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Truth in Palmyra

By Wally Fry

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wisdom from above

Faith In Action-More Results of Envy and Strife

faith in action

James 4:1-10

From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? 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. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. 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. Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.


Read all of James Chapter 4 here

At the beginning of James Chapter 4, we can see that this almost seems like a continuation of the last part of James Chapter 3. We know from our previous studies that James had some thoughts on the sources of wisdom we can choose from; they were from above(God), or from the world. We saw that the results of our choice as to the source of our wisdom would produce particular results.

We can see this starting clearly in James 3:14. One thing to consider here is the usage of the word “if.” The meaning of it in the Bible sometimes means “if” and sometimes it means “since.” The context seems to indicate that James is saying here, “‘Since’ ye have bitter envying.”

But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.

So, since there IS bitter envying and strife, the results are almost guaranteed, as we see in James 3:16

For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.

When we first talked about confusion and every evil work. we were fairly vague and general. What, then, are confusion and every evil work?  Well, moving into Chapter 4, James is going to get more specific.!

Faith in Action-Wisdom From Above Shows Fruit

faith in action

James 3: 17,18

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.


Read all of James Chapter 3 here

Godly wisdom is “full of” mercy and good fruits. One writer described this as being “controlled by.”  A person who is full of mercy and good works, then, is controlled by them. In other words, these things are part of the new person who has been indwelt by the Holy Spirit after his or her salvation. Continuing with James’ overriding thought, we can see that mercy and good works will be the natural result of salvation. No mercy and good works, no salvation could be one way his words be taken.

Our mercy should be in accordance to God’s mercy. We should attempt to show the same mercy to others that God has shown to us. In other words, we show mercy to others not because they deserve it, but because we care. God does not give us what we deserve, therefore we should not give others what we think they might deserve. A wonderful example of this is the story of the Good Samaritan we see in Luke 10:25-37. What we see there is an act of mercy done just because it was merciful, rather like God’s act of mercy towards us in providing His Son as an atonement for our sin.

Every good work. This is a very broad statement and brings to mind the fruits of the Spirit Paul discusses in Galatians 2:22,23

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Every good work is a very encompassing sort of guidance and covers a lot of things that should be the natural outpouring of our salvation.

Are we full of the works of the flesh as outlined in the same Chapter of Galatians as above? Or are we full of the Fruits of The Spirit?

Faith In Action-Wisdom From Above Is Gentle and Easygoing

faith in action

James 3: 17,18

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.


Read all of James Chapter 3 here

Wisdom from above will cause us to be gentle and easy to be intreated. We are going to consider these two together because they seem to work hand in hand to a certain extent. One Bible translation refers to these as being gentle and reasonable, which seems like a good choice of words to use.

Gentle can be defined as, “equitable, fair, mild, gentle.” Easy to be intreated can be defined as, “Led easily obeying, compliant.”

James is speaking from a position of experience and authority as he writes his epistle. In all likelihood, this is the very James who back in Acts Chapter 15 averted the schism between Jewish and Gentile believers in the Church at Antioch. If readers remember, there was trouble brewing in that church as the issue concerning believers continuing to follow Mosaic Law or not festered and threatened to divide that church. In fact, it threatened to divide the entire early church into Jewish and Gentile encampments.

James was able to come up with a solution which more or less made everyone happy. Additionally, the willingness of the two sides to be gentle and reasonable concerning the other side made the solution work. Read the story, it is a great one.

Most importantly, James showed the value of compromise without compromising Biblical truth. He never once backed down from the position of Salvation being of faith and not works. He never conceded that adherence to Mosaic Law AND faith was needed for salvation. He stood firm in that correct position. He simply asked that the Gentile believers agree to bend on a couple of secondary issues which were very offensive to the Jewish believers in the church.

Worldly wisdom seeks a fight; Godly wisdom seeks peace. Worldly wisdom is confrontational; Godly wisdom is peaceable. Worldly wisdom seeks its own way on all issues; Godly wisdom is willing to bend for peace on nonessentials.

 

Faith In Action-Wisdom From Above Is Peacable

faith in action

James 3: 17,18

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.


Read all of James Chapter 3 here

We don’t really need to belabor the point concerning the fruits of worldly wisdom; we have covered them quite thoroughly. Strife, jealousy, envy and discord are all fruits of the wisdom of the world. These are the things that destroy churches and destroy the work for The Kingdom New Testament churches are supposed to be doing.

Godly wisdom, on the other hand, builds peace; it builds edification; it builds unity. Godly wisdom results in New Testament churches moving forward in unity and truth to further the work of spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

If a church’s work is based on the teachings of the Bible and on God’s work, there will be peace.

Isaiah 32:17 And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.

Isaiah 26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

Jesus, of course, had this to say in the Beatitudes:

Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

And, as has become habitual, we will close our scripture with some things Paul was inspired to say.

Philippians 2:1-4 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

Here is a question for readers. Does wisdom from God include peace at any cost? James has answered that question already for us. The wisdom of God is first, pure; then it is peaceable. It is truth as presented in God’ Word which unifies us. In fact, the peace of the church takes second place to the purity of the church; it does not seem to be accidental that James talked about purity first, then peace.

Faith In Action-Wisdom From Above

faith in action

James 3: 17,18

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.


Read all of James Chapter 3 here

We have spent a substantial amount of time talking about the negative aspects and consequences of worldly wisdom, but all of the news is not bad! Now we will spend some time talking about the positive aspects and consequences of Godly wisdom.

The first thing James notes is the origin of Godly wisdom; it comes from above. What does this mean exactly? It means quite a bit, actually. It has to do with the source of it, and it has to do with who can have it.

The source of heavenly wisdom, of course, is God Himself. James has covered that previously in his epistle, notably in James 1:17 when he tells us that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above.

In James 1:5 we also learned that wisdom comes from God in response to our prayer.

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

We get wisdom by praying; there are implications to that statement. Let’s get right to them. If a person is lost, what is the only prayer of his or hers that God can even hear? Of course, the answer to that question is: a prayer for forgiveness and salvation.

Implication: Wisdom from above is only available to those who belong to God as His children; wisdom from God comes from the filling with the Holy Spirit.

Solomon was inspired to give us these thoughts on following God with Wisdom:

Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

Here we see Jesus Himself linking a solid foundation(salvation) with wisdom.

Matthew 7:24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

Again, we see Paul chiming in on this issue as he talks to the Corinthians:

1 Corinthians 1:30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:

 So, then, Godly wisdom: where does it originate and who gets it? Well, it comes from God, and only those saved and indwelt by the Holy Spirit get it.

Next, we begin talking about the positive works of Godly wisdom.

Faith In Action-More Results of Envy and Stife

faith in action

James 4:1-10

From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? 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. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. 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. Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.


Read all of James Chapter 4 here

In the beginning of James Chapter 4, we can see that this almost seems like a continuation of the last part of James Chapter 3. We know from our previous studies that James had some thoughts on the sources of wisdom we can choose from; they were from above(God), or from the world. We saw that the results of our choice as to the source of our wisdom would produce particular results.

We can see this starting clearly in James 3:14. One thing to consider here is the usage of the word “if.” The meaning of it in the Bible sometimes means “if” and sometimes it means “since.” The context seems to indicate that James is saying here, “‘Since’ ye have bitter envying.”

But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.

So, since there IS bitter envying and strife, the results are almost guaranteed, as we see in James 3:16

For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.

When we first talked about confusion and every evil work. we were fairly vague and general. What, then, are confusion and every evil work?  Well, moving into Chapter 4, James is going to get more specific.!

Faith in Action-Wisdom From Above Shows Fruit

faith in action

James 3: 17,18

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.


Read all of James Chapter 3 here

Godly wisdom is “full of” mercy and good fruits. One writer described this as being “controlled by.”  A person who is full of mercy and good works, then, is controlled by them. In other words, these things are part of the new person who has been indwelt by the Holy Spirit after his or her salvation. Continuing with James’ overriding thought, we can see that mercy and good works will be the natural result of salvation. No mercy and good works, no salvation could be one way his words be taken.

Our mercy should be in accordance to God’s mercy. We should attempt to show the same mercy to others that God has shown to us. In other words, we show mercy to others not because they deserve it, but because we care. God does not give us what we deserve, therefore we should not give others what we think they might deserve. A wonderful example of this is the story of the Good Samaritan we see in Luke 10:25-37. What we see there is an act of mercy done just because it was merciful, rather like God’s act of mercy towards us in providing His Son as an atonement for our sin.

Every good work. This is a very broad statement and brings to mind the fruits of the Spirit Paul discusses in Galatians 2:22,23

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Every good work is a very encompassing sort of guidance, and covers a lot of things that should be the natural outpouring of our salvation.

Are we full of the works of the flesh as outlined in the same Chapter of Galatians as above? Or are we full of the Fruits of The Spirit?

Faith In Action-Wisdom From Above Is Gentle and Easygoing.

faith in action

James 3: 17,18

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.


Read all of James Chapter 3 here

Wisdom from above will cause us to be gentle and easy to be intreated. We are going to consider these two together, because they seem to work hand in hand to a certain extent. One Bible translation refers to these as being gentle and reasonable, which seems like a good choice of words to use.

Gentle can be defined as, “equitable, fair, mild, gentle.” Easy to be intreated can be defined as, “Led easily obeying, compliant.”

James is speaking from a position of experience and authority as he writes his epistle. In all likelihood, this is the very James who back in Acts Chapter 15 averted the schism between Jewish and Gentile believers in the Church at Antioch. If readers remember, there was trouble brewing in that church as the issue concerning believers continuing to follow Mosaic Law or not festered and threatened to divide that church. In fact, it threatened to divide the entire early church into Jewish and Gentile encampments.

James was able to come up with a solution which more or less made everyone happy. Additionally, the willingness of the two sides to be gentle and reasonable concerning the other side  made the solution work. Read the story, it is a great one.

Most importantly, James showed the value of compromise without compromising Biblical truth. He never once backed down from the position of Salvation being of faith and not works. He never conceded that adherence to Mosaic Law AND faith was needed for salvation. He stood firm on that correct position. He simply asked that the Gentile believers agree to bend on a couple of secondary issues which were very offensive to the Jewish believers in the church.

Worldly wisdom seeks a fight; Godly wisdom seeks peace. Worldly wisdom is confrontational; Godly wisdom is peaceable. Worldly wisdom seeks it’s own way on all issues; Godly wisdom is willing to bend for peace on non essentials.

 

Faith In Action-Wisdom From Above Is Peacable

faith in action

James 3: 17,18

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.


Read all of James Chapter 3 here

We don’t really need to belabor the point concerning the fruits of worldly wisdom; we have covered them quite thoroughly. Strife, jealousy, envy and discord are all fruits of the wisdom of the world. These are the things that destroy churches and destroy the work for The Kingdom New Testament churches are supposed to be doing.

Godly wisdom, on the other hand, builds peace; it builds edification; it builds unity. Godly wisdom results in New Testament churches moving forward in unity and truth to further the work of spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

If a church’s work is based on the teachings of the Bible and on God’s work, there will be peace.

Isaiah 32:17 And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.

Isaiah 26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

Jesus, of course, had this to say in the Beatitudes:

Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

And, as has become habitual, we will close our scripture with some things Paul was inspired to say.

Philippians 2:1-4 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

Here is a question for readers. Does wisdom from God include peace at any cost? James has answered that question already for us. The wisdom of God is first, pure; then it is peaceable. It is truth as presented in God’ Word which unifies us. In fact, the peace of the church takes second place to the purity of the church; it does not seem to be accidental that James talked about purity first, then peace.

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