THE EPISTLE OF JAMES
** A prerequisite to understanding this teaching and the type of study pattern used makes it necessary for you to first study The Epistle of James Chapter One. Please read at least the first three paragraphs of The Epistle of James Chapter One before proceeding.
1) HUMILITY 2) PRAYING AMISS
3) THE CONSEQUENCES OF JUDGING OTHERS.
4) THE CONSEQUENCES OF BEING FRIENDS WITH THE WORLD.
1, 2. From whence come wars [social quarrels] and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? 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.
Literal: What is the source of wars and fightings among you? Isn't it from your pleasures, (gratification and enjoyment), which war in your members? You lust or desire and have not. You murder and desire to equal or surpass -- you are emulous and yet you are not able to obtain your goals or acquire what you want. You fight, strive, and war but you have not because you ask not. This word 'ask' means to supplicate in a humble manner and expresses a petition from an inferior to a superior. ASK God in a serious and intense, determined manner to answer your prayers. We do not make demands of God. We ask and claim what is rightfully ours according to the Bible and then God will always answer our prayer/need. Simply ask God in a humble manner, earnestly, and seriously.
3. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
Literal: You ask but yet you don't receive because you ask with evil and wrong intentions such as intending to use the answered prayer to satisfy your own pleasures.
4, 5. 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. Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain? The spirit that dwelleth it in us lusteth to envy. [Note the exchange in the question mark and the period in verse 5. Remember, punctuation was added by man.]
Literal: You adulterers and adulteresses, don't you know that the love, affection and friendship of this world, of which man is the center, results in conflict and opposition to God? If you love this present world, you are at conflict with God. Whosoever therefore will be a friend, a loved one, of this world which is alienated from God, is actively opposite to and is the enemy of God. Do you think that the Scripture was written and speaks in vain? The soul life or natural life that dwells within us desires to be envious which is jealousy of another's success. Envy led to the first murder. The Interlinear interprets this verse differently. "With envy does the spirit long which took up his abode in us?" You should know that there is a devil spirit of envy which often takes up its abode in a man of body and soul. This spirit is deadly if allowed to control to its utmost. As you now know, it was envy that led to the very first murder when Cain slew his brother Abel. [See Genesis 4: 8]
6. But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith , God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
Literal: But He gives greater grace. Wherefore He says, God sets Himself in opposition to the proud and arrogant, but He gives grace (kindness or an inclination towards -- unmerited favor) to the lowly who are modest or humble in mind.
7, 8, 9, 10. Submit [addict] yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
Literal: Subject yourselves therefore to God. By your own free will, be under the authority of the Word of God and let it be your sole source of guidance in all (without exception) areas of your life.
I John 5: 21 -- Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.
You are to seek no help, guidance or instruction from any other source other than your Heavenly Father. Back to James . .
Literal (continued): Either in words or deeds or both, resist, stand against, withstand and oppose the devil and he will flee from you.
I Peter 5: 8 -- Be sober, be vigilant (watchful and awake); because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Back to James . . . .
Literal (completed): Be ready with the Word, not only in your mind, but in your actions. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands you sinners, missing the mark, disobedient to God's Word. Purify the innermost part of your being, your heart, you double-minded, or two-souled separated within yourself with indecision, strife and unbelief. Be afflicted and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to grief or mourning, and your gladness and joy to heaviness or dejection. Humble yourselves in the sight or presence of the Lord God Almighty and He shall exalt you -- He shall lift you up above all the negatives and anything that tries to defeat you. He will elevate you above it all.
But you must be humble in the sight or presence of God. Never demanding, proud, haughty or high-minded, boastful and clamorous. You must pray earnestly with joy but yet in a serious manner for truly praying to God for your needs is a serious matter. God is now teaching us about the shortcomings of many prayers and why they are not answered. God is also stressing the importance of being humble in contrast to being proud. Being a friend of the world and its consequences are also mentioned in this Chapter 4. God does not like heady or high-minded people who are arrogant in their ways, but in contrast it is better to be lowly and humble relying on God who will answer your prayers and bestow His favor or grace on you.
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.
Literal: Do not speak against one another in a hostile manner, brethren. He that speaks against another member of the human family and comes to a decision and judges or condemns others speaks against the Law of God and transgresses the Word by his own judgement or decision. But if you pass your own judgement or decisions concerning the Word of God, you are not a DOER, you make nothing happen, but you are a judge.
You become a hearer and not a doer passing judgement and making decisions or pronouncing final judgement concerning the Word. You think about it, you consider, but you never ACT ON THE WORD with believing and with no hesitation. This point relates back to the faith without works issue. It all ties in. Especially the above part about speaking against one another and what was previously studied concerning the tongue and how it is an unruly evil. Also, the part of God resisting the proud and giving grace to the humble. We are not to make decisions about the Word or pass judgement. We are to study, believe and act. God is saying that those who speak against the community of life (people), speaks evil or against what God says. He passes judgement on others and also on the Word. Do you think this type of person is proud and arrogant as described in the previous verses of this chapter? I would say it is safe to make that assumption. You are not to be this way. You are to train your mind, renew it to do and say what God's Word says. That is our guidance. God gave us our life. Do you think He knows how to live it to the fullest? When it comes to this subject area of judgement, REMEMBER, many things are better off left unsaid. Speak and think on Philippians 4: 8 and turn your back on carnal thoughts.
12. There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?
Literal: There is only one lawgiver who is able to save and to allow utter destruction. Who are you to pass judgement and reach decisions concerning others? Who are you to MAKE A DISTINCTION (be partial)?
Here is the teaching regarding partiality all jelling together with this subject of judgement. It is amazing how God ties all of these subjects together in James. It is not your job to pass judgement -- it's God's job. Mind your own business or face the consequences. God is speaking to you and to all believers in this great Epistle of James. Continue to make an effort and God will take care of all the other details in your life. Remember what you are studying. Don't just study for the sake of study.
13, 14, 15. 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: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.
Literal: Come now, you that say, today or tomorrow we will go into such a city and we will continue to work there for a year and buy and sell and come away with a profit. While on the contrary, you do not know what tomorrow will bring. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, like a breath of air being exhaled that appears for a little while and then disappears. Instead you should be saying and praying, "If it's God's Will, we shall live and do this or do that".
(The thought here is being continued from verse 13.) Instead of going to God with humbleness and asking Him what to do, we brag and boast about what we want to and will do. God comments on this in the next verse.
16. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.
Literal: But now you shoot off your mouth and boast about your false pretensions -- your false claims or allegations. In reality, you are boasting and bragging about being an imposter. How often have you boasted about what you will do or can do any time you felt like it? Why has it not come to pass? Because you have not been applying the Word of God to every application of your life. That is the important difference between mental ascent and actually believing the Word. You can learn this lesson in almost any area of your walk with God. A good example would be in 'studying'. Are you really studying like you study in areas of your career or school or do you think you are some great Christian because you go to church on Sunday or watch a TV preacher once in a while? At times this renewed mind process is not easy. Why? Because if you are breaking a bad habit that has been defeating you for year after year, you are going to get some pressure. This pressure is normal and you should rejoice in it because you know you are doing something right. Resist the devil and he will flee (take flight) from you. This does not necessarily happen immediately but it must happen.
Throughout the Bible, God mentions this subject about boasting, being evil.
I Corinthians 5: 6a -- Your glorying (loud-tongued, boasting, vaunting one's self) IS NOT GOOD. [emphasis added]
Literal: I Corinthians 5: 6a -- ALL SUCH GLORYING OR BOASTING IS actively evil and malicious causing pain and harm.
17. Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
Literal: Therefore to him that knows enough to do something good and beneficial and does not do this, he misses, fails, transgresses the Word of God -- he sins.
~ Remember to keep it simple and to watch your confessions. ~
PROVERBS 4: 24 -- Put away from thee a froward [ stubbornly contrary and disobedient ] mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.