To one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.
James 4 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious 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 with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. 4 You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: “He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us”? 6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 7 Submit 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 miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.
11 Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it. 12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor?
13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” 14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” 16 But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. 17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.
In Matthew 7:7-8 Jesus says: Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. In John 14:13-14 He says: Whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Philippians 4:19 says: My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. God wants to give us good things. James 1:17 says: Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. God isn’t though a magic genie. He doesn’t grant us everything we wish for. When there are times that we may not receive all that we ask for, we shouldn’t question God’s ability or His desire to meet our needs. Today’s text says: What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. God will supply for all of our needs, but He will not satisfy our greed. We cannot ask in Jesus name for something that is opposed to God’s will. God will not give us things that will harm us. Psalm 37:4 says: Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. As we focus on God, our hearts become aligned with His. There is no doubt that if we ask for what He wants us to have, He will give it to us.
The text says: You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: “He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us”? But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you. If we come into alignment and agreement with the world and its immorality; if we resist God rather than resisting the devil; if we are friends of the world, we make ourselves opposed to and enemies of God. In Matthew 12:30 Jesus says: “Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me.” We cannot align ourselves with those who oppose God and His commandments; with those who promote immorality or with those who call the murder of babies in the womb a choice, and claim to be friends of God. If we are not working with Him to establish His will and His kingdom on earth, then we are working against Him. In order to draw near to God we must come with cleansed hands and purified hearts, cleansed and purified by the blood of Christ shed to redeem us from the very things that the world embraces. How could we embrace the very thing that Christ suffered and died to free us from?
Today’s text ends saying: Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin. Those who are in the world might be able to say that they do not know what God’s word says and what His will is, but for the church, for anyone who says that they know and love the Lord, for anyone who knows what is right; to stand for righteousness and oppose evil, for them to embrace the evil and darkness of the world is sin. In Isaiah 5:20 God says: Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! In John 3:16-21 Jesus says: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but so that the world might be saved through Him. The one who believes in Him is not judged; the one who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the Light; for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light, so that his deeds will not be exposed. But the one who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds will be revealed as having been performed in God.” Those who choose darkness over light cannot say that they believe in Jesus because they diminish and despise the sacrifice He made on the cross. In John 15:22-25 Jesus says: “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates Me hates My Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well. But they have done this to fulfill the word that is written in their Law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’” 1 Peter 4:17-19 says: It is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner? Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.
May this excerpt from Psalm 119 be our declaration and prayer: How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth! From Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way. Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path. I have sworn and I will confirm it, That I will keep Your righteous ordinances. Revive me, O Lord, according to Your word. O accept the freewill offerings of my mouth, O Lord, And teach me Your ordinances. My life is continually in my hand, Yet I do not forget Your law. The wicked have laid a snare for me, Yet I have not gone astray from Your precepts. I have inherited Your testimonies forever, For they are the joy of my heart. I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes Forever, even to the end. I hate those who are double-minded, But I love Your law. You are my hiding place and my shield; wait for Your word. Depart from me, evildoers, That I may observe the commandments of my God. Thank You heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ and precious Holy Spirit. Amen.