"Choose This Day Whom You Will Serve"
Πόθεν πόλεμοι καὶ πόθεν μάχαι
ἐκ τῶν ἡδονῶν ὑμῶν τῶν στρατευομένων
ἐν τοῖς μέλεσιν ὑμῶν;
ἐπιθυμεῖτε καὶ οὐκ ἔχετε,
Assertion (Explains v 1)
καὶ ζηλοῦτε καὶ οὐ δύνασθε ἐπιτυχεῖν,
μάχεσθε καὶ πολεμεῖτε,
Restatement 2a, 2c
διὰ τὸ μὴ αἰτεῖσθαι ὑμᾶς,
αἰτεῖτε καὶ οὐ λαμβάνετε
διότι κακῶς αἰτεῖσθε,
ἵνα ἐν ταῖς ἡδοναῖς ὑμῶν δαπανήσητε.
Explains 3b (Purpose 3b)
οὐκ οἴδατε ὅτι
ἡ φιλία τοῦ κόσμου ἔχθρα τοῦ θεοῦ ἐστιν;
ὃς ἐὰν οὖν βουληθῇ φίλος εἶναι τοῦ κόσμου,
Inference 4c ("If")
ἐχθρὸς τοῦ θεοῦ καθίσταται.
Result 4d ("Then")
The Humble Receive Grace
ἢ δοκεῖτε ὅτι κενῶς ἡ γραφὴ λέγει•
Rhetorical Question (Quote)
πρὸς φθόνον ἐπιποθεῖ τὸ πνεῦμα
ὃ κατῴκισεν ἐν ἡμῖν,
μείζονα δὲ δίδωσιν χάριν;
ὁ θεὸς ὑπερηφάνοις ἀντιτάσσεται,
ταπεινοῖς δὲ δίδωσιν χάριν.
ὑποτάγητε οὖν τῷ θεῷ,
ἀντίστητε δὲ τῷ διαβόλῳ
Imperative 2 (Wisdom)
καὶ φεύξεται ἀφʼ ὑμῶν,
ἐγγίσατε τῷ θεῷ
Imperative 3 (Wisdom)
καὶ ἐγγιεῖ ὑμῖν.
Humility & Exaltation
καὶ ἁγνίσατε καρδίας,
ὁ γέλως ὑμῶν εἰς πένθος μετατραπήτω
καὶ ἡ χαρὰ εἰς κατήφειαν.
ταπεινώθητε ἐνώπιον τοῦ κυρίου
Restatement / Conclusion
καὶ ὑψώσει ὑμᾶς.
Servants of the Law
Μὴ καταλαλεῖτε ἀλλήλων, ...
ὁ καταλαλῶν ἀδελφοῦ
ἢ κρίνων τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ
Grounding Wisdom 11b
καὶ κρίνει νόμον•
εἰ δὲ νόμον κρίνεις,
Condition 11h-f ("if")
οὐκ εἶ ποιητὴς νόμου
Result 11g (Explains 11c-f)
εἷς ἐστιν [ὁ] νομοθέτης
ὁ δυνάμενος σῶσαι
σὺ δὲ τίς εἶ
Question / Contrast 12a-d
ὁ κρίνων τὸν πλησίον;
Living As A Vapor
σήμερον ἢ αὔριον πορευσόμεθα εἰς τήνδε τὴν πόλιν
καὶ ποιήσομεν ἐκεῖ ἐνιαυτὸν
οἵτινες οὐκ ἐπίστασθε τὸ τῆς αὔριον ποία
ἡ ζωὴ ὑμῶν•
ἀτμὶς γάρ ἐστε
ἡ πρὸς ὀλίγον φαινομένη,
ἔπειτα καὶ ἀφανιζομένη.
ἀντὶ τοῦ λέγειν ὑμᾶς•
ἐὰν ὁ κύριος θελήσῃ
καὶ ποιήσομεν τοῦτο ἢ ἐκεῖνο.
νῦν δὲ καυχᾶσθε ἐν ταῖς ἀλαζονείαις ὑμῶν•
πᾶσα καύχησις τοιαύτη πονηρά ἐστιν.
Inference / Warning
εἰδότι ... καλὸν ποιεῖν
καὶ μὴ ποιοῦντι,
ἁμαρτία αὐτῷ ἐστιν.
Warning / Assertion
"In this event, it seems better to understand “spirit” (πνεῦμα) as the human spirit, for James just finished calling his audience “adulteresses” in their relationship with God and is not likely to be thinking of the Holy Spirit living in them at this point." Craig L. Blomberg and Mariam J. Kamell, James , vol. 16, Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008), 192.
These two opening questions serve as the outline for much of what follows. Interestingly, James points us to the root cause of quarreling and jealousy. There is a spiritual war going on among our members. Most immediately, this spiritual war will either ally a person with the world, or with God (see v 4).
It is instructive to read this verse directly following verse 1
Here again it is the inward passion which is highlighted (v 1d). It is the desire of the world which sets us against God, because the world is hostile to God.
A strikingly explicit call to repentance.
See Isa 54:6; 57:3; Jer 3:20; Ezek 16:38; 23:45; Matt 12:39; 16:4)
" We have no evidence that James's readers were overtly disclaiming God and consciously deciding to follow the world instead. But their tendency to imitate the world by discriminating against people (2:1-13), by speaking negatively of others (3:1-12), by exhibiting 'bitter envy' and 'selfish ambition' (3:13-18), and by pursuing their own destructive pleasures (4:1-3) amounted to just that. James, as it were, wants to raise the stakes so that his readers see their compromising conduct for what it really is. God tolerates no rival. When believers behave in a worldly manner, they demonstrate that, at that point, their allegiance is to the world rather than to God ." (Douglas Moo, 187)
I believe that two Biblical themes are being quoted here: the jealousy of God for his people (Exod 20:5; 34:14; Zech 8:2), and God's compassion towards them (Exodus 34:6).
The key to understanding this verse lies in the previous one. Verse 4 sets the context of these verses as the marriage-love that God has for his people. His people have responded by being adulteress, and God has judged them harshly because of his jealousy for them. However, his grace is sufficient to meet the requirements of that jealousy which he has for us. The one who is humble, who turns to God and forsakes the world, will be exalted above all.
The inference here stems specifically from God's superior grace. Because God's grace is greater than his jealousy over our spirit, the proud are brought low, but the humble are exalted.
7b-8b fall under the subheading of "submit yourselves therefore to God."
Why is this part specifically wise? Because it is precisely the kind of promise that we need from God to press on in our faith. It is as sweet as honey to know that Satan is promised a retreat, and that God is promised an embrace.
Matt 23:12; Luke 14:11
James is effectively saying here that God is fiercely jealous for us to do good, yet his grace beckons us to him. Come, Christian! Come humbly, to receive grace from the God of heaven!
As a passage, I would not make a separation here. However I would desire to preach two sermons from 5-8b and 8c-10.
Here I think James's imperative lands most emphatically. If we make ourselves judges (Jas 2:4), then we are no longer doers of the law. In fact, judging the law and doing the law here is seen as obviously incompatible. Therefore James calls us to be first and foremost doers of the law. He uses this calling as the basis for his command, "Do not speak evil of one another"
James's point should be clear by now. Therefore his question hangs as an invitation to repent. We are not God. God is God. Therefore we are not judges of the law, because God alone is the Judge.
Πόθεν πόλεμοι καὶ πόθεν μάχαι ἐν ὑμῖν; οὐκ ἐντεῦθεν, ἐκ τῶν ἡδονῶν ὑμῶν τῶν στρατευομένων ἐν τοῖς μέλεσιν ὑμῶν;
ἐπιθυμεῖτε καὶ οὐκ ἔχετε, φονεύετε καὶ ζηλοῦτε καὶ οὐ δύνασθε ἐπιτυχεῖν, μάχεσθε καὶ πολεμεῖτε, οὐκ ἔχετε διὰ τὸ μὴ αἰτεῖσθαι ὑμᾶς,
αἰτεῖτε καὶ οὐ λαμβάνετε διότι κακῶς αἰτεῖσθε, ἵνα ἐν ταῖς ἡδοναῖς ὑμῶν δαπανήσητε.
μοιχαλίδες, οὐκ οἴδατε ὅτι ἡ φιλία τοῦ κόσμου ἔχθρα τοῦ θεοῦ ἐστιν; ὃς ἐὰν οὖν βουληθῇ φίλος εἶναι τοῦ κόσμου, ἐχθρὸς τοῦ θεοῦ καθίσταται.
ἢ δοκεῖτε ὅτι κενῶς ἡ γραφὴ λέγει• πρὸς φθόνον ἐπιποθεῖ τὸ πνεῦμα ὃ κατῴκισεν ἐν ἡμῖν,
μείζονα δὲ δίδωσιν χάριν; διὸ λέγει• ὁ θεὸς ὑπερηφάνοις ἀντιτάσσεται, ταπεινοῖς δὲ δίδωσιν χάριν.
ὑποτάγητε οὖν τῷ θεῷ, ἀντίστητε δὲ τῷ διαβόλῳ καὶ φεύξεται ἀφʼ ὑμῶν,
ἐγγίσατε τῷ θεῷ καὶ ἐγγιεῖ ὑμῖν. καθαρίσατε χεῖρας, ἁμαρτωλοί, καὶ ἁγνίσατε καρδίας, δίψυχοι.
ταλαιπωρήσατε καὶ πενθήσατε καὶ κλαύσατε. ὁ γέλως ὑμῶν εἰς πένθος μετατραπήτω καὶ ἡ χαρὰ εἰς κατήφειαν.
ταπεινώθητε ἐνώπιον τοῦ κυρίου καὶ ὑψώσει ὑμᾶς.
Μὴ καταλαλεῖτε ἀλλήλων, ἀδελφοί. ὁ καταλαλῶν ἀδελφοῦ ἢ κρίνων τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ καταλαλεῖ νόμου καὶ κρίνει νόμον• εἰ δὲ νόμον κρίνεις, οὐκ εἶ ποιητὴς νόμου ἀλλὰ κριτής.
εἷς ἐστιν [ὁ] νομοθέτης καὶ κριτὴς ὁ δυνάμενος σῶσαι καὶ ἀπολέσαι• σὺ δὲ τίς εἶ ὁ κρίνων τὸν πλησίον;
Ἄγε νῦν οἱ λέγοντες• σήμερον ἢ αὔριον πορευσόμεθα εἰς τήνδε τὴν πόλιν καὶ ποιήσομεν ἐκεῖ ἐνιαυτὸν καὶ ἐμπορευσόμεθα καὶ κερδήσομεν•
οἵτινες οὐκ ἐπίστασθε τὸ τῆς αὔριον ποία ἡ ζωὴ ὑμῶν• ἀτμὶς γάρ ἐστε ἡ πρὸς ὀλίγον φαινομένη, ἔπειτα καὶ ἀφανιζομένη.
ἀντὶ τοῦ λέγειν ὑμᾶς• ἐὰν ὁ κύριος θελήσῃ καὶ ζήσομεν καὶ ποιήσομεν τοῦτο ἢ ἐκεῖνο.
νῦν δὲ καυχᾶσθε ἐν ταῖς ἀλαζονείαις ὑμῶν• πᾶσα καύχησις τοιαύτη πονηρά ἐστιν.
εἰδότι οὖν καλὸν ποιεῖν καὶ μὴ ποιοῦντι, ἁμαρτία αὐτῷ ἐστιν.