Tuesday, February 13, 2007

James Thoughts, Part Three

Context, Context, Context
James 4:2b says, “You do not have because you do not ask God.” This has been pirated by "name it and claim it" folks who use the verse to put the fault/potential on the Believer to get God to do what we want Him to do. You simply must ask, with faith. If you don’t have insert thing here, it’s because you are not asking. But the context for this verse is so important, because the issue that James is addressing is not faith (or lack thereof) but dependence on God. People are trying to meet their own needs by fighting and quarreling, coveting and killing. They don’t have because they are trying to supply their own needs rather than asking God, depending on Him to supply their needs. Their motives of independence and self are revealed in verse 3, when they are called out for spending their blessings on themselves.

Smackdown… Or Is It?
So in 4:4-5, it seems that James is finally letting them have it – now they can feel nice and guilty for being such rotten Christians. Calls them adulterous people who are making the Spirit of God jealous. Go ahead James, land the knockout blow! But then, in verse 6 it says, “But He gives us more grace.” They’ve blown it, raised God’s ire – adulterous people for crying out loud. This is true for all of us. BUT He gives us more grace. If you operate in independence (pride), God opposes you. But if you are dependent (humble), He gives you more grace. Humility and dependence begets grace.

1 comment:

Alex said...

this is some good stuff on James, Marsh...reading your posts has inspired me to do James in SGVC this year.

One question: what did you/your small group do with chapter 1 with the part where God gives genrously to all without finding fault UNLESS you're a doubter, in which case you shouldn't expect to receive anything at all. It seems that's a pretty significant blockage...and I'm having a hard time finding a way around it.