Wars and Fightings
- James has in mind conflict within churches between individuals and factions. They would be the result of strife for position, slander and doctrinal factions. In context this would be commonplace among those of dead faith who used their tongue for evil and strove for earthly things.
- Lusts are inordinate desires for things, people or position, strong desire for what you may not have or what is contrary to the word of God. Lust of eyes is the desire to possess. Lust of the flesh is the desire to indulge. Pride of life is desire to impress, get self-glory, position or power (I John 2:15-16). The opposite of lusts is contentment and the assurance God will supply all our NEEDS (Phil. 4:19).
- Members means our physical body which is morally neutral but within which mind and body, the battle between flesh (old man) and Spirit (new man) rages (Rom.7:23, Gal.5:17).
- The lusts he is talking about are sinful because he says people pray wrongly to indulge them and they are not answered because they are to fulfil lust. It is surprising people pray so selfishly at all e.g. “health and wealth” charismatics. But even when we ask for things lawful God may say “no” e.g. Paul’s thorn. Praying wrongly or not praying at all belies not living in conscious dependence upon God and not asking according to his will (in Christ’s name).
- We looked at Hanko’s statement that the desire for pleasure is selfishness and concluded that this was true when the desire was to satisfy a lust BUT as believers God gives us many things, physical and spiritual to enjoy and find pleasure in e.g. marriage, food, sport, reading, and all spiritual blessings (Psalm 16:11).
- The killing in verse 2 is figurative and means hating because to hate in God’s eyes is murder.
- Coveting is wanting badly something or someone that belongs to someone else (Col. 3:5, Ex. 20:17). It is idolatry. It is usually something valuable e.g. wife, house, car, job, jewels.
- Those who ask do not receive because they ask for wrong motives, to consume it on their lust.
- They do not receive because God knows it would be destructive to them. Examples of wrong asking are Jonah and Elijah both asking to die and James and John asking for positions in heaven.
- Consuming something upon lusts means that even the getting of the desired thing does not profit the person, it is a fleeting pleasure (Heb.11:25). It does not satisfy (John 7:37-38) but rather brings guilt. Consume means squander or spend with nothing to show e.g. Prodigal Son, woman with issue (Mark.5:26). “Solid joys and lasting treasures none but Zion’s children know”—John Newton .John 4:4-6
Friendship with the World
- Spiritual adultery is whoring after an idol in the place of God c.f. Book of Hosea. This was characteristic of O.T. Israel who not only broke the first commandment but also violated the unbreakable marriage bond with God their true husband.
- “World“ here means the godless world of men and government apart from God that reigns on planet earth.
- Friendship with the world means wanting what Satan and men want and making them your favoured companions contrary to Psalm 1:1. 4/5. Enmity with God is inbuilt in all men who by nature will not have God rule over them and who love something else first and foremost (Eph.2:3, Rom.5:10). All men are by nature enemies of God and if they are not reconciled will perish everlastingly (Col.1:21). 6. The only possible quotation that fits the bill is Paul’s in Gal. 5:17 (see II Pet. 3:16) where Peter mentions Paul’s writings as Scripture that he must have read, and it is possible James had read Paul. 7/8. This is difficult. It could mean the spirit in the old man which lusts to envy (Gen.6:4, Eph.4:22, Jude 16, 18) even wanting what God has (Gen.3), but we came down in favour of it being the Holy Spirit who is said to dwell in us and whom we know desires strongly (lusts) to subdue and kill the old nature (Gal.5:17). 9/10. God giving grace is from Psalm 138:6 and Prov.3:34 repeated in I Peter 5:5 meaning he gives the desire and ability to obey and please him (Phil.2:13) by mortifying the deeds of the old man. 11. Pride is typical of a man who sets himself above others and even God, determining what is right and wrong. It is sinful self-sufficiency and living without any acknowledgment of God’s existence or right to rule. God resists and frustrates such people e.g. Haman, Nebuchadnezzar, Herod. 12. Grace is God’s beauty, favour and power to overcome sin and lead a godly life and the humble are those made so by God in regeneration (Matt.18:3,4).
Next Bible Study on James 4: 7-12 is scheduled for Saturday November 12th 8pm.