When Believers Argue, Fuss and Fight
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Delivered By
Pastor Ed Dinkins
Delivered On
May 1, 2016
Central Passage
James 4:1-10
First Sunday Service

Commentary - Data Source: James 4 Commentary - GracePoint Devotions

“James paints a picture of the church as he saw it: fights and quarrels, battle, kill and covet. The ‘kill’ probably refers to killing with words rather than literal murder, but the whole picture is familiar to anyone who knows the modern church. All of these fights and battles were certainly justified by those involved, perhaps as ‘striving for the truth’. But James writes of them just as they are in God’s eyes. He traces the origin of these conflicts, not to his readers’ love of God, but toyour desires, the evil impulse that we have already learned about in 1:14–15.

All of their arguing is fruitless: they do not get what they want, because you do not ask God. ‘But we do pray!’ might be their response. ‘You pray, but it is not effective, for your motives are wrong.’ They are not seeking God’s will or God’s wisdom, but their will: ‘God bless my plans.’ Their motive is their desires or pleasures. God’s goal is not to give human beings what their own impulses demand; his goal is that human beings will learn to love what he loves. It is not that God does not want people to have pleasure, but that he wants to train them to take pleasure in what he knows is truly good. As with Christ, crucifixion comes before resurrection for God’s people (Gal. 5:24).

“In claiming to trust in God and yet living according to their own desires these people are adulterous. The term is literally ‘adulteresses’, not that they were all women, but that the church is the bride of Christ (2 Cor. 11:2; Rev. 19, 21) as Israel was God’s bride (Is. 1:21; Je. 3; Ho. 1–3). To go after another lover is to be unfaithful to God, so friendship with the world is hatred towards God (cf. Mt. 6:24; 1 Jn. 3:15). It is not that it is hard or painful to serve both God and ‘desire’ or ‘the world’; it is impossible. The person who tries to become a friend of the world is actually God’senemy. They may be an orthodox-believing and church-going enemy, but they are nonetheless an enemy.

“James’s argument might drive people to despair because of their sin. James claims, however, that God offers more grace rather than condemnation, to the believer who repents. To back this up James quotes Pr. 3:34, also quoted in 1 Pet. 5:5: God does give grace to the humble (i.e. the repentant)."

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