Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Bible Study ~ James 3-4

James 3-4

*"James has been revealing the sins of the people, now he presents them with an important and urgent choice: friendship with the God or friendship with the world."

- What wisdom in 3:17-18 do you really admire? Would your life be described more accurately by verse 17 or 18? Do you want God or the world?

* “The seriousness of the alternatives is made clear with shocking terms: you adulterous people, hatred toward God, an enemy of God (James 4:4)."

*Who is he addressing? Christians or non-Christians?
“It all sounds so offensive that we are tempted to think he must be addressing non-Christians rhetorically.

Here, however, he must be addressing his Christian readers, for his immediate message is still too closely connected to the hypocritical wisdom and the fights and quarrels among you from 3:13 and 4:1. But he is again warning those who call themselves Christians that they may be false Christians who are really enemies of God. James simply writes with a stronger conviction of the seriousness of sin than most of us are willing to hold. In fact he writes with a sense of moral outrage.” - Search your hearts.

*"Altogether, the paragraph of 4:4-6 emphasizes God's requirement of Christians: "a total, unreserved, unwavering allegiance" to God rather than to the world. It equally emphasizes that this requirement is not an achievement by which the proud can earn God's friendship, for the call to devotion is based on God's extension of grace to the humble. " Explain:

*"James has a problem: his readers are being corrupted by bitter envy and selfish ambition leading to fights and quarrels. He has a goal: to help them learn to live in love and at peace with each other. Therefore he has a prescription for them: repentance.”

*"Along with the presentation of this choice comes a pair of promises to encourage James's readers. The devil . . . will flee from you (verse 7-10). Meanwhile, God . . . will come near to you.”

*Conclusion: Our lives reveal our hearts. They reveal if the Holy Spirit is working in our souls or not. Salvation cannot be attained through works, but God grants it through grace and forgiveness in Jesus Christ; it is evidenced through our actions. When we are granted repentance, and resist the devil, we are allowed to come near to God, and He in turn comes near to us.

With commentary from:
Bible Study credits: Terri Stellrecht