from the scriptures, we might have confidence.”
E. There are truths and principles scattered all throughout the Old Testament
and of course, throughout the teachings of the apostles, that give us an
understanding of God’s character and plan.
F. From these truths we can learn principles of endurance and encouragement that
will then build in our soul the capacity for confidence which promotes
sinless consistency as we encounter the many and varied pressures of this
antagonistic environment; the darkness system.
G. This enables us to fulfill James 1:2, “evaluate it as all joy brethren,
when you encounter various temptations.”

3. That the scripture speaks in vain: This suggests the attitude that rejects certain truths as being irrelevant. Such an attitude is basically a claim that the words of scripture have been given in vain. In this specific context, the believer is reminded that God is a jealous God and requires undivided devotion. Many think that they can worship God and still participate in the activities of the world which come into conflict with God’s standards. The reminder that God is a jealous God is designed to motivate these believers to come into adjustment with His justice, and to begin living the Christian life the way they are supposed to; maintaining fellowship through sinless consistency.

4. APPLICATION of this to dispensational theology:

A. There are many who believe that Old Testament truths have no application
to believers of the church age.
B. This error is commonly held and credited to a mis-application of
dispensational truth.
C. It is true that the church age operates differently then the two Old
Testament dispensations (the age of the family priesthood and the national
D. But that difference involves the physical life style of God’s people
and not the spiritual.
E. The spiritual truths and principles remain universal in scope and equally
applicable to all of God’s people in all generations (Romans 15:4).
F. See Topic Dispensations

5. The spiritual truth referenced here is not a direct quote, although the principle is explicitly stated all throughout the Old Testament, but it is simply a summary statement of the principle. That principle is - that God is a jealous God. That is, he is possessive of His creatures and desires undistracted devotion and service. This comes from God’s absolute LOVE that always seeks the benefit of His creatures. Since God knows that involvement with anything other than His viewpoint and policy, hinders the experience of true peace and joy, He is unbending toward sharing His creatures with false gods and inferior pursuits.

6. He jealously desires the spirit which He has made to dwell within us.
God wants undistracted devotion from His people and that means that the human spirit needs to be consistently obedient to His viewpoint and policy. According to 2 Corinthians 7:1, we need to be diligent in keeping our spirit cleansed from sin and human viewpoint. The human spirit refers to the “personality” of the soul; the reflector of the soul’s knowledge and character. At 2 Corinthians 7:1, it basically refers to the inner man in contrast to the physical body, and therefore includes both soul and spirit; mind and emotions.
See Topic: the human spirit

The following four pages deal with technical analysis so don’t let it bog you down from continuing the study at verse 6.

A. The statement that is now made, has some translation difficulties,
as the differences in a variety of versions indicates.
I believe that what James has written appeals to the protective
jealousy of God to elicit obedience from believers. Accordingly,
I favor the FIRST CHOICE below, and the first translation option.

B. There are two ideas that one can find for application of this
The first choice is that God is a jealous God and demands
undivided, undistracted, uncompromising devotion to himself.
This amplifies the previous verse, where James insists that any
friendship with the world places one in the category of enemy to
There are two translation variations that reflect this idea.
Keep in mind that there are no CAPITAL LETTERS in the Greek that
are employed the way the English does. In other words, the word
“spirit” cannot be “capitalized” in the Greek. Whether it refers
to the spirit (small “s) or to the Spirit (capital “S”) depends
entirely on the context.
#1: He jealously desires the spirit which He has made to dwell
within us.

In this case, the word spirit, can refer to either the Holy Spirit
or the human spirit. However, there is no need for God to be
desiring the Holy Spirit, so that option is not a valid
consideration. It would therefore refer to the human spirit which
God desires to be totally devoted to Him (2 Cor. 7:1).

#2: The Spirit whom He has caused to dwell within us, desires to
the point of jealous possession.

In this case, The Holy Spirit is the subject and expresses God’s
jealous possessiveness of the believer.

C. The SECOND CHOICE is that the human spirit of man is naturally
inclined to envy, and James mentions this in order to remind
the readers of the potential danger.
In this case, the word spirit can only refer to the human spirit,
and the translation would be, “the spirit which He has caused to
dwell within us, jealously lusts.”

D. FIRST CHOICE: The NASB gives us: “He jealously desires the Spirit
which He has made to dwell in us.” As already noted, this IDEA is
totally unviable. However, I favor this translation with the word
“spirit” (small “s”) referring to the human spirit.
The NRSV gives us: “God yearns jealously for the spirit
that he has made to dwell in us.”
This does not do justice to the actual text since the word for
“God” does not occur in the sentence.
The NASB margin gives, “The Spirit which He has made to dwell in
us, jealously desires us (or - desires to the point of jealousy).

E. SECOND CHOICE: The KJV gives us: “The spirit that dwelleth in us,
lusteth to envy.”
And the NIV gives us: “the spirit he caused to live in us envies

F. Before we analyze the text, is there a logical basis for selecting
one choice over the other? For this task, we consider the three
verses involved, v. 4-6.
1. The logic behind CHOICE #1:
v. 4: friendship with the world is hostility to God.
v. 5: Are you not aware, that God is a jealous God and demands
undivided devotion?
v. 6: Accordingly (but) he gives grace provision to assist the
believer in staying focused on God.

2. The logic behind CHOICE #2:
v. 4: friendship with the world is hostility to God.
v. 5: Are you not aware that YOUR spirit is inclined toward envy?
v. 6: BUT, God gives grace provision to resist that spirit.

6. Lets start with the order of words in the Greek.
A. The first words that occur are, pros phthonon. Pros, is a preposition that
means, to, toward, in the face of. It is a preposition of extent and degree.
The noun that accompanies it is, phthonos, which means jealousy. Together, then
we have the idea of, to the point of or to the extent of - jealousy. This is the
subject of the context and is the reason it occurs first, since emphasis in the
Greek sentence is indicated by placement. Although the noun, phthonos, occurs 8
other times in the New Testament, and always in an evil sense, that does not
mean that its use here MUST also be evil, although it is a factor to consider.

B. Next is the verb, epipotheo, which means to have a strong desire for or upon
something. The intensity of the desire is further stressed by the prepositional
phrase that we already saw. The desire is such that an intense jealousy or
possessiveness is expressed by the subject. It occurs in a present active
indicative, third person singular, and the subject is either the “he” of the
verbal form, or the word “spirit” in the text.

C. The next word is, the spirit, and since it is a neuter noun, the nominative
case (subject) and the accusative case (direct object) occur in the same form.
The word is identified by the relative clause that accompanies it, however, the
meaning and function of the word in the sentence is not so easily determined.

D. The grammar allows for both CHOICE #1 and CHOICE #2. Thus, the ambiguity,
and therefore, the difficulty, in the actual details of interpretation, and
of course, the differences in the published translations.

The two translation options under CHOICE #1, teach the principle that God desires
uncompromised devotion and unconditional faithfulness to Him.
I prefer this choice because it has the positive factor of having DIRECT
reference to many Old Testament passages. Choice #2 does not.
Both translation options here are viable, but I prefer the first one with “He”
(God) being the subject.
The one possibility under CHOICE #2, teaches that man has a natural tendency
toward independence from God. While this is an accurate teaching, I don’t see it
as what James really has in mind. However, whichever of the two choices one
accepts, the MAIN IDEA is still preserved, which elicits uncompromising devotion
to God.

7. Next, is the relative clause, “whom He has made to dwell within us.” The verb is katoikidzo, which means to make or cause to dwell, and occurs only here in the New Testament (and two times in the Shepherd of Hermas; mandates 3:1; similitudes 5:6). It occurs as an aorist active indicative, which indicates that the subject (the HE within the verbal form), God, is the one who caused this spirit to dwell within us.

A. The SPIRIT in view here could refer to the Holy Spirit, Who has indeed been
made to dwell within the heart of every believer from the moment of salvation
(2 Cor. 1:22; 5:5; 1 Cor. 6:19; 12:13). However, it should be observed that
James does not mention the Holy Spirit elsewhere in the letter, but does in fact
refer to the human spirit as existing in the body at verse 2:26. At the same
time, that does not mean that the Holy Spirit is not in view, for the reality
of His indwelling was certainly a major understanding of the early church.
In addition, the Spirit as the subject best lines up with the REASON for
referring to what the Old Testament says concerning this issue. That is, the
several times where it is stated that God is a jealous God.
Exod. 20:5; Exod. 34:14; Deut. 4:24; Deut. 5:9; Deut. 6:15; Josh. 24:19

B. It could also refer to the human spirit which God has given to every member
of the human race, however, the scripture does not really view this as something
that God “has caused to dwell within,” although, as CREATOR, he is the One who
causes or allows it to happen. Hebrews 12:9 talks about the
Father of our (the) spirits, which indicates origin in general, and would
fulfill the “caused to dwell in us,” issue. In this case, the human spirit could
be ether the subject or the object of the verb, desire.

C. Accordingly, it could read, “He (God) strongly desires to the point of
possessiveness, the (human) spirit that he has made to dwell in us.”
1. In this case, God desires the undistracted devotion of our human spirit
as we dedicate ourselves to the pursuit and application of truth.

2. This can be supported by 2 Corinthians 7:1, where we are exhorted to
“cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh (physical compromise) and
spirit (mental compromise) by perfecting (bringing to completion) holiness -
in the sphere of reverence toward God.”

3. It is also supported by the fact that James does not refer to the Holy
Spirit anywhere in this letter, but does refer to the human spirit one time,
at verse 2:26.

4. Further support for God (or rather HE) as the subject, can be seen by the
use of the pronouns in the whole construction.
At verse 4, we have the focus on God, and then in verses 5-6, we have three
verbs in the 3rd person singular, without a stated subject, and reason would
suggest that the subject is God. Ie, God (he) desires; God (he) made to dwell
in us; God (he) gives greater grace. Accordingly, the object of God’s desire
would be the undistracted devotion of our human spirit rather than a desire
toward the Holy Spirit.
5. As mentioned above, this is the choice I prefer, although it is nothing to
be dogmatic about.

D. If we view the word spirit as referring to the Holy Spirit, then it could
read, “The Spirit (Holy Spirit), which (whom) He has made to dwell within us,
strongly desires (us) to the point (degree or quality) of possessiveness.”

This would be my second preference, but as indicated above, the flow of ideas
with “HE” as the subject of the verbs in view seems to be the better option.

E. Some translations suggest that God is strongly desiring the Holy Spirit Who
is inside, but as previously mentioned, this is unreasonable, as there is no
need for God to be jealously desiring the Holy Spirit, since the Holy Spirit
does not stray from conformity to the standards of the Godhead.

F. A third possibility is to make the human spirit the subject of the verb and
see it as having strong desires to the point of envy, which is what James
mentioned in verse 2, with the word, zeloo, and then correlated it with the idea
of friendship with the world. However, this requires us to use the word, pneuma,
for the sin nature, because the human spirit in and of itself does not have such
negative desires, unless controlled by the sin nature.

G. There is an Old Testament use for the word spirit (ruach) that indicates
an influence or force (Isaiah 19:14; 28:6; 29:10; Hosea 4:12), but this is
rare and does not appear in the Greek of the New Testament. If this were in
view here, it would refer to the influence or force of the sin nature and be
a valid use of the word. However, this is not a strong choice.


1. The Spirit Whom He made to dwell in us jealously desires (us).
(desires to the point of possessive jealousy)
A. Pros:
1. Comes closest to the idea that God is a jealous God.
2. Preserves the idea that it is the Holy Spirit whom God has made
to dwell in us.

B. Cons:
1. James does not mention the Holy Spirit elsewhere in the letter.
2. Even in the Old Testament, it is not the Spirit that is described
as a jealous God.
3. To make “spirit” the subject makes the flow of ideas in the sentence
4. There are 3 verbs in the context, and the flow of thought suggests that
“He” is the subject in each case.

2. He jealously desires the spirit He has made to dwell in us.
A. Pros:
1. The pronoun in the verb form fits better as a subject.
2. The human spirit as being in the body, was previously
mentioned at verse 2:26.
3. The flow of thought is more orderly.
4. As the object of God’s jealousy, the human spirit needs to be cleansed
from compromise (2 Cor. 7:1).

B. Cons:
1. The human spirit has never been described as something that
God CAUSES to dwell within us. But that can be cancelled by the fact
that God is called the “father of the (our) spirits” at Hebrews 12:9.

3. The spirit which He has caused to dwell within us, desires to the point of envy.
A. Pros:
Follows up on the issues of pleasure lust in the previous verses.

B. Cons:
1. The human spirit has never been described as something that
God CAUSES to dwell within us. However, compare with Hebrews 12:9.
2. To make “spirit” the subject makes the flow of ideas in the sentence
4. There are 3 verbs in the context, and the flow of thought suggests that
“He” is the subject in each case.
5. There is no correlation to an Old Testament reference.

4. He jealously desires the Spirit Whom He has made to dwell in us.
A. Pros:
1. Keeps the pronominal form of the verb as the subject.
2. Preserves the idea that it is the Holy Spirit whom God has made
to dwell in us.

B. Cons:
There is no need for God to possessively desire the Holy Spirit, for
He does not stray from total conformity to the standards of the Godhead.

Verse 5, Translation:
“Or do you presume that the Scripture speaks in vain, ‘He jealously desires the spirit which He has made to dwell within us.”

Verse 6
Grace provision from God in order to conform to the demands of a jealous God.
Ie, to resist the attraction of the world; the subtle pleasures of sin.
1. BUT: this is the transitional particle, de. It can be rendered, now, and, but.
It usually communicates a smooth transition but sometimes abrupt to indicate
a contrast. In verse 5, we have a negative factor in the believer’s life that
indicates he has a need. Ie, God is jealously possessive, and demands
faithfulness from his people. The translation, “but” indicates a factor
different from the thought of verse 5, and introduces a factor that will enable
the believer to meet the demands of God stated in that verse.

2. He gives: This is a present active indicative of didomi, and indicates the ever present provision from God that enables the believer to keep focused on the divine priority of life, and maintain sinless consistency.

3. greater grace: grace (charis) in general, refers to all that God does in order to reach out to both unbeliever (salvation provision) and believer (Christian living provision) in order to draw them closer to Himself.
SEE TOPIC: Grace Provision
A. The comparative adjective, greater, communicates a superior quality of
resources to offset the pseudo-attractiveness of the world.
B. It recognizes that the world does indeed attract the believer (Heb. 11:25)
and deceives the believer (Heb. 3:13), but God provides something that is
more attractive and more beneficial.
C. Since the key to victory is volition, the power factor revolves around what
has greater value and attraction to the believer - NOT on God who actively
destroys the enemy.
1. John teaches us that “greater is He who is in you than he who is in the
world,” (1 John 4:4).
2. Paul tells us that “God has given us a spirit of POWER,” (2 Tim. 1:7).
3. And that our weapons are “powerful in God,” (2 Cor. 10:4).
4. And that we are to be “powerful in the Lord and in the strength of His
might,” (Eph. 6:10).
5. And that we can learn what is “the surpassing magnitude of His power,”
(Eph. 1:19).
E. But, as can be seen, the onus is always on the believer to accept God’s
authority and access the power provisions for victory through growth and

4. Therefore it says: James quotes Proverbs 3:34 from the LXX (septuagint) to indicate not only God’s opposition to the proud, but also the basis for accessing God’s grace provisions.

5. God is opposed: The verb, antitasso, as a present middle indicative, indicates God’s inherent and absolute attitude toward those who act independently
of Him. Tasso means to set or place something in a fixed spot. The middle voice indicates that the subject acts upon himself and thus, places himself in a fixed position. The preposition, anti, means against, and together indicates opposition to. Ie, God places himself in a fixed position against the proud.

6. The proud: the noun, huperephanos, refers to someone who shines himself beyond what is proper for him to do. This word is built from the verb phaino, which means to shine or appear. The preposition, huper, means above, or beyond is added at the front. Together it communicates the idea of appearing or even actively shining, beyond or greater than what is right and proper. It thus, easily becomes a word for personal pride and arrogance that elevates self above the standards of God, and acts independently from God.

7. But He gives grace: grace describes in general the divine provisions for living the Christian life, and to experience sinless consistency.

8. to the humble: the word tapeinos, indicates the attitude that recognizes God’s authority and submits to it. Only such a one as this will be able to access the divine resources (Psalm 103:17). The reason is that the believer who is out of fellowship and not submissive to God’s authority and viewpoint, will be unreceptive to God’s grace and unable to comprehend that provision.

Accordingly (therefore), in verses 7-10, James lists 7 factors of volitional responsibility that result in spiritual consistency and spiritual prosperity.

Verse 7
1. Therefore: This “therefore” takes us back to the provision of grace, and indicates what is required in order to benefit from God’s grace resources for resisting the attack from the darkness system. James next lists 7 mandates for maintaining fellowship with God and cultivating friendship with Him.

Each of these 7 mandates are given as an aorist imperative to indicate the principle of volitional responsibility. The aorist tenses also provides us with a syntactical division that allows us to view these 7 as a group. Then, within the group of 7, there is a subgroup of 4 mandates (verse 9) that should be grouped as one because of the similarity of language.

The first mandate reflects CREATURE humility or authority humility, and the last one is functional humility. The 5 in between are specific details that fulfill what true humility is all about. Then in verses 4:11 through 5:12, James uses the present tense to introduce personal application to his readers.

This is a command to fulfill AUTHORITY HUMILITY
This is an aorist passive imperative of hupotasso. The verb means to place something in a fixed position. The preposition, hupo, means under, and together it means to place oneself in a position of total subordination to a particular sphere of authority. The passive voice is used to indicate the passivity of the action, that is, the responsive activity of accepting the viewpoint and the policy of the particular authority structure that is in view. This is the standard word for such submission, and is used for all the valid moral and social relationships of human interaction (Ephesians 5:21).
Wives to husbands: Eph. 5:22-33; Col. 3:18; 1 Peter 3:1
Children to parents: Eph. 6:1; Col. 3:20 (indirectly)
Servants to masters: Eph. 6:5-8; Col. 3:22-25; 1 Peter 2:18
Citizens to government: 1 Peter 2:13-14
Congregation to elders: 1 Peter 5:5

It is a word that expresses the dominant issue in humility - the FEAR of (respect for) the Lord. True humility recognizes and accepts the fact that God is the absolute authority in the universe, and as such, His viewpoint and policy - not only has jurisdiction over one’s life - but is indeed, the viewpoint and policy that is right and proper for one’s life.

Submission to God recognizes that Divine authority extends into every area of life and supercedes all other sources of authority and viewpoint. It is a mental attitude commitment to God’s viewpoint and policy based on humility, that then desires to put that humility into action in every area of life. The aorist imperative indicates the principle of volitional responsibility - not only for recovery, but also for maintenance in one’s spiritual life.

This is a command to fulfill VIEWPOINT HUMILITY

The first issue in acceptance of God’s spiritual authority is rejection of all authorities and viewpoints that are in opposition to God. Paul tells us that “there are many lords and many gods” (1 Cor. 8:5), but in reality there is really ONLY ONE.
The verb here, is anthistemi, as an aorist active imperative, and means to stand against. It communicates resistance against temptation. The devil, of course, is the spiritual being who “prowls about as a roaring lion seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). But even though he is our enemy, he cannot get into our minds except through suggestion from outside agents.
However, it is important to understand that this IDEA of resisting the devil refers primarily to the PRINCIPLE of resisting EVIL, for the devil is not an “all-present” being and cannot be attacking all believers all the time. The same goes for his demon assistants (fallen angels) who are limited in time and space. Most of the darkness viewpoint originated with Satan and has been promoted in the human race through him and his demon angels, but the PERSONAL attack of these evil beings is rarely experienced by individual believers. Again, it is the suggestions and temptations that come from the PRINCIPLE of darkness that attack the believer.

The power of these suggestions or temptations revolves around the sin nature and the three areas of self-centeredness outlined at 1 John 2:16 (the lust of the body, the lust of the eyes, and the arrogance of life).
In other words, the temptations and the sin nature have an affinity that makes the temptations attractive and hard to resist.

Religious and moral people can resist certain categories of sin based on personal strengths, but it is always done by conceding to some other category of sin (usually pride). That is why successful resistance is accomplished only through application of the divine value system and the dynamic of that value system, which is LOVE.
For us in the church age, such resistance goes hand in hand with the filling/guidance of the Holy Spirit. His indwelling presence provides a counter influence against the sin nature so that as long as He is in control, it is impossible for the believer to sin (1 John 3:6-9; Gal. 5:16). Or more specifically, as long as the believer chooses to let the word of God govern his soul, he will not sin.
But the influence from the world, the sin nature and the devil is still present, and the believer can be deceived into acting independently from God and to therefore quench the Spirit’s control.
The ultimate factor in temptation is the lust of the sin nature as was previously studied at James 1:13-15. Thus, while we certainly need to be knowledgeable about Satan’s devices (2 Cor. 2:11), the battle is really waged on the inside - in the soul - and that is where we win or lose.
The means by which we resist the devil is through the standards of THE faith (1 Peter 5:9); the revealed word of God. These standards of moral and spiritual righteousness, are weapons of warfare that are powerful in God for the destruction of the ideological fortresses of the darkness system (2 Cor. 10:4). Paul describes these weapons as the armor of God at Ephesians 6:10-17, and focuses on the dynamics of spiritual victory using the imagery of physical armor.
See Topic: The armor of God

The statement, “he will flee from you,” is a promise of victory and relief. When we use our spiritual weapons to offset the attack of Satan, he will cease his attack in defeat and leave us alone - at least, until the next time. It needs to be understood that when we use God’s truth - the royal law of love - as our barrage against Satan’s attacks, he is unable to break through and defeat us.
The application of this, in view of Satan’s physical limitations, is that when we apply the truths of God’s viewpoint, the attack of DARKNESS viewpoint is repulsed - whether it be from an actual evil being, or simply from the evil viewpoint that fills the world (which is usually the case).

In that first initial FORMAL attack of Satan on the person of Christ (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13), Jesus resisted by using the word of God (“it is written”), and the devil finally had to depart in defeat - even though it was only until a later time (Luke 4:13) when he would bring other outside factors into his game plan.

We also need to remember that even though we might win the present victory, and “Satan” flees, he is still going to use his extensive G-2 (spy) system (fallen angels) to keep an eye on the believers who are honoring God. These, he will continually oppress, seeking to ruin their spiritual testimony and impact. He will also attack us indirectly by continually criticizing and accusing us before the Father (Rev. 12:10).
Another important factor is to understand that Satan is little concerned about the believer who is out of fellowship and already spiritually neutralized. Such as these are under the authority of the sin nature and are fighting against God without any assistance from Satan (Rom. 6:12-13; James 4:4).

MANDATE #3: Draw Near
This is a command to fulfill FELLOWSHIP HUMILITY

Verse 8a
1. The word is engidzo as an aorist active imperative. It advances on submission (mandate #1) by focusing on desire for fellowship with God. Fellowship is an experience of intimacy with God that communes with Him by using the standards of His revealed truth.
A. God is light and in Him is not darkness at all (1 John 1:5)
B. For us to have fellowship with God, we also need to be light.
That is, we need to have compatibility with God.
C. Through belief in Christ as savior, we gain that compatibility.
1. We are given everlasting life (1 John 5:11-12).
2. We receive forgiveness of all our sins (Ephesians 1:7).
3. We are declared as RIGHTEOUS in God’s sight (Romans 4:5).
4. We are reconciled to God (Romans 5:1, 10-11).
5. We become a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).
6. It is identified as "light in the Lord," (Ephesians 5:8).
7. And our new relationship is described as "sons of light."
John 12:36; 1 Thessalonians 5:5
D. Accordingly, the believer is now qualified to have fellowship with
God (1 Cor. 1:7); that is to be near to God.
E. However, because we still have a sin nature, which is the natural
inclination to think and act independently from God, we have the
potential to live experientially in darkness and out of fellowship
with God (1 John 1:6). To live in the sphere of darkness viewpoint
is to operate according to human good (dead works) instead of
divine policy.
F. Thus the mandate to walk in the light (Eph. 5:8; Rom. 13:11-14).
G. Drawing near to God expresses the desire to adjust to light
1. It is based on response to God’s authority (submission) and
resisting evil.
2. The following mandates give the mechanics for this adjustment.
a. Cleanse your hands: confession of sin for fellowship
b. Purify your hearts: Learn God’s standards of truth
c. Be miserable, etc.: balance details of life
d. Humble yourselves: balance self-needs with God’s plan
H. At Hebrews 10:19-22, we have the same exhortation given along with
the background information for the mandate.
1. Verse 19: since we have confidence for entrance:
Since we have salvation through faith.
2. Verse 20: through the sacrifice of Jesus
Faith in and because of the work of Christ on the cross.
3. Verse 21: And since He is a functional high priest for us.
Since He provides us with SUPPORT and ENCOURAGEMENT.
4. Verse 22: Let us draw near . . . (pursue fellowship)
a. with a TRUE HEART (genuine desire to adjust to God’s
b. in full assurance of faith (confidence in God’s plan)
c. Having had our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience.
This refers to viewpoint purity concerning
faith vs. works (Hebrews 9:14). In other words, having
learned God’s standards concerning Christian living.
d. And our bodies washed with pure water: this is a
forgiveness of sin issue, which was fully achieved at the
moment of faith (Ephesians 1:7).
5. In other words, since we are in relationship with God, let us
advance into the sphere of functional fellowship with Him.
This is what Paul expressed by his commands at Col. 3:1-2.
"Keep seeking the things above," and "be thinking about the things above."
This occupation with the things of God will result in reciprocal rapport and fellowship, which is expressed by "He will draw near to you."

2. and He will draw near to you: Again, the verb engidzo, but now as a future active indicative. This indicates the immediate and reciprocal FELLOWSHIP that is established between the believer and God when that believer approaches God on God's terms. Ie, according to the standards of divine viewpoint.
A. First we have authority adjustment to God via submission.
B. Then we have viewpoint adjustment to God via resistance.
C. Then we have the reality of mutual fellowship, as is described
at 1 John 1:7.
“But if we walk in the light as He is in the light,
we have fellowship with one another (us and God)."
D. Walking in the light fulfills the desire to draw near to God with
both submission and resisting being a present reality, and
experiencing sinless consistency.
E. We also have at 1 John 1:7, the BASIS for experiencing fellowship
with God in the phrase, "and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son
continually cleanses us from all sin."
1. Because all sins were paid for by Christ's sacrifice on the
cross, The believer has everlasting forgiveness and release from
the penalty of sin (Ephesians 1:7).
2. Because of that release, any future sins cannot remove the
believer's salvation status with God. However, any sin will
break fellowship with God.
3. But because the sin was paid for, all the believer needs to do
is confess it to the Father (lJohn 1:9) to be restored to
4. The believer does not need to “get born again - again.”
He is in the family of God forever.
5. Thus, the provision for the believer to walk in the light; in
fellowship with God, is based on the continuous coverage of sin
by the spiritual sacrifice of Christ on the cross.


4. Hindrances to drawing near to God are human viewpoint, sin and distractions that come from the details of life. The next 3 mandates deal with These hindrances.
A. The double-souled person, being divided and compromised by human
viewpoint and/or false doctrine is unable to have consistent
fellowship with God. Hebrews 12:1, encumbrance
B. The believer who is actively involved with sin is unable to have
fellowship with God. Hebrews 12:1, sin (Isaiah 59:2)
C. The details of life can so fill up the believer's life that he is
more concerned with his material things than with fulfilling the
requirements for experiencing mutual fellowship with God.

5. Finally, the 7th mandate pulls it all together by relating the 6 previous mandates to the issue of total humility toward God.

MANDATE #4: Cleanse
This is a command to REMOVE sin from the life through Confession of sin via 1 John 1:9 as an expression of Fellowship Humility.
James 4:8b
1. You sinners: this is addressed to believers who are OUT OF FELLOWSHIP most of the time. They are continually beset by character flaws and old habits that the sin nature uses to keep them spiritually neutralized.
The details of this factor should be clear from the study of the doctrine of fellowship referenced above.

2. Cleanse your hands: This is an aorist active imperative of katharidzo, which means to make clean. The picture is that the hands are DIRTY because sin is in the life. Although the word, HANDS, implies OVERT sins, in actuality, ALL sins are in view. It is not just the overt life that keeps the believer out of fellowship, but also, and in fact, primarily, the mental life. All sin begins with what you think. If the mental sin is not DEALT WITH through confession of the sin to God, then it usually will lead to verbal or outward sin. There are no degrees of sin in God’s eyes (Proverbs 6:16-19), but mental sin is ALWAYS private, whereas verbal and outward sin usually involves other people. This intensifies the harm that the sin causes TO OTHERS and may require communication with the person(s) harmed in addition to confession to the Father.

MANDATE #5: PURIFY the heart
This is a command to fulfill GROWTH HUMILITY in order to build viewpoint purity.
James 4:8c
It is impossible to maintain fellowship consistency with God when the soul is saturated with human viewpoint. Psalm 119:11 states the concept that “your word I have stockpiled in my heart so that I might not sin against you.” This has been discussed in great detail earlier in James, but he is inspired here to emphasize it yet again. It is imperative to observe that the desire to DRAW NEAR to God as a natural extension of SUBMITTING to God, requires A CHANGE OF CHARACTER, which requires a renovation of the knowledge content in the soul.
1. You double minded: This is the same word that occurs at verse 1:18, and should be translated, double-souled. It indicates that there is conflict with the standards in the soul. There is divine viewpoint and human viewpoint vying for control, and most of the time, it is the human viewpoint that wins. Thus, once again, the command to GROW through the intake of God’s word. Learning Bible Truth is the only way to weed out the darkness viewpoint that the believer brought with him when he joined the family of God, as well as the additional darkness viewpoint that he picks up from others after salvation.
2. Purify your hearts: the verb, hagnidzo, is another aorist active imperative, which, as a reminder, is emphasizing the immediate action that is required in order to escape the forces that detract from friendship with God.
The heart is the mentality of the soul.
Purify indicates a CHANGE OF CONTENT.
It is the RENEWING of the mind as at Romans 12:2 and Ephesians 4:25.
This would be a good place to review the doctrine of Spiritual Growth as studied earlier in the book.

This is a cluster of commands to fulfill DETAIL OF LIFE HUMILITY in order to provide balance so that the believer is not neutralized by friendship with the world.
James 4:9
There are FIVE commanded actions in verse 9 which all relate to the same issue of holding to a friendship with the world. All five of these commands are hyperbolic in nature and focus on two issues. The first issue is to tell the believer who is occupied with the things of this world, to express a GODLY SORROW toward his rebellion.

1. Be miserable: This is an aorist active imperative of TALAIPOREO and means to be miserable. It exhorts the believer to recognize the severity and pain of his rebellion.
2. and mourn: The verb, PENTHEO means to express sorrow. Here it refers to sorrow for sin coupled with awareness of divine justice which leads to repentance from rebellion.
3. and weep: The verb KLAIO is used to express total helplessness and dependence on God.

The second issue is for the believer to step away from the world and STOP making the JOYS of friendship with the world the most important things in his life. Good background to this is what Paul wrote at 1 Corinthians 7:29-31.
“But this I say, brethren, the time has been shortened, so that from now on those who have wives should be as though they had none;
and those who weep, as though they did not weep; and those who rejoice, as though they did not rejoice; and those who buy, as though they did not possess; and those who use the world, as though they did not make full use of it; for the form of this world is passing away.”

Because of the intensified stage of the angelic conflict, there is an urgency for the believer to pursue truth and live truth. This is reflected by such phrases as, “the time has been shortened” and “the days are evil” (Eph. 5:16), and “knowing the time” (Rom. 13:11).
Because Satan was strategically defeated on the cross by the death and subsequent resurrection of Christ, his efforts to defeat God have been intensified from the resurrection until the present time.
See Topics: Angelic conflict
and Angelic Conflict: intensification

Although participation in the things of this world are not prohibited to the believer, many are exhorted to forego various activities in order to spend more quality time learning and promoting truth in the world.
Thus, in principle, SOME who are married should limit participation in many of the privileges of marriage in order to serve God.
Likewise, many who are distracted by the sorrows (weep) and joys (rejoice) of this life should begin to live above those things. Thus, a minimum participation in the economic system of the world is encouraged because the various LOSSES and GAINS in the world system are only things that distract the believer from more involvement with spiritual activities. However, Paul makes it clear that such CONCENTRATED service is not a command. The believer still has responsibilities in the world to spouse and children. Paul is only clarifying that adding a wife or husband to one’s life will bring an additional concern that will lessen one’s spiritual pursuits (verses 7:32-35).

This is exactly what James has in view in our passage.
He is exhorting the believer who is distracted excessively by various worldly activities to separate from them and not let them have paramount importance in his life. He is using hyperbole to emphasize the drastic change that needs to take place. The LAUGHTER and JOY in the verse represents an over-participation in the details of life. To communicate a reversal of that FRIENDSHIP with the world, James uses terms that indicate the opposite attitude.
1. mourning: This expresses a recognition of our inadequacy and of God’s sufficiency.

2. gloom: This expresses recognition of the consequences that come from the law of sowing and reaping.

However, as with Paul, James is speaking in principle and not encouraging a total rejection of participation in the world. In verses 13-17, he does not condemn various economic enterprises; he simply condemns the failure to do such things within the context of seeking God’s guidance. Paul tells us at 1 Timothy 6:17, that it is OK to be rich and participate in the things of this world because God has given them to us for ENJOYMENT. However, he also exhorts at the same time, that our confidence should be in God and not ourselves, and that we should be generous with our abundance.
To summarize, although this language seems to be confusing, it is really very simple. James is teaching us that if the things of this world are controlling us so that our LAUGHTER and JOY are more important than the pursuit of spiritual things, then that laughter and joy needs to be put into proper balance. To leave it out of balance is friendship with the world, which is enmity toward God.

MANDATE #7: HUMBLE yourselves
This is a command to fulfill FUNCTIONAL HUMILITY.
James 4:10
This is a summary command that embraces all the others. True humility means to see oneself as God sees you and to recognize that the ONLY way to function in life is to do it God’s way. That begins with AUTHORITY HUMILITY; Obedience Humility; Fellowship Humility; Growth Humility;
and Detail Humility.
1. Humble yourselves: The verb is tapeinoo as an aorist passive imperative, which gives it the force of BE HUMBLED. We don’t lose the focus by giving it a reflexive translation (humble yourselves) because the imperative mood is what makes this a personal volitional responsibility of the believer who wants to adjust to God on God’s terms. This command exhorts the reader to FULFILL the other mandates, and mentions the benefit of being promoted and honored under the umbrella of God’s justice.
2. and He will exalt you: the verb is hupsoo as a future active indicative to state the promise of spiritual promotion and honor when the believer follows the divine priority of life and promotes divine viewpoint in everything he does.
Peter records the same promise at 1 Peter 5:6 but adds a reference to the POWER of God (under the mighty hand of God) and mentions the principle of divine timing for the experience of promotion (in time).
We don’t have an example, other than these two passages, that reference the believer’s personal exaltation. We must therefore rely upon the context to determine what is meant by this exaltation. Is it exaltation here on earth or after the return of the Lord?
In both places, the writer quotes from Proverbs 3:34, which indicates that God will GIVE GRACE to the humble. Grace clearly, refers to all the provisions that the believer needs to live above the sinful pull of the world, the flesh and the devil. The EXALTATION is the status of VICTORY that comes only to the one who properly functions under the authority, viewpoint and policy of God. Peter tells us to TRUST God (casting all care upon Him) and to RESIST the devil, and THEN after a little temporal suffering of such dedication, the God of ALL GRACE will provide the 4 support GRACES mentioned at 1 Peter 5:10. It seems to me that the EXALTATION that God will bring to the believer is the CONDITION of VICTORY based on the humility of submission and obedience.
This same PROMISE OF VICTORY through consistent application of divine resources is seen in other places.
Romans 16:19b-20
“But I want you to be wise in what is good, and innocent in what is evil. And the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.”
2 Thessalonians 3:3-5
“But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil {one.} And we have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing and will {continue to} do what we command.
And may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ.”

True promotion only comes upon VICTORY over the forces of darkness, whether they be the sin nature within, or the devil without. Only as the believer consistently lives in the sphere of humility (submission and obedience to God’s authority, viewpoint and policy) will he remain abiding in Him; in fellowship with God; walking in the Spirit and in the light; and EXALTED OVER the enemy.

James 4:11 - 5:12 Personal application of HUMILITY
Verse 11
Do not speak against: This is a present active imperative of the verb, katalaleo. Kata means down or against, and laleo means to speak.
This command returns us to the crisis of verse one, where we find quarrels and conflicts among the various groups of believers. There needs to be a development of VERBAL HUMILITY.
Associated with such verbal abuse is the activity of JUDGING. This is a failure to maintain ATTITUDE HUMILITY. Such a one who speaks against or judges a fellow believer (brother) is violating the LAW OF LOVE, and in so doing, actually belittles and defames that law.
The word for judge is KRINO, which means to criticize, or evaluate. Judging in and of itself is not wrong. It is the STANDARD that one uses as his measurement in judging that determines the quality of judging.
Jesus taught us at John 7:24, “do not JUDGE according to the standard of appearance, but JUDGE with a righteous standard of judgment.”
The judgment that is in view here is a self-righteous, self-promoting criticism of other believers that elevates SELF as superior to others and indeed, as THE example of what is right and proper for Christian living. James strongly rebukes this and appeals to the LAW OF LOVE as the only righteous standard for Christian living.
The LAW that is in view here is NOT the Mosaic law, but the same law that has already been mentioned, and discussed at verse 1:25 (the complete law of liberty) and at verse 2:8 (the royal law of love). Paul tells us that “love does no harm to a neighbor; love therefore is the fulfillment of the law.” All that is embodied in the Ten Commandments finds its fulfillment in the LAW OF LOVE. Here, the abuse and judging of a fellow believer is counterproductive to the law of love and only engenders more quarrels and conflicts.
The Christian should be living as a DOER of the law of love and not a hearer only (v. 1:22-25), for when he fails to DO, or practice LOVE, he sets himself up as a CRITIC (judge) of the law of love. Any such rejection of God’s policy for Christian living (love) indicates a friendship with the world; selfishness, envy and a total occupation with the pleasure lusts of the world (v. 4:2-3). And of course, this sets that sinning believer up as a functional enemy of God (verse 4:4).
Verse 12
When this arrogant believer judges others and thus, rejects the law of love, he is setting himself up in opposition to the ONLY Lawgiver and Judge - God Himself.
This sinning believer is actually choosing in his own mind and through his verbal abuse and criticism, WHO is worthy to live and die. This is a strong accusation, but although the believer might not actually be THINKING of such a thing, by setting himself up as THE AUTHORITY, he is putting himself in the place of God, who ALONE “is able to deliver and to destroy.”
Thus, we have the final exhortation and rebuke, “Who are you who judge your neighbor?” See Topics: Judging and Judging: General principles

Paul teaches a great deal about this at Romans 14:1 - 15:7 and 1 Corinthians 8 and 10.
All of these passages should be studied to fully understand all that the Bible teaches about judging.

Verses 13-15
Divine authority in the believer’s economic pursuits
Verse 13, Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow, we shall go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.”

This introduces the first of two "come now" exhortations found only here in the New Testament.

Come now: This is a Hebrew expression that exhorts the hearer to a positive action or what is perceived to be a positive action (Ec. 2:1). It is found five places in the Old Testament, and quoted once in Acts. James uses it two times to exhort his readers away from errant behavior and toward the proper attitude and action.
Here, the positive attitude is to concede to God’s
sovereignty before making major decisions in your
life. At James 5:1, the positive attitude is patience in the face of undeserved suffering.

This addresses the Materialistic Arrogant believer.
This is the believer who has taken it upon himself to make financial decisions independent from CONSIDERATION of the desire and plan of God for his life. Humility recognizes that everything the believer has is because of God’s permissive or active will. That is, God either allows or causes circumstances to play out in our life. However, God does not directly impose upon the volition of the believer - or any of His volitional creatures, for that matter. God DIRECTS but does not force; He SUGGESTS but does not coerce; He PLEADS but does not impel. The believer ever CHOOSES to follow God’s truths or to not follow them. The consequences, whether they be applied (divine discipline from God) or natural (principle of cause and effect), will always be in place and should encourage the believer to follow truth.

Verse 14, Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are {just} a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.

Of course, we have no knowledge of the specific time scheme of God’s plan for us here on earth. He might let us live for many more years, or allow us to die because our “job” is finished. Sometimes, God will even employ physical death as the final stage of divine discipline for those believers who persist in not following God.
See Topic: Divine Discipline

Verse 15, Instead, {you ought} to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and also do this or that.”

The believer with the proper attitude of humility recognizes the personal involvement of God in our lives and will make decisions through PRAYER and APPLICATION of divine viewpoint. Such an attitude recognizes that our very LIFE depends on God’s specific plan for us here on earth.

As we make financial plans, we should always accede to God’s claim on our life and realize that IF HE WILLS, we will pursue our chosen endeavors.
Although it was not a financial endeavor, Paul’s desire to visit Rome gives us a great illustration of depending on God for guidance in one’s travel plans. Romans 1:10-13
“always in my prayers making request, if perhaps now at last by the will of God I may succeed in coming to you.
For I long to see you in order that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established; that is, that I may be encouraged together with you {while} among you, each of us by the other’s faith, both yours and mine.
And I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that often I have planned to come to you (and have been prevented thus far) in order that I might obtain some fruit among you also, even as among the rest of the Gentiles.”

Verse 16, But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil.
To plan and act without considering God’s will for your life is to live independently from Him and function in arrogant PRESUMPTION. Such PRESUMPTION is the attitude that places SELF above all others, including God. It is a PRETENSION or DELUSION of control and authority. Thus, SELF determines the viewpoint and policy that has jurisdiction over him. The person becomes “a law unto himself” and cares little how his actions line up with God’s standards or how they affect others. The word for arrogance is ALADZONEIA and is listed as one of the three WORLD PHILOSOPHIES at 1 John 2:16; “the arrogant pride of life.”
See topic: pride
This arrogant presumption and the resultant action of boasting are EVIL in God’s sight. The word that is used for EVIL here is PONEROS, which refers to an aggressive and intrusively infectious attitude and action; an all consuming viewpoint that seeks to spread and conquer.
The other word for evil, is KAKOS, and means simply HARM, or causing harm. It is not a bad word in and of itself, for it is used even of God. However, PONEROS is much more intense and refers to an attitude that seeks to undermine the very character and plan of God.

Verse 17, Therefore, to one who knows {the} right thing to do, and does not do it, to him it is sin.

The word, THEREFORE, introduces the concept of EXCLUSIONARY sins.
In this context, such a sin is not simply a failure to do what is the right thing to do, but clearly focuses on the ATTITUDE behind the exclusion. The failure to consciously appeal to Divine sovereignty is not in and of itself, a sin. One can function in humility without having at every single moment a conscious mental reference to God. One can partake of food, with a GRACE attitude of thanks to God without consciously PRAYING every time. What James is writing about is the ATTITUDE of creature arrogance that elevates SELF above any NEED to acknowledge God. In other words, to FORGET to say a prayer of thanksgiving does not mean the believer is not thankful. However, to live with an attitude of indifference to God that is NOT THANKFUL or COGNIZANT of His character and plan - and in the sphere of that attitude, to “refuse” to mentally and/or verbally acknowledge His love and grace - this is arrogant rebellion and is sin.
So the issue here is not a sin that gets the believer out of fellowship with God, for with his attitude of boastful arrogance, he is already out of fellowship. The issue is the perpetuation of sin that needs to be dealt with in order to get back in balance with the Divine Value System.
The subtle attack on the believer is that as he goes about his normal economic routine, he has a tendency to leave God out of the equation. Again, this is not talking about a simple oversight, but a consistent attitude of arrogant independence from God and from His value system that helps keep our decisions in line with LIGHT standards.
In the next section, chapter 5:1-6, James addresses indirectly, the unbeliever who has oppressed others in his violent pursuit of happiness, through which he has cheated and physically harmed others in society.





©Ron Wallace, http://www.biblefragrances.com. Anyone is free to reproduce this material and distribute it,
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