« Prev James 4:6 Next »

THE GENERAL EPISTLE OF JAMES - Chapter 4 - Verse 6

Verse 6. But he giveth more grace. The reference here is undoubtedly to God. Some have regarded this clause as a continuation of the quotation in the previous verse, but it is rather to be considered as a declaration of the apostle himself. The writer had just spoken of envy, and of the crimes which grew out of it. He thought of the wars and commotions of the earth, and of the various lusts which reigned among men. In the contemplation of these things, it seems suddenly to have occurred to him that all were not under the influence of these things; that there were cases where men were restrained, and where a spirit opposite to these things prevailed. Another passage of Scripture struck his mind, containing the truth that there was a class of men to whom God gave grace to restrain these passions, and to subdue these carnal propensities. They were the humble, in contradistinction to the proud; and he states the fact that "God giveth more grace;" that is, that in some instances he confers more grace than in the cases referred to; to some he gives more grace to overcome their evil passions, and to subdue their corrupt inclinations, than he does to others. The meaning may be thus expressed: "It is true that the natural spirit in man is one that tends to envy, and thus leads to all the sad consequences of envy. But there are instances in which higher grace or favour is conferred; in which these feelings are subdued, and these consequences are prevented. They are not indeed to be found among the proud, whom God always resists; but they are to be found among the meek and the humble. Wherefore submit yourselves to his arrangements; resist the devil; draw nigh to God; purify yourselves, and weep over your past offences, and you shall find that the Lord will lift you up, and bestow his favour upon you," Jas 4:10,

Wherefore he saith. The reference here is to Pr 3:34, "Surely he scorneth the scorners; but he giveth grace unto the lowly." The quotation is made exactly from the Septuagint, which, though not entirely literal, expresses the sense of the Hebrew without essential inaccuracy. This passage is also quoted in 1 Pe 5:5.

God resisteth the proud. The proud are those who have an inordinate self-esteem; who have a high and unreasonable conceit of their own excellence or importance. This may extend to anything; to beauty, or strength, or attainments, or family, or country, or equipage, or rank, or even religion. A man may be proud of anything that belongs to him, or which can in any way be construed as a part of himself, or as pertaining to him. This does not, of course, apply to a correct estimate of ourselves, or to the mere knowledge that we may excel others. One may know that he has more strength, or higher attainments in learning or in the mechanic arts, or greater wealth than others, and yet have properly no pride in the case. He has only a correct estimate of himself, and he attaches no undue importance to himself on account of it. His heart is not lifted up; he claims no undue deference to himself; he concedes to all others what is their due; and he is humble before God, feeling that all that he has, and is, is nothing in his sight, he is willing to occupy his appropriate place in the sight of God and men, and to be esteemed just as he is. Pride goes beyond this, and gives to a man a degree of self-estimation which is not warranted by anything that he possesses. God looks at things as they are; and hence he abhors and humbles this arrogant claim, Le 26:19; Job 33:17; Ps 59:12; Pr 8:13

; Pr 16:18; Pr 29:13; Isa 23:9; Isa 28:1; Da 4:37; Zec 10:11.

This resistance of pride he shows not only in the explicit declarations of his word, but in the arrangements of his providence and grace.

(1.) In his providence, in the reverses and disappointments which occur; in the necessity of abandoning the splendid mansion which we had built, or in disappointing us in some favourite plan by which our pride was to be nurtured and gratified.

(2.) In sickness, taking away the beauty, and strength on which we had so much valued ourselves, and bringing us to the sad condition of a sick bed.

(3.) In the grave, bringing us down to corruption and worms. Why should one be proud who will soon become so offensive to his best friends that they will gladly hide him in the grave?

(4.) In the plan of salvation he opposes our pride. Not a feature of that plan is fitted to foster pride, but all is adapted to make us humble.

(a) The necessity for the plan—that we are guilty and helpless sinners;

(b)the selection of a Saviour—one who was so poor, and who was so much despised by the world, and who was put to death, on a cross;

(c) our entire dependence on him for salvation, with the assurance that we have no merit of our own, and that salvation is all of grace;

(d) the fact that we are brought to embrace it only by the agency of the Holy Spirit, and that if we were left to ourselves we should never have one right thought or holy desire—all this is fitted to humble us, and to bring us low before God. God has done nothing to foster the self-estimation of the human heart; but how much has he done to "stain the pride of all glory!" See Barnes on "Isa 23:9".

 

But giveth grace unto the humble. The meaning is, that he shows them favour; he bestows upon them the grace needful to secure their salvation. This he does

(1,) because they feel their need of his favour;

(2,) because they will welcome his teaching and value his friendship;

(3,) because all the arrangements of his grace are adapted only to such a state of mind. You cannot teach one who is so wise that he already supposes he knows enough; you cannot bestow grace on one who has no sense of the need of it. The arrangements of salvation are adapted only to an humble heart.

{a} "God resisteth the proud" Pr 29:23

« Prev James 4:6 Next »
Please login or register to save highlights and make annotations
Corrections disabled for this book
Proofing disabled for this book
Printer-friendly version





Advertisements



| Define | Popups: Login | Register | Prev Next | Help |