James 4:7-12


James 4:7-10

The Remedy for Worldliness

1&2. To live life submitted to God means submission to his word, knowing his laws, submitting to all in authority (parents, government, elders, boss) and denying self. It also includes acceptance of affliction, chastisement and discipline from his hand.

  1. We resist the devil by having fellowship with God in dependent prayer and watchfulness (Matt.26:41, Ps.16:8). This includes relying upon his word and claiming his promises (Matt.4, I Cor.10:31). We also must be ruthless with our old man of flesh and sin and kill him by cutting off the sinful thought (Matt.5:28-30). If we do this the temptation will be overcome and Satan will flee, otherwise he gets a foothold (James 1:14-15). Remembering the cross and being able and willing to testify of Christ also brings victory especially against Satan’s accusations (Rev.12:11). By Christ’s strength we overcome him.
  2. We believe God initiates everything in the Christian life from our initially being drawn irresistibly to him (John 6:44) and all on-going conversion, spiritual activity and good works thereafter. He causes us by grace to approach him (Song of Solomon 1:4, Psalm 73:28, Heb.10:22) this we do by coming to him in the fellowship of the word, prayer and public worship and there he draws near to us.
  3. The washing of our hands reminds us of the initial whole body wash that the priests needed (Ex.40:12,31, 30:19-20, Lev.8:6, 16:4) and their regular hand and feet washing as they started their duties in the tabernacle. The New Testament equivalent was and is Christ’s washing of his disciples’ feet in John 13:10. This represents our on-going confession and cleansing of sin (I John 1:9). The heart is the motivational centre of our being and we are told to cleanse ours by making God’s glory our only aim and abandoning all sinful ambition and desire.
  4. Double-mindedness is the condition of clinging on to un-confessed sin or worldliness while purporting to follow Christ. Confession and true repentance is the only remedy (Ps.66:18).
  5. The mourning and weeping mentioned by James must be that for sin because it is the sole Biblical reason for it (apart from a death of someone near and dear). Matt.5:4, Ps.30:5, 38:6, II Cor.7:9.
  6. Why should our laughter be changed? Because if it is light-hearted banter concealing sin it needs to change into true sorrow for sin.
  7. True humility is borne of recognising our creature hood, depending upon God for everything, our sinfulness needing continual forgiveness and our gracious sainthood and adoption. These will lead to our contentment in all circumstances.
  8. The result of humility is God’s gracious uplifting which may be earthly and providential e.g. Joseph or spiritual joy and sense of privilege e.g. Daniel (10:10-11), Ps.3:3, 30:1, 102:10.

Next study (DV) December 3rd James 4:13-5:3.




James 4:11-12

Judging the Brother

  1. To slander means to tell lies or spread rumours about a brother who is absent. It may even be telling the truth that should be kept private and brought up with the individual concerned. It is not the righteous judgment of false doctrine or serious sin which ought to be admonished.
  2. This admonition is to all church members who may well have been guilty of this alongside their partiality.
  3. It means passing judgment falsely without proof or hypocritically (Matt.7:1-2) or condemning them, even doubting their salvation. The law is the moral law of God, the Ten Commandments and their exposition by Christ and in the New Testament.
  4. By judging the law is meant hypocritically breaking it by bearing false witness or setting yourself above it by adding to it like the uncharitable brother in Romans 14:3ff, both of which sins the Pharisees were guilty.
  5. God saves and condemns by his effectual call and irresistible grace on the one hand and his causing sickness, death and eternal judgment on the other (Is.66:24, Mark 9:44-45, I Cor.5:5).
  6. Ultimately God alone is fit to judge. Slander is the sin of bearing false witness (9th commandment). Hanko brings out the fact that Satan slanders God in many ways e.g. denying creation, lies about his character (Eve), convincing men that happiness is in things etc.

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