The Will of God
- James wants to emphatically draw attention to an attitude of pride and worldliness that is prevalent in all unbelievers and even some believers in which life is lived fulfilling all their plans and lusts without any recourse to God.
- Those who live independently of God are ignoring his sovereignty. They ought to say, “If the Lord wills” (D.V.=Deo Volente=God-willing in Latin). See Proverbs 27:1 and John 15:5 which is true physically and spiritually. We do not know what tomorrow will bring or how long we will live or what may befall us.
- Living like this forgets or denies God’s providence.
- James likens our lives to a breath of exhaled water vapour, as you see on a cold day when you breathe out. Both are very fleeting and leave nothing behind. Our lives will have little or no eternal significance unless we are involved in building God’s kingdom by laying up treasure in heaven (good works and giving) and building on the foundation of Christ gold (faith), silver (purity) and precious stones (other believers). Matt.6:20 and I Cor.3:12-14.
- The Lord’s will is two things. Firstly, in this context, it is his decree concerning our lives of which God alone knows the future details. Secondly God’s will is our sanctification (I Thess. 4:3), our conformity to Christ in salvation which is the purpose of everything in our lives.
- Folk like this boast and presume upon their ability instead of depending upon God and acknowledging him (Prov.3:5-6).
- We are responsible for obeying all God’s commands and to not do so is either a sin of commission or omission. Everyone has a conscience. Ignorance is no excuse though it may be a mitigating factor (Acts 17:30, I Tim.1:13, Rom.2:14-15). Teachers will be judged more strictly. The ultimate self reliance in a whole nation..
The Perils of Riches
- The rich whom James is addressing are all unbelievers either outside the church or inside (nominal hypocrites). We know this because everything they have is corrupted and they do evil even to the point of persecuting believers (v6).
- The three marks of worldly riches are:
- Unjust corrupt business practices (fraud)vv3-4
- Heaping up treasure (v3)
- Hedonistic selfish living (v5)
In probably every country in the world today there are corrupt politicians or leaders in business who are like this.They are to mourn because misery is coming. Note that miser and miserable are from the same Latin root meaning wretched!
4/5. Their miseries may well be the loss of their riches in this life and certainly their loss at death (Luke 12:21, 16:23, I Tim.6:9-10,17) and bad conscience and retribution in hell.
- The corrosion of their riches we think, is more the corrosion of their souls and the more they have, the more responsible they are to be thankful, and their condemnation will be greater for their misuse of all they had.
7.The last days are the age from Christ’s first to his second coming which we are in now. The rich are ignorant of the judgments coming and the end of the world.
Next Study (D.V.) Friday* December 23rd 8pm James 5:4-9.