James 4:6-8 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
As we read James, we can clearly see that Christians have a choice when it comes to sin. We mothers cannot possibly teach our children about these choices until we have learned it in our own spiritual lives. Our children need to learn that after they are saved, they no longer need to give in to sin.
Look at the progression in these three verses. James 4:6 teaches us that God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines “proud” to be:
Having inordinate self-esteem; possessing a high or unreasonable conceit of one’s own excellence, either of body or mind.
As we read verse 6 in context then, God will not give grace to resist sin to the one who thinks himself “spiritual” or who thinks highly of himself. The Pharisees of today have the same prideful spirit as the Pharisees of Christ’s day. These do not need a Saviour because they believe that they can get to Heaven on their own merit. The humble in spirit, however, are those who have acknowledged their sinful ways, repented and believed on the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Children are especially open to the Gospel and this is why it is important to teach them early after they get saved.
To the humble, God gives grace to be able to accomplish James 4:7. One does not have to give in to sin! So many times we hear, “The devil made me do it!” However, James 4:7 says that if we submit to God, we can resist the devil and he will flee from us! With God’s grace (promised in verse 6 to the humble in spirit), we can say no. But how?
James 4:8 is absolutely beautiful! Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. The humble know that they can do nothing without the Lord. (Philippians 4:13) A humble heart, covered by the precious blood of the Jesus Christ, will desire to walk righteously. Purifying our hearts daily means to keep our thoughts and heart fixed on the word of God. (Philippians 4:8) Furthermore, a double minded person doesn’t have a “stand” for good or for bad! (James 1:8) To claim Christianity on Sunday and then live like the world the other six days is a double minded person. Therefore, James 4:8 tells us that when we take a stand for Christ with righteous living and purify our hearts, it is drawing nigh to God! What happens to those who draw nigh to Him? The word says that God will draw nigh to them. What better way to help our children than to have them memorize these verses so they can pull from them! This is how we can avoid sin!
- The humble one recognizes his need for God’s grace. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
- The humble one resists the devil when temptation rears its ugly head. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
- The humble one will draw nigh to God through salvation in Jesus Christ. For it is impossible without His salvation. (Hebrews 7:19)
- The humble one walks in the paths of righteousness. (Psalm 23:3)
- The humble one purifies his heart with God’s word! (Psalm 119:9)
Today’s Christian has become so worldly and the teaching of living a godly life has now been mushed down to “legalism.” The world has entered the church and one is hard pressed to find a godly church who desires to live righteous lives. We must remember that God is still holy and He still requires us to pursue righteous living. After all, Scripture says He never changes. (Hebrews 13:8)
If one believes that he does not need to change after salvation, then that person is ignoring 2 Corinthians 5:17. Our old lifestyle (of living IN the same sins as before, day after day) should be dissipating with each passing day. If this is not happening, then repentance never took place. Godly sorrow for one’s sin causes the Christian to repent! This is where the humbleness comes in. Recognizing sin, repenting (completely turning away) from it and pursuing righteous and godly living is a sure sign that 2 Corinthians 5:17 actually occurred in your life.
Christian, we do not need to struggle with sin. We have been given this wonderful freedom and we have the ability to say no! Praise the Lord!