Thursday, December 23, 2021

James 3:17-18

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17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. ~ James 3:17-18

Today, we return to James 3 where the main topic is God's wisdom that yields His righteousness. Having given us a look at worldly wisdom, James, in today's passage, gives us a deeper understanding of God's multi-faceted wisdom and how it is expressed in and through our daily lives.

In v.17 of today's passage we read, "But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere."

The first expression of God's wisdom in the life of the yielded believer in Christ is it is "pure." The Greek word James uses here implies sincere and authentic character which is free from bitter envy, and selfish ambition. This purity means freedom from all defilement, including jealousy, selfish ambition and immorality. This pureness comes only through the blood of Jesus Christ cleansing us from our sins. As a result, God's imparted nature and rule results in the yielded believer experiencing a life free of arrogant self-promotion. 

The person who has come into a personal relationship with God and is being defined by Him is a person who is being given the heart of God. Once the believer experiences the heart of God for himself, he will begin to be motivated by pure desires which push him along in doing God’s will. The believer who is engaged in personal relationship with God hates his sin, and has a longing for that which brings pleasure to the One who has gone through Hell to redeem him.

In addition, the wisdom of God is also "peace-lovingwhich causes the believer to extend God's peace to others. Since the believer in Christ has peace with God and he knows the peace of God, he wants others to know the blessing of being defined by God's peace. The believer has this posture because he has come to the place where he no longer has anything to prove to God or to others. His identity is now wrapped up in His Savior's love for him.

The Greek word James uses to describe this peace is eirēnikē which literally means peace victory. This word has as its foundation gentleness which is produced by God's peace. When we have come to Christ and we have been embraced by Him, we know we have arrived in Him. The scratching and clawing to be somebody has come to an end and we are rendered gentle and humble at heart. 

Eirēnikē causes the believer to be "considerate" of those who know not God. This consideration of those not in God's family motivates him to be submissive to the will of God for the sake of the unsaved. God's wisdom causes the believer to submit to dishonor, disgrace, mistreatment, persecution with an attitude of humility, kindness, without hatred, malice, and revenge. The yielded believer in Christ is enabled to do this because he is no longer defined by the things of this world and he has nothing to lose.

The believer who is being defined by God's wisdom will be "full of mercy" which literally means to be concerned for people who suffer. These are those who have basked in the acceptance of God's mercy for them. Have you noticed yet that this description of God's wisdom parallels the beatitudes in Matthew 5? The evidence of saving faith is the presence of God's wisdom in the life of the believer. And, that wisdom describes the process of a changed heart given in Matthew 5.

As the believer yields his life to the person of Christ, he will experience the life of the Lord Jesus for himself. This will result in the believer being full of "good fruit." This fruit is the expressions of the Lord Jesus in and through the life of the believer who is yielded to Christ. He will be yielded because he is experiencing the Lord Jesus for himself. And, once he has experienced such, he inevitably will want to pass it on to others, especially those who treat him badly because they are trapped in the web of the deceitful one.

The impact of the wisdom of God also yields impartiality and sincerity in the life of the yielded believer. The wisdom of God  is without partiality, and this is the only place in the New Testament this term is used. It means to be unwavering, undivided in its commitment. There’s no vacillating, no shifting or no turning away. It means the believer is consistently committed to the heart of the One who has intercepted him. This is the person who lets his light shine consistently before men who, in seeing his good works, can glorify the Father in heaven. 

And then finally, the last description of the person who is garnering God's wisdom is he is sincere. To be sincere is to be genuine and without hypocrisy. This is the climax of true wisdom. As Christ lives His life through the yielded life of the believer, these characteristics will come through.

In v.18 of today's passage we read, "Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness."

The acquisition of God's wisdom by the yielded believer yields the fruit of God's righteousness which is re-sown by them who have experienced God and His peace for themselves. This is the law of sowing and reaping. Where we have true wisdom, the true righteousness of God will be shown. As we sow His fruit of righteousness, it will produce more righteousness. As a result, God’s wisdom will be revealed in the way we live. And, it will be out of this intimacy with Him that we will grow to love, obey and serve Him more and more. Through this natural process He will manifest Himself through our yielded lives. And, in the end, there will be no glory but only to the One who laid down His life for His friends.