Promises Made. Promises Kept. (James 4:7-8)
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. —James 4:7-8
Throughout Scripture, one of the glorious pictures of God’s relationship with his people is that of marriage. James picks up on this picture. God is the always-faithful, never-failing husband who yearns jealously for his bride (James 4:5). Sadly, however, we are the ever-distracted bride constantly drawn away toward other lovers (James 4:4). While God does not tolerate marital unfaithfulness (James 4:4-5), he graciously receives his unfaithful but repentant bride (James 4:6). What does our always-faithful, never-failing husband require of his faithless bride?
“Submit yourselves therefore to God” (James 4:7). Can you imagine this scene? God has cared for us, provided for us, protected us. Still, it wasn’t enough. So, we committed adultery. He opposes the proud, but our jealous God neither abuses us nor abandons us. Instead, he promises grace. And because he offers grace, we, the adulterous bride, can humbly and willingly return under his loving leadership. That’s what it means to submit to him. What a glorious God. What a glorious gospel. Though we deserve his judgment, he offers grace: the grace of forgiveness, the grace of cleansing, the grace of endurance. Of course, this grace is available to us because Jesus, our faithful husband, chose us as his bride when we were unlovable. And now, he is at work to prepare us for the final wedding day.
As a faithful husband, God both makes promises and keeps his promises. If we resist the devil, God promises that the devil will flee from us (James 4:7). If we draw near to him, God promises to draw near to us (James 4:8). And he has, in Christ. And he is now with us, by his Spirit. So, you adulterous people, what are you waiting for? Wash up (James 4:8)! Humble yourselves and return to your faithful husband. He will not cast you out. He will welcome you and forgive you and prepare you for the final wedding day. Why would we ever turn away from such an always-faithful, never-failing husband?
Chapter 4 of James has much to say about our sinful nature, the destructiveness of pride, and the beauty and grace of humility. Read through this chapter making a list of the exhortations given you for victory in the fight of faith.
What does this chapter say about the enemies of every believer: our flesh, the world, and Satan?
How does God’s promise of grace impact you personally and practically?