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 Warning Against Worldly Indulgences: Part 8 - James 4:6b

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LaRosa
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PostSubject: Warning Against Worldly Indulgences: Part 8 - James 4:6b   Tue Jun 17, 2008 9:20 am

Warning Against Worldly Indulgences: Part 8 - James 4:6b
Written by LaRosa Johnson
Tuesday, 17 June 2008

In our previous time together, we took a close look at what it means for God to give a greater grace. We detailed exactly what that greater grace was, and what this grace was greater than. Now that we have that comfortably under our belt, we can now move on to the second half of James 4:6. Our passage today is a look at God's reaction to the proud, as well as His reaction to those who exhibit humility. Let us begin our time together in the Word by opening in prayer, as we prepare our hearts and minds to engage spiritual truth. Now that we have done that, let us take a look at today's passage.

Quote :
James 4:6b (NASB) - Therefore it says, "GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE."

It has taken us a little while to get to this point, but we are now looking at the Old Testament quotation that James spoke of in the beginning of verse 5 when he said, "Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose." The Scripture that James uses for his quotation in this verse comes from Proverbs 3:34; more specifically, this quotation is from the Septuagint (abbreviated LXX), which is the Greek translation of the Old Testament, as opposed to the original Hebrew translation. This is also quoted by Peter in 1 Peter 5:5, where he also uses the LXX. A Hebrew rendition of this passage reads as follows in the New American Standard Bible, "Though He scoffs at the scoffers, Yet He gives grace to the afflicted." As you can see, the readings are slightly different, but the message is still the same. The differences come from translating from one language to another (such as we have when translating from Greek or Hebrew to English); things don't always translate word for word, and require equivalents to be used.

Now that we know where this quote originated, we can begin to examine it. In doing this, there are two obvious truths that stand out and serve as the meat of this passage. First, we see that God is opposed to the proud; secondly, we find that God gives grace to the humble. Our study today will take a look at both of these as we explore a little bit of the Greek and gain an understanding of what both of these truths mean.

First and foremost, God is opposed to the proud. If we are to bring this back to its full context, we could say that these are the people that James is addressing in this chapter. Those who are seeking after their own sinful pleasures are the ones who are proud, and these are the kind of people that God opposes. Before we get too much further, it is important to understand two words in relation to their Greek meanings: 1) oppose, and 2) proud. "Oppose" comes from the Greek word antitasso (Strong's #G498); this is a military term that means to set oneself against or to range in battle against. This denotes the seriousness in which God is opposed to those who are filled with pride. This is very similar to James' use of strong language back in verse 4 when looking at being a friend with the world and an enemy of God. Our word for "proud" comes from the word huperephanos (Strong's #G5244) and means to show oneself above others. If we use this definition and look back at verses 1-4, the picture that we get of the proud is that they are in a position where they feel that they are above God and others, thus their reason for indulging in worldly pleasures. It is no wonder that God is opposed to such people; if they feel that they are above God in some way (by not obeying His commands), then it is quite obvious that He is going to war against such defiant people. In respect to verse 4 and the first half of verse 6, we would be right in saying that these individuals are not going to be the ones who receive this gift of greater grace; instead, they have rejected the gift and have made themselves enemies of God.

The second truth that we are presented with is that God gives grace to the humble. This is the antithesis of those who are depicted as proud; these are people who have submitted to the plan of God and are the recipients of the greater grace that is spoken of in the first half of verse 6. Again, we want to briefly look at some Greek terminology so that we can better understand our text. The first word we want to look at is "grace," which is charis in the Greek (Strong's #G5485). This word refers to the limitless and unmerited kindness or mercy that God has freely given. In its most prolific sense, grace is the method of salvation that God has provided for us through His Son, Jesus Christ. Many like to use an acronym for grace to help define it as: God's Riches At Christ's Expense, which is indeed a definition of grace. Our second word is "humble" and it finds its root in the Greek word tapeinos (Strong's #G5011). This word is an adjective meaning lowly (in spirit). This is the true state of a believer who has repented of his/her sins and placed their faith in Jesus Christ. To be humble means that you recognize your lowly state, reject your own ways, and replace them with the Lord's. Be aware, though, as this humility does not denote some special rank of Christian, but is the state of all believers. It is because the believer has chosen to lower himself in the sight of God that He is willing to give a greater grace that is able to cover their sins and give eternal life. Those who have not humbled themselves before the Lord are not eligible for His greater grace of salvation and forgiveness of sins; instead, they only receive the common grace of God that is given to all men (such as life and the necessities to sustain it).

At this point, James has made it very clear what it means to befriend God or to become His enemy. His harsh words at the beginning of this chapter make it clear that many of his readers have befriended the world, instead of God. With the conclusion of verse 6, he has now finished outlining the problem, and will spend the next handful of verses (verses 7-12) giving the solution and the proper heart response that his should have. The main thing that we want to walk away with today is that God is against those who choose to be proud and live life as they see fit. Secondly, God only gives His grace to those who have humbled themselves. So, with that in mind, we realize that we can either be at war with God by rejecting His perfect will for our lives or we can give ourselves over to His will in absolute humility and receive His grace. The choice is yours to make, and its answer should be obvious.

In closing, take time today to meditate on this passage of Scripture and what it means to be humble. Ask yourself, "Am I humble? Have I given up my will and exchanged it for the Lord's perfect will?" Also examine yourself to see if you have any pride in your life; if you do, pray that the Holy Spirit would reveal it to you and ask for His help in removing it from your life. It is God's desire that we walk in humility, as that is how we receive God's grace. Until next time, keep fighting the good fight of faith.

devotion courtesy of Trailblazin Ministries
http://www.trailblazinministries.com/daily-devotions/06-17-2008.php

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Warning Against Worldly Indulgences: Part 8 - James 4:6b
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