In chapter 4, James says that our passions are at war within us. It is the passion of desire and covetousness at war with what we know to be right. He sums it up in the last verse: “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” Friendship with the world, he says is enmity with God. This friendship is the passion for those things of the world that take us farther away from being God’s children, and closer to the way the rest of the world lives. They are those things that corrupt the heart and consume our desires.
Verse 5 says “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us.” God made us in His image, and he desires all of us to be saved (2 Peter 3:9, 1 Timothy 2:4), and that is why He has made His grace freely available to those who are humble (1 Peter 5:5). The advice he gives to all who struggle with temptation is “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” We draw near to God by earnest prayer and by reading His word daily.
James has several different gems of wisdom for the reader in chapter 5. Verses 1-6 concern those among the rich who have prospered at the expense of the poor – oppressing, defrauding, and even murdering them. James makes it clear that those people will be dealt with by the Lord in harsh measure upon His coming day.
Upon that premise, he calls upon the righteous to be patient, just as the farmer must be patient for his crops to grow, for the day of the Lord’s coming is at hand. Again he urges patience and steadfastness in verses 10-11, reminding us of the Lord’s compassion and mercy. In the closing verses, James puts great emphasis on the power of faith and of prayers, particularly the prayers of the righteous. Time and again, as in verse 16, the scriptures emphasize how important our fellowship with one another in worship is, and how we lift each other up – here we are told to confess our sins to each other and pray together and for each other.
Finally, the charge is given to us to care for one another, particularly for those who have fallen away, and our reward will be great, as verses 19-20 conclude “My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.”
Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke
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All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.