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1 From whence come warres and fightings among you? come they not hence, euen of your lusts, that warre in your members?

2 Ye lust, and haue not: yee kill, and desire to haue, and cannot obtaine: yee fight and warre, yet yee haue not, because ye aske not.

3 Ye aske and receiue not, because ye aske amisse, that yee may consume it vpon your lusts.

4 Ye adulterers, and adulteresses, know yee not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoeuer therefore will be a friend of the world, is the enemy of God.

5 Doe ye thinke that the Scripture saith in vaine, the spirit that dwelleth in vs lusteth to enuy?

6 But he giueth more grace, wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proude, but giueth grace vnto the humble.

7 Submit your selues therefore to God: resist the deuill, and hee will flee from you.

8 Draw nigh to God, and hee will draw nigh to you: cleanse your hands ye sinners, and purifie your hearts yee double minded.

9 Bee afflicted, and mourne, and weepe: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your ioy to heauinesse.

10 Humble your selues in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you vp.

11 Speake not euill one of another (brethren:) he that speaketh euill of his brother, and iudgeth his brother, speaketh euill of the Law, and iudgeth the Law: but if thou iudge the Law, thou art not a doer of the Law, but a iudge.

12 There is one Lawgiuer, who is able to saue, and to destroy: who art thou that iudgest another?

13 Goe to now ye that say, To day or to morrow wee will goe into such a city and continue there a yere, and buy, and sell, and get gaine:

14 Whereas yee know not what shalbe on the morow: for what is your life? It is euen a vapour that appeareth for a litle time, and then vanisheth away.

15 For that yee ought to say, if the Lord will, we shall liue, and doe this, or that.

16 But now yee reioyce in your boastings: all such reioycing is euill.

17 Therefore to him that knoweth to doe good, and doth it not, to him it is sinne.

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Commentary for James 4

Here are cautions against corrupt affections, and love of this world, which is enmity to God. (1-10) Exhortations to undertake no affairs of life, without constant regard to the will and providence of God. (11-17)1-10 Since all wars and fightings come from the corruptions of our own hearts, it is right to mortify those lusts that war in the members. Wordly and fleshly lusts are distempers, which will not allow content or satisfaction. Sinful desires and affections stop prayer, and the working of our desires toward God. And let us beware that we do not abuse or misuse the mercies received, by the disposition of the heart when prayers are granted When men ask of God prosperity, they often ask with wrong aims and intentions. If we thus seek the things of this world, it is just in God to deny them. Unbelieving and cold desires beg denials; and we may be sure that when prayers are rather the language of lusts than of graces, they will return empty. Here is a decided warning to avoid all criminal friendships with this world. Worldly-mindedness is enmity to God. An enemy may be reconciled, but "enmity" never can be reconciled. A man may have a large portion in things of this life, and yet be kept in the love of God; but he who sets his heart upon the world, who will conform to it rather than lose its friendship, is an enemy to God. So that any one who resolves at all events to be upon friendly terms with the world, must be the enemy of God. Did then the Jews, or the loose professors of Christianity, think the Scripture spake in vain against this worldly-mindedness? or does the Holy Spirit who dwells in all Christians, or the new nature which he creates, produce such fruit? Natural corruption shows itself by envying. The spirit of the world teaches us to lay up, or lay out for ourselves, according to our own fancies; God the Holy Spirit teaches us to be willing to do good to all about us, as we are able. The grace of God will correct and cure the spirit by nature in us; and where he gives grace, he gives another spirit than that of the world. The proud resist God: in their understanding they resist the truths of God; in their will they resist the laws of God; in their passions they resist the providence of God; therefore, no wonder that God resists the proud. How wretched the state of those who make God their enemy! God will give more grace to the humble, because they see their need of it, pray for it are thankful for it, and such shall have it. Submit to God, ver. #7|. Submit your understanding to the truth of God; submit your wills to the will of his precept, the will of his providence. Submit yourselves to God, for he is ready to do you good. If we yield to temptations, the devil will continually follow us; but if we put on the whole armour of God, and stand out against him, he will leave us. Let sinners then submit to God, and seek his grace and favour; resisting the devil. All sin must be wept over; here, in godly sorrow, or, hereafter, in eternal misery. And the Lord will not refuse to comfort one who really mourns for sin, or to exalt one who humbles himself before him.

11-17 Our lips must be governed by the law of kindness, as well as truth and justice. Christians are brethren. And to break God's commands, is to speak evil of them, and to judge them, as if they laid too great a restraint upon us. We have the law of God, which is a rule to all; let us not presume to set up our own notions and opinions as a rule to those about us, and let us be careful that we be not condemned of the Lord. "Go to now," is a call to any one to consider his conduct as being wrong. How apt worldly and contriving men are to leave God out of their plans! How vain it is to look for any thing good without God's blessing and guidance! The frailty, shortness, and uncertainty of life, ought to check the vanity and presumptuous confidence of all projects for futurity. We can fix the hour and minute of the sun's rising and setting to-morrow, but we cannot fix the certain time of a vapour being scattered. So short, unreal, and fading is human life, and all the prosperity or enjoyment that attends it; though bliss or woe for ever must be according to our conduct during this fleeting moment. We are always to depend on the will of God. Our times are not in our own hands, but at the disposal of God. Our heads may be filled with cares and contrivances for ourselves, or our families, or our friends; but Providence often throws our plans into confusion. All we design, and all we do, should be with submissive dependence on God. It is foolish, and it is hurtful, to boast of worldly things and aspiring projects; it will bring great disappointment, and will prove destruction in the end. Omissions are sins which will be brought into judgment, as well as commissions. He that does not the good he knows should be done, as well as he who does the evil he knows should not be done, will be condemned. Oh that we were as careful not to omit prayer, and not to neglect to meditate and examine our consciences, as we are not to commit gross outward vices against light!

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Discussion for James 4

  • I AM THAT I AM:
    Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Do ye think that the Scripture says in vain, The spirit that dwells in us lusts to envy? God resists the proud but gave grace to the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord and he shall lift you up. Speak not evil one of another brethren.
  • Frankzdrrik
    verse 4 pointed out that friendship with the world is making himself an enemy of god..why?because the whole world is under the control of satan and his allies using religions,politics and commerce to impose traditions, customs and occassions.It is now clear that the enemy of god participates or involves in traditions customs and occassions.1john 2:15-17,john 17:14-16,john 15:19
  • Teri
    I think if alot of us would re-dedicate ourselves to the pure words of the Lord, we will see revival. This chapter is an exortation!
  • Patty Tozi
    LORD I OFFER MY LIFE TO YOU: Our purpose on earth is not to get lost in the journey through life-- But to be a Beacon of Light so that others may find their way. .. The Lord never fails to give us new Blessings every time we wake up. Waking up alive and well is already a miracle. A BLESSING WE OWE TO HIM: PRAISE HIM ALWAYS!!!
  • Livinus Adi
    We must do the good things we have known from the word of God,because any believe who fails to implement the good things as opportunity present itself will receive the same reward as a sinner.
  • Child Of God!
    You have to resist the devil and in Jesus name, he will flee from you I tell you he will flee!!! LOVE GOD PEOPLE LOVE GOD IN YOUR FAITH AND YOUR WORKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOVE GOD

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