Rev. Jeremiah Johnson, pastor at Glory of Christ Lutheran Church in Plymouth, MN joins host Rev. Timothy Appel to study James 4:1-10.
The wisdom from below is friendship with the world; the wisdom from above is friendship with God. Friendship with the world leads to breaking the Fifth Commandment, even if physical death never occurs. James recites a familiar progression of desiring, coveting, and murdering. Each step along the way is sin, but Christians are called to repentance at each juncture rather than following sin to its terrible end. Such sinful desires also affect our prayers, which ought always be made in deference to the Father’s will. This is friendship with God, which is always at odds with friendship to the world. In order to call us to Himself alone, God gives His grace. He shows us our true situation of humility, which is grounded in Jesus’ own humility and submission before His Father. In Him, those who have known humility before the Lord will receive His exaltation in eternal life.
“Wisdom from Above” is a mini-series on Sharper Iron that goes through the Epistle of St. James. Contrary to what some might claim, this short epistle does not contradict St. Paul. Instead, St. James makes different, yet complementary, points concerning the Christian life. Written in a style similar to the wisdom literature of the Old Testament, this insightful epistle comforts, confronts, and strengthens Christians to live a life of good works that flow from God’s gift of faith, even in the midst of trials.
Sharper Iron, hosted by Rev. Timothy Appel, looks at the text of Holy Scripture both in its broad context and its narrow detail, all for the sake of proclaiming Christ crucified and risen for sinners. Two pastors engage with God’s Word to sharpen not only their own faith and knowledge, but the faith and knowledge of all who listen.
Sharper Iron is underwritten by Lutheran Church Extension Fund, where your investments help support the work of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Visit lcef.org.
Warning Against Worldliness
4 What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions[a] are at war within you?[b] 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. 4 You adulterous people![c] Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? 6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 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 4:1 Greek pleasures; also verse 3
- James 4:1 Greek in your members
- James 4:4 Or You adulteresses!
English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.