James 4:6

Saturday, 17 August 2019

But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:
God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.”
James 4:6

The difficulty of the previous verse is more surely resolved in the words of this verse. As was seen, it is highly debated if the “spirit” referred to in the previous verse was that of man, or if it was speaking of the Holy Spirit. As James is speaking to “brethren,” and as he is referring to “adulteresses,” which implies being in a covenant relationship (because one cannot be an adulteress otherwise), then the previous verse was surely referring to the Holy Spirit.

Having that clarified, James then says of God, “But he gives more grace.” The thought here is based on what he has said already. Because God is jealous, and because we are in a covenant relationship with Him which provokes that jealousy when we stray, one would expect His hand of stern discipline to come down upon us. But instead, because of His love for those who have come to Him, and in whom His Spirit dwells, He is willing to extend us grace when we redirect ourselves toward Him and away from that which is contrary to rightly worshiping Him.

With this understood, James then writes, “Therefore He says.” James now will cite scripture to support his line of reasoning concerning the whole passage thus far. “Therefore” is a way of summing up the way to deal with such things. Knowing this, he next cites the proverbs. This is a citation of Proverbs 3:34. The Hebrew of this proverb says –

“Surely He scorns the scornful,
But gives grace to the humble.” Proverbs 3:34

James cites not the Hebrew, but the Greek translation. It is a word for word citation. The difference between the Hebrew and Greek is minimal. Those who are “proud” are often “scornful” of God’s chosen path. Therefore, the meaning between the Hebrew and Greek is not drastically changed.

What James is saying is that by dropping one’s prideful attitude, and by pursuing the course laid out by God rather than that of this world, God’s grace can and will be fully realized. This thought looks to the working of the Spirit in the person when he is walking as He should in the covenant relationship with God.

Peter also cites this same proverb in 1 Peter 5:5. In his words, he is also speaking to saved believers and how they should conduct themselves before the elders and towards one another, but more especially how they should humble themselves “under the mighty hand of God.” James and Peter are in one accord concerning this precept.

Life application: Throughout the ages, man has fallen short of the glory of God. Even after the coming of Christ and the forgiveness of sins through His precious blood, man continues to falter and fall into sin – but He gives more grace.

There is no end to the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. And no sin you commit after trusting in Him can ever separate you again from the bonds of adoption – because He gives more grace.

Have you struggled with something that you feel is hindering your walk with God? Don’t try to hide it, He knows full well your limitations and… He gives more grace. Hand your weakness over to Him and ask Him to walk with you during the struggle. He will because… He gives more grace. When you demonstrate your humility through confession and supplication, God is pleased to lavish His grace upon you. Humility opens the doors of heaven to the children of God and restores God’s favor on you.

But God opposes the proud. This is the very reason why Christ Jesus is the only way to salvation. Confessing “Jesus is Lord” means that a person has said, “I can’t do it; I can’t save myself.” At the moment one comes to this realization and calls out, by faith, on the name of Jesus then God is pleased to give the unmerited favor – the grace – that we so desperately need.

At the same moment, God gives us mercy by forgiving us of our transgressions and sins. Unfortunately, if we fail to come to this point, God’s wrath remains and only an expectation of judgment and condemnation is left. If you have called on Jesus and are again stuck in the bonds of sin – call out for help to the Lord. He gives more grace. Thanks be to God – He gives more grace.

Heavenly Father, we surely need Your grace. When we called on Jesus, we knew we were lost. Since then, we have failed You in a million ways. But we know Your grace is greater than all our sins. Cleanse us anew with the precious and eternally purifying blood of our Lord. And we will endeavor to please You all of our days. Amen.

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