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1 From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?

2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.

3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

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

5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?

6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.

10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

11 Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.

12 There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?

13 Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:

14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

15 For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.

16 But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.

17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

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

  • Alex on James 4
    Comments by Alex on Jacobs trouble Jereimiah 30 v 7 PROPHETIC of the H.G.,THE H.G. HAS A BIG PROBLEM HE IS WARING AGAINST THE TARES ( SATANS SEED ) THIS GOES ON TILL THE Harvest. The wheat against the tares as jesus said. Read v 6 ask ye now if a Man does travail with Child. Y do i see All men with their hands on their loins as woman in travail n child birth , its the seed of Christ that is gona bring on this child birth which is the wheat but is really a baby Christ. Jacob is th 3 rd person in th Abrahamic trinity but he answers to the Israel of God WHICH IS TH H.G. But there is warfare between the Wheat n and th Tares ( BETWEEN jACOB AND ESAU) ISRAEL AND EDON . i.e. there is warfare between OUR new innerman which is the H.G. AND SATANS SEED ) Remember there was warfare between the Woman with Child and Satan,it was a time of Jacobs trouble,Jacob is the manchild, THE ISRAEL OF GOD the H.G. THAT IS GONNA BE BORN IN US THUS THAT TRIBULATION AND SORROWS AND TROUBLE. But to understand this ya gotta read v 6 th whole world is giving birth b/c of Christ seed th word th new covenant, that book in the right hand of the father. Ya remember jesus said it was gonna be a time of TROUBLE like neva before. John saw war in heaven when the woman was giving birth ( Jacobs trouble ) th child being the H.G. th Israel of God, Remember it was Jacobs NAME that was changed to Israel he was the 3 rd person in the Abrahamic trinity, th H.G is that 3 rd person in the heavenly trinity,and Jacob was the Granson. Prophetic of a heavenly trinity thats y God told Moses that his name was Abraham issac and Jacob my memorial to all generations gtg gbu
  • Mishael on Saving The Earth on James 4
    In Israel right now, there are so many people moving there; possibly wanting to live inside Jerusalem; saying they are Jewish or of Jewish ancestry... Israel is actually checking genealogy out. They have more people coming in than they have housing for. A lot of people are upset about that.

    That's why they need to annex the land so new 'burbs can be built.

    Meanwhile the Palestinians are breathing fire and threatening vicious promises. Syria and Iran are linking up with Russia.

    Yet no one in America seems to know about it. I wonder if they know Russia and China are going to do business on their new Silk Road; along with Palestinians.

    I watch earthquake maps every day almost. Countries all around Turkey; in Turkey and in Russia have earthquakes almost every day. It's interesting. News media doesn't care about it.

    How is this end times going to pan out?

    There seems to be a web being spun around places. The only thing they are united on is wiping out teeny tiny Israel. You'd think big player nations would invade South America. All they have is soybeans and soon to be no rain forests. The oceans are warming and the atmosphere. I think if you burn down your oxygen source... you should be invaded. Does anyone take science in High School or College anymore?

    It's not going to help. Prophesy is happening! Has been for a long long time. The whole planet is longing for the Return of Jesus Christ. Pay attention to the SIGNS of the TIMES we are living in. Read your Bible and read rogue Newspapers. Do some googling on scientific records of rarely reported earth phenomenon. The South Pole is melting! The oceans will turn to blood. What science confirms that? If all the other forests burn up, how do we get oxygen.

    Get on board with Jesus NOW. We can't fix all the broken stuff anymore. This age is like an hourglass with much less sand than 2000 years ago. Grab on to Jesus. HAVE FAITH in Him to save you.
  • Patty Tozi - in Reply on James 4
    To Saving the earth on james 4.

    You are so so right. No one listens to me either. The enemy of this world has them thinking opposite. I have studied this in the past. Wrote alot what l saw coming. No one knows that the times of mankind destructions are causing God's wrath to come fast and fury. People are suffering every day. Don't go to mankind. Go to your Holy Father. Read His word and prepare to fight now for Him. The fight at the end will be hard and many will suffer as never before. Mankind and satan had destroyed what God created for us. There is a Loving God who will fight with you. His Light of Love is so strong that you will stand as a Warrior for Him in the End. You will have your Father of Glory to go too. So fight on your knees and in His word. Don't straddle the fence any more. Stand tall-- Stand Strong!!!
  • Carl Gaines on James 4
    Adam was in the garden of Eden by himself for (we don't know how many of years) and never was tempted by the fruit on the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Than GOD put Eve in the garden (we don't know for how many years) and neither of them ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. It was only when GOD put Satan into the garden that Eve was tempted and ate the fruit which has gotten us where we are today.

    So my Question is why put Satan in the garden, when the temptation was already there?
  • Chris - in Reply on James 4
    Carl, the Genesis account does not give us all the details in this passage, but we would understand a few things. Adam & Eve were innocent & without sin in their creation. They remained that way & were never tempted by that tree being there, or for that matter, any tree or animal in Eden. Then Satan comes along; I don't believe that God put him there, but I do understand from Scripture that Satan was cast down from Heaven when he & those angels rebelled against God (Ezek 28:14-18: the reference is to the King of Tyrus, is fully seen in Satan's existence before & after his rebellion). So when Satan was cast out of Heaven, he used a serpent (quite possibly very different to what we know today), to seek out & tempt Adam & Eve to sin & lose their innocence.

    So I don't see that God especially put Satan there or even invited him to do what he did, but that Satan took the opportunity to destroy God's creation, which of course, he did when they obeyed him rather than God. But God, as we know, had other plans: in time & at the height of mankind's corruption, God would come Himself in Jesus, so as to give His life for us all. So Satan had a temporary victory, but God, through His Son, has given us an everlasting victory & restoration back to Himself. Satan still 'niggles' at us with temptations, but he knows that those who have been saved through the blood of the Lamb, will always have victory over him & as God has justified & sanctified us forever.
  • Carl Gaines - in Reply on James 4
    Chris, see this is where everybody gets confused. You have to either believe the bible and that GOD knows all things or you don't.

    The only way I can truly believe and trust in GOD is that he is or he isn't or the bible is or it isn't. So using your logic GOD did not know that Satan was not going into the garden, which would mean GOD has no control over Satan. GOD has control over everything or he doesn't. GOD allowed the devil to attack JOB without GOD's permission Satan could not of attached JOB. GOD has a plan for us and what that plan is nobody knows. The part of the plan I don't understand is why did GOD let Satan temped EVE.
  • Chris - in Reply on James 4
    Carl, I agree that God knows all things - if He didn't, He wouldn't be the God that the Bible reveals to us.

    No, I didn't say that "God did not know that Satan was (not?) going into the garden". I said, "that God didn't put Satan there". There's a difference between knowing & putting/inviting. God knows all things, but in this instance, as with Job, God didn't cause (or invite) that action to be performed.

    God has control over everything, but does He intrude into our choices, even Satan's? Yes, God allowed Satan to "attack Job". But did God put Satan there or even invited him to do what he (Satan) wanted? The Scripture tells us that Satan instigated the desire to test Job & God gave him permission, albeit with a caveat.

    "Why did God let Satan tempt Eve". Sure, God could have prevented this happening, simply by stopping Satan from getting close to her (them). How long would this have lasted? Ok, so maybe by doing this, they would remain innocent, but to their descendants, would Satan not try again to cause mankind to rebel & sin against God? Or, do you feel that God should be able to stop Satan from pursuing this evil act against every human in all generations?

    In this temptation to Adam & Eve, I see that God made us "in His image, after His likeness", unlike His other creation. What does this tell us about these distinctive godly qualities in man? We can think, reason, choose, communicate, etc. With those godly traits, I see God would allow man to avail them for whatever purpose he chose. But since they were innocent, obviously the demonstration of those traits would have been in wholesome purity & godliness. If another comes along to change all that (e.g. Satan), it is still the same trait that would also be exercised towards him. Unfortunately, for them & us, they chose wrongly. But God in His great Design, had a rescue Plan.
  • Michael on James 4
    I am trying very hard to understand James 4:4 but am having difficulty doing so.

    I publish a newsletter that goes out to several thousand people. In that letter, I often warn people of problems that are going on around the world that could effect them and their families. I am concerned that I am going against James 4:4 by involving myself and my readers with 'worldly' things. On the other hand, the Bible speaks clearly to the responsibilities of the 'Watchmen'. Can anyone help me with a better understanding. The LAST thing I want to do is to go against my Lord Jesus. Help please.
  • CARLOS RAMIREZ TREVINO - in Reply on James 4
    Michael on James 4. Let me offer an opinion. I think that what James 4:4 is getting at, is that our desires should not be set on questionable pursuits that set Christ aside. For example, it is perfectly fine to engage in all legitimate activities in society. God orders society and sets up guidance for governments. Some people have an ambition to become great at something they do. Sports is a good example. Politics is another. And business is also a necessary endeavor in our lives. We live in a secular society. Not everyone feels the same about the God of the Bible and the standards Christians live by. But it is those standards that I think this verse makes reference to.

    As Christians, we are to put Christ and everything He stands for first in our heart. We must not abandon His precepts. When we shove Christ and the Biblical principles we ought to live by aside, we are essentially abandoning Him for things we think are more valuable or desirable. But there is a fine line here that we have to understand. Commitment to certain "secular" endeavors, does not mean you have abandoned Christ. I might be fully committed to my job, but I haven't replaced Christ with it. My desire is not that object, in place of Christ.

    We should also be mindful that we are all sinners and will continue to sin until Christ comes. But we all have different interests and talents. Not everyone is going to have the ambition to preach. Not everyone can. So, my thinking is, we can't divorce ourselves from the reality around us. But whatever it is we are involved in, do it without hypocrycy.

    But to really understand James, we have to study the history and events of the time. We can't just take James 4 at face value. We have to ask, What was going on that prompted James' statement? An Adulterer is one that sneaks around with other people, while trying to maintain a semblance of faithfulness, propriety and legitimacy with others. Is a good modern equivalent called being a Two-faced hypocrite?
  • Chris - in Reply on James 4
    Michael, my understanding of Js 4:4, is James' harsh word to predominantly Jewish Christians about their carnality. You can see some of their sins in other parts of his letter, particularly for their lack of works which should be a hallmark of their faith. So, in chapter 4, James addresses their lust for worldly goods: their behaviour resembles those who don't belong to God (like what we see today - a good message to add to your newsletter). To have 'stuff' is not bad, but to lust after it to the point where they behave like God isn't the reason for their existence, is what is concerning James which forces him to call them "adulterers & adulteresses": for their spiritual fornication in this regard.

    Your Newsletter is there to inform & warn people & so this verse that you question does not apply to you as you are not engaging in or encouraging people to acquire the offerings of this world at all cost. The fact that you want to alert folk to this fact is admirable as very few do it, or even dare to do it. Press on brother.


 

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What does James tell us we must do before the Lord?
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