James 4.1

James employs the imagery of two natures in the believer in showing how not to yield to worldly desires, but to resist the devil. Here praying ‘amiss’ is defined, and prayer priorities listed. Here also – how the Spirit gives far superior favours than those of the world.

James is probably the oldest book of the New Testament, written somewhere between 40 and 50 AD, and many commentators point out that it demonstrates the best Greek in the New Testament – James was an educated man, and likely a younger half-brother of the Lord (not James the apostle).

Christ’s earthly brothers clearly believed in him as a perfect and godly man, and a wonderful prophet. But they did not believe in him (we’re told in the Gospel of John) as Messiah. They never grasped that. They never understood that until later on, James included.

And James later became, it appears, the principal pastor at the church at Jerusalem for some 30 years.  And this is the first of all New Testament epistles. As it comes from one of the principal, static pastor-preachers, surely It reflects the very first preaching of the Church of Christ  – the first written pastoral direction of the New Testament. 

He is writing primarily to Jewish converts, but to Gentiles also.  He mentions the twelve tribes who were scattered abroad.  There had been several scatterings of the Jews (eg 722 BC, the fall of Samaria, when Israel – the ten northern kingdoms – went into captivity and were dispersed). The gospel had spread, and many of those Jews were converted. And then there were others later on among the Jews in Jerusalem who had also been dispersed because of persecution in Jerusalem, and so James addresses them.

James describes himself as a servant – literally, a slave. One who is wholly at the disposal of his Lord, one who does the will of his Lord.

That should be true of all of us. How much we owe to Jesus Christ, who came and took personally on Calvary’s cross the punishment of our sin. and brought us to Himself, and gave us eternal life. We owe Him everything, and we should be wholly available to Haim.

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