October 28, 2011

Saturday after the Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity

Lectionary

Morning - Ps.71, 1 Kings 21:1-10, James 4:1-12
Evening - Ps. 93, 98, Job 25:2-6 & 26:6-14, Mt. 16:1-12

Commentary
James 4:1-12

James is still writing about Godliness in the life patterns of Christian people. Elaborating on his statements in verses 2:17 and 18, his point is that real, Biblical faith changes a person and that change is visible, or, expressed, in his actions. By contrast, a false faith, one that is merely an intellectual assent to doctrinal propositions, makes no change in a person. It leaves him in the same old sinful inclinations he was in before he came to believe the propositions. Such unchanged people still lust and war over the things of the world (4:1-2). Their prayers are not prayers of faith that trust God to supply their needs, they are prayers that God will grant them the things for which their hearts lust, so they may consume them in gratification of their lusts (4:1). While Abraham was called the friend of God 2:23, their friendship is with the world, and they are at enmity with God (4:4). It is no wonder, then, that God resists them (4:6) for they resist God.

Thus James encourages his readers to submit to God and resist the devil (4:7). Rather than heedlessly chasing the world, James asks them to draw nigh unto God (4:8) with the same fervour and devotion with which they formerly sought the world. He promises that God will draw nigh to those who seek Him. Verse 9 means to turn completely away from the former things. Let those things for which they were formerly prepared to fight, now become the cause for mourning and heaviness. No more are they to laugh (find pleasure) in sin, but to be filled with sorrow over it. To be humble in the sight of the Lord is to mourn over sin; to confess and turn away from it, and to turn to God as Lord and God. Those who do so will be lifted up out of their degradation and condemnation. They will exalted to Heaven forever (4:10) by the Lawgiver (Christ) who is also the Saviour (4:11-12).