Meditations on James 5:1-6

v1, This impending wrathful judgment coming upon greedy rich “christians” is certain because they are guilty of cheating their laborers and at the very least, they are guilty of harboring hate in their hearts towards righteous people, v5. This was real in the first century and very real in our nation’s history. Many scholars believe that our Civil War 1861-1865 was a direct result of so-called christians abusing the “righteous” in slavery.  God’s judgment is not limited to only the judgment day, as in the “coming of the Lord”.  Remember the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple took place decades after the birth of the Church, (AD33-70) and it has never recovered to this day. The Temple will never be reconstructed and the city will always be under threat of wars and rumors of war, Jerusalem is still a divided city and since 1949 Israel’s Knesset struggles to remain united, today it’s currently dissolved. This fact might cause us to question why systemic racism and hate crimes still plague our own nation, even after we have had a civil war, several amendments to the constitution and differing social movements of protest necessitating change. Why are we still plagued with violence & all kinds of crime from the mere issue of race? Because many of our citizens make up a greedy nation of cheaters that claim to be christian and yet have hate in our hearts towards the righteous! The timing of God’s judgment is perfect and far beyond our complete understanding, but it is real. See Romans 11:33 & Daniel 4:35. Praying for the peace of Jerusalem is like asking God to help me win the lottery that I don’t play. 

v2-3,  From God’s perspective, His judgment against them is already a foregone conclusion and He sees the riches they trust in, as rotten & rusted. They are as good as already burning in hell and James wants them to know that The Lord’s anger is kindled against them in the same way that Jesus pronounced wrathful judgement in the parable of the lazy servant, Matthew 18:34. 

v4, Remember Christian, when the Spirit teaches us to do nothing “complaining”, we have a LORD of Hosts (Ex. 6:26 & 1Sam. 17:45 & Isa. 54:5) that is attentive and reacts to the injustices in your life. Peaceful protest has a good place in our society, but Christians should pray to our Lord who will see to our needs, and in perfect timing, his justice will be meted out to any cheater or blasphemer that becomes our enemy. This is the very reason Jesus tells us to pray for our enemies. It is not because we need to inform God of who our enemy is, but it is to ensure we are aware of God’s concern for our needs. How God treats our enemy will be perfect justice or sweet mercy, depending on how our enemy reacts to God’s message & Son.

v5-6,  One of the reasons Christians who enjoy the righteousness of the Righteous One, are able to rejoice under persecution is because we know our victory is certain. Whereas the demise of the greedy self-indulgent haters seem to be ignorant of our established victory in Christ by his resurrection, ascension and shared glory, 2nd Corinthians 4:6-18.

Meditations on James 4:11-17

v11, “speak no evil” is also translated, “no back-biting” in Rom. 1:30 & 2Cor. 12:20. Why? Because we are family! (brothers). Life is short, Death is sure, Sin is the cause, Christ is the cure! Therefore we should echo our Master’s words. “Judge not, that ye be not judged” Mat. 7:1. If we speak evil of a brother, we judge them and if we accuse a brother behind his back we are back-biting. This quickly detracts from his good name as a Christian and we take upon our own heart the weight of judgment. Even the old law, which Jewish Christians were supposed to love, condemned speaking evil about a brother, Leviticus 19:16-18. By passing sentences upon a brother, we can take upon our self (in God’s eyes) the jurisdiction of the law, which is to accuse, charge, convince, pronounce guilty, and condemn: And then what have we done? We have mishandled the law itself! So in v12, James points out that the only person able to handle the law perfectly is the one and only Lawgiver, being Christ, not Moses. See what the Law of Christ is in Galatians 6:1-3, it’s the opposite of speaking evil.

James questions in v13, a worldly attitude amongst God’s children. It is the planning of making money by trusting in one’s own abilities and plans instead of seeking God’s power & desire to be helping them use their resources. They were being presumptuous, thinking that “my life” belonged to just to themselves, and feeling secure in their money, while feeling they did not need God (see Jer. 12:1-5) They need to stay in touch with reality from God’s perspective and that is only His perspective is long range, we are only short-sighted, if we don’t accept God’s foresight. It’s like being honest about today while you have no certainty in tomorrow, yet you live like eternity is a real victory because you are always looking for ways God can use what you have and who you are.

v14 contains the phrase “Know what will happen”This means ignoring the providential, sovereign reign of God in our lives (Job 9:5-6; 28:25; Psalm 104:10-25; 145:15; 147:9; Matt. 4:4; 6:26-28; Luke 12:6-7; Acts 17:25-28; Rom. 8:28). It is to live our lives our own way with arrogant presumption and self-satisfied forgetfulness of God. This mindset shows disregard for God’s personal attention to the details of our daily life. James’ readers would wholeheartedly agree with this; however, they did not practice it! When we make plans without God, we are like a blind person stepping into the dark without guidance or sight.

v15 actually uses a common Greek expression “If the Lord wills” seen in (Acts 18:21; 1 Cor. 16:7), and used as a Latin motto, “Deo Volente” for centuries by committed Christians. This refers to the fact that God’s will is supreme. We have no preview of future events, despite what some people say about “Revelation”. The future is conditional to God’s will, not ours. God is universal. He is sovereign, preserving, and leading all of us intimately and personally with care, while remaining in control of the entire universe! The way to avoid a worldly confidence in tomorrow is to ask God what are my opportunities and gifts and how can I use them to Your glory? This is an operating system for your decisions that control both your programming input and output. The system is prayer and precepts, seeking Him, and learning His Word, so you can make good, healthy decisions (Luke 12:19-20; Prov. 16:9; Isa. 56:12).v16-17 shows clearly that James believes if we reject this Godly vision, we are sinning, because deep down even atheists know they are not in control of tomorrow. So we must, “seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well” Luke 12:31

Meditations on James 4:1-10

v1-3, The first point here is the exact opposite of peace from our last discussion, now it’s war! What lays behind the peace was the purity that is the first mark of God’s wisdom from above. So now we discover what lies behind the wars and fighting, which are so common among the professed people of God. The impure lust of the human heart, the lust connected with worldly wisdom which is fleshly & devilish. Notice some versions use “lusts” and others use “pleasures”. That is because the Greek (  ἡδονή hedone ) word means the pleasure that comes from the gratifying of our desires, rather than the desires themselves. If our desires run riot and we find a sinful pleasure in their gratification, we at once have the root of endless contentions and warfare. See Luke 15:13-30 and remember Jesus died to forgive us of this kind of behavior.

v4, The strong language of James in calling professed Christians, “adulterous” is justified because we are personally responsible for making our self an enemy of God, even after He made us to be friends! If we choose to keep living like an enemy, even after He once treated us like a friend, then we will be treated with the worst of punishment, see Luke 19:27. Look closely at the word ‘abomination’ in Luke 16:15, then you will understand why friends of this world are enemies to God.

v5, has a wonderful revelation of God’s desire joined with the purpose of Scripture. That is to have His Spirit live within us, ever since our first day when God breathed his breath (pnuema) into Adam, to the day Christ breathed upon his disciples, His Spirit has desired to live within us. Gen. 2:7 & Jn. 20:22, Acts 2:38-39 & 17:25. Do you believe this? Our God is a jealous God, 2nd Corinthians 11:2.

v6-10, These words are written to help us know how to repent. The key is wanting to repent! Sometimes for the desire to repent, we need to ask God for help in giving us the opportunity to repent and start personally employing these instructions from James. Afterall, we can’t make ourselves cry! But God can, so asking God to help us repent isn’t an impossible request, it’s just rare that we do it, but try we must! See Acts 11:18, 2nd Tim. 2:25. If Christians get good at doing anything, it should be in doing repentance! Why? Because the ultimate goal of every Christian is surely to end up “exalted” by God. That can only be done in Christ, who is the Victor, wherein real exaltation & glory truly exists. “Exalted” is something God wants to do for each of His children, if we will only submit to his beautiful will in repentance. The word exalted means that God will lift us up above our greatest dreams of glory, and it seems the human imagination is incapable of having a clear vision of how glorious this magnificent position is, or how high the infinity of grace truly is around His Throne of Grace. Please read Luke 18:14 & 1st Peter 5:6. Do you believe this?