James continues to teach us God’s ways. He emphasizes the difference between the world’s system and God’s system. The difference in loyalty, attitudes, lifestyle, rules, worldview, etc. He urges living according to the law of Christ (1 Corinthians 9:21, Galatians 6:2, James 1:25, and James 2:12). Even though the Psalmist refers to Mosaic Law in Psalm 19, surely the words of Psalm 19:7-11 applies.
A few quotes:
B1 Hiebert writes (D. Edmond Hiebert, James commentary): James is insistent that all of Christian conduct be motivated by the realization of future judgment (cf. 2 Cor. 5:9-10). [This judgment is not for salvation but for rewards. There is accountability with God].
B2 Hiebert writes further: [It] is not a law of liberty because it liberates us from obedience to God’s holy Commandments, or as even from a single point in any of them; the Gospel itself and true faith impel us to this obedience. It is a divinely wrought motivation in the hearts of “those who love Him” (James 1:12; 2:5).
Friends with the World Are the Enemy of God
4 Youp adulterers and adulteresses, don’t youp know that whoever wants to be a friend of the world is an enemy of God?
[What does a ‘friend of the world’ mean? The world represents the system including worldview, lifestyle, character traits, rules, attitudes, motivation of sin. The prince of this world—satan—is the head of that kingdom. It is described by Galatians 5:19-21. Adulterers and adulteresses refer to what people worship (instead of Yahweh) but also to sexual immorality. For enemies of God, compare Philippians 3:18, 2 Samuel 12:14, and Micah 2:8. For adulterers and adulteresses, see Matthew 4:10, 1 John 2:15-17, and Ezekiel 6:9. Jesus has overcome this enemy (John 12:31). The world’s system was and will be centered in Babylon. Jesus will destroy it! See Genesis 18].
5 Or do youp think that the Scripture says for no reason, “The Spirit who lives in us jealously yearns [for us]?”
[The reference is uncertain, but compare Exodus 34:14, Deuteronomy 4:24, and Deuteronomy 6:14-15].
6 So he gives greater grace. That’s why he says, “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.” [Proverbs 3:34]
[Pride is the single character trait leading to so many sinful thoughts, words, desires, and deeds. Compare Isaiah 13:11 and Matthew 6:24. The proud will be destroyed, Malachi 4:1. Our response should that which is found in 1 Peter 1:14-16].
Be Humble and Resist the Devil
7 Therefore, place yourselvesp underN1 God’s authorityN1. Resist the Devil, and he will flee from youp.
[If we are Christians, then we NEED to be under God’s authority. He is King of all kings. We will live in heaven with Him forever and under His authority. The Lord’s Prayer mentions ‘your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’ There are over 1,000 rules in the New Testament for us to obeyN7. If we love God, then we will obey (John 14:15). Holiness is a must (2 Corinthians 7:1 and Romans 6:19-22) even though most Christians today believe and live otherwise. We resist the devil when we put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:11-18), be taught to recognize his techniques—crisis, fear, lies, seemingly irresistible lusts, recalling bad memories, discouragement, verbal abuse from his agents (false Christians, false pastors, and other evil people), physical and other abuse, sorrow, etc. (2 Corinthians 2:11), being sober (free from wine and other mind alerting chemicals; it also refers to not having an emotional or ‘jerk-knee’ response as in ‘he gave a sober assessment of the situation’) and vigilant (being alert, watchful) (1 Peter 5:8-9), read, study, and know the Scriptures (1 John 2:14 and Psalm 119:11), and the rules from the next verse (verse 8)].
8 Draw near to God, and He will draw near to youp. Cleanse [yourp] hands, sinners, and purify [yourp] hearts, double minded.
[‘Draw near to God’ refers to asking for God’s help (Hebrews 4:16) and being serious about the Christian life. Annie Johnson Flint writes:
He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase,
To added affliction He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials His multiplied peace.
We must be serious about holiness and moral and spiritual purity. Compare the same idea in Isaiah 1:15-16. See Psalm 24:4 and 1 John 3:3. Double minded refers to seeking God’s ways, lifestyle, worldview, rules, character traits, etc. or the world’s system—its ways, lifestyle, worldview, etc. When we vacillate between the two, we are being double minded. Warren Wiersbe writes (WIERSBE BIBLE COMMENTARY: NEW TESTAMENT):
Dr. A.W. Tozer has a profound essay in one of his books, entitled, “Nearness Is Likeness.” The more we are like God, the nearer we are to God. I may be sitting in my living room with my Siamese cat on my lap, and my wife may be twenty feet away in the kitchen; yet I am nearer to my wife than to the cat because the cat is unlike me. We have very little in common.
God graciously draws near to us when we deal with the sin in our lives that keeps Him at a distance. He will not share us with anyone else; He must have complete control. The double-minded Christian can never be close to God. Again, Abraham and Lot come to mind. Abraham “drew near” and talked to God about Sodom (Genesis 18:23), while Lot moved into Sodom and lost the blessing of God].
9 Be in agony, moan, and wail. Let yourp laughter turn into sobbing and [yourp] joy into heartbreak.
[This verse refers to confession of our sins. Compare Psalm 51].
10 Humble yourselvesp in the sight of the Lord, and he will lift youp up.
[James gives us some rules from the Law of Christ (Galatians 6:2). We are to be under God’s authority—His will be done (Mark 3:35, Psalm 40:8, Psalm 143:10, Hebrews 13:21, Matthew 6:10, and Matthew 26:42.). Resist the devil. Compare these verses. God is the ultimate authority (Job 1:12). God provides a way to resist (1 Corinthians 10:13). Jesus overcame (Matthew 4:1-11). Jesus will help us (Hebrews 2:18). Jesus prays for us when tested and tempted (Luke 22:32). Believers have armor (Ephesians 6:11-13). God’s faithfulness to protect us (2 Thessalonians 3:3 and John 17:15). God’s love encourages us (Romans 8:38-39). God gives a crown to honor for persevering (James 1:12). Draw near to God (Isaiah 55:6-7, Psalm 145:18, and Micah 6:6-8). Live a pure life in thoughts, desires, words, and deeds. Compare these verses. Prayer (Psalm 51:10). Flee evil; pursue righteousness (2 Timothy 2:22). Read and study Scriptures (Psalm 12:6 and Matthew 4:4). The Scriptures help us to renew our minds to think God’s way (Romans 12:1-2). Abstain from sexual immorality (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5). Our proper motivation (2 Corinthians 6:14-18 and 2 Corinthians 7:1). Confession of our sins (1 John 1:9). Don’t follow your heart when making decisions (Jeremiah 17:9). Be humble. Compare these verses. Imitate Jesus (Philippians 2:6-8). Not to please ourselves. Seek to be a blessing to others (Romans 15:3). God requires it (Micah 6:8). God humbles us, which is a good thing (1 Samuel 2:7 and Matthew 23:10-12). God tests us. He knows, but we don’t (Deuteronomy 8:2-3). When we are proud, it shows our character (1 John 1:8). Refusing to be humble can lead to God bringing disasters in our life (1 Kings 21:29)].