Drawing Near to God
Drawing Near to God
7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. (James 4:7-10 ESV)
To whom is the message written?
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion:
Greetings. (James 1:1 ESV)
- Twelve Tribes
James 4:7-10 targets the unsaved. To sinners, he writes: Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom (James 4:9).
The Christian life is a forward-facing life; it is a victorious celebration and experience of living in the presence of God gloriously and eternally. Christians should be the most joy-filled, exuberant people on the planet.
What is the message?
James’ message is that God gives more (megas) grace. He opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6 ESV).
Pride and rebellion are at the core of humanity.
Pride is the boulevard of worldliness that leads to hell. Humility is the grand avenue of the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3 ESV)
To the proud, James’ message is that God opposes them. To the humble, James’ message is that God gives mega grace.
God’s grace is deeper, longer, wider, and higher than your sin. He is calling you to receive it by submitting to him.
What is the required response of the reader?
God gives 10 commands in James 4:7-10 that are essential for the salvation of a sinner.
- Submit to God (James 4:7)
To submit is “to rank under.” When we say, “Jesus Christ is Lord,” we’re attributing more than a title to him; we are testifying our submission to him as the authority and ruler over us.
2-3. Resist and Draw near – Resist the devil and draw near to God. (James 4:7b-8a)
The person who God saves resists (stands against) the old lord of life and draws near to the new Lord—he resists the devil and draws near to God.
As we actively resist the devil in the power of the gospel, we draw near to God. The result is extraordinarily good; God draws near to us. Move towards God, and he will rush towards you.
4-5. Be clean – Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (James 4:8b)
James 4:8 is a mandate to submit to the cleansing and purifying work of God through Christ and his Holy Spirit. God alone can transform us.
Hands represent the outward sin of a person, and hearts represent the inward sin, both of which keep one removed from God. Repentance, turning from sin and self and turning to Christ, is the way of salvation.
See 1 John 3:8-10 and 1 John 1:9
6-10. Have the proper attitude (James 4:9-10a
- Be wretched
- Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom
- Humble yourselves before the Lord
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4 ESV)
What is the result of responding well?
The Lord will exalt you (James 4:8).
An in-depth study of the book of James.