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Bible Commentaries

Morgan's Exposition on the Whole Bible

James 4

Verses 1-17

The writer now dealt with the effect of faith on character. Everything depends on desire. To attempt to satisfy a natural desire without reference to God is futile, and issues in internal conflict and outward warfare and strife. The writer inquired, "Doth the Spirit which He made to dwell in us long unto envying?" It is self-evident that the Spirit of God does not create desire which issues in envying.

The divine corrective of such a condition is, first, that God "giveth more grace . . . to the humble." In the infinite grace of God there is ample supply to counteract all the forces of evil. The responsibility is revealed in a series of injunctions. With regard to Satan, first must be submission to God, and then resistance. It is not enough, however, to draw nigh to God and then to be careless in conduct. "Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh unto you." In the sense of the resulting nearness it is possible to cleanse the hands, that is, to correct the conduct; and to purify the heart, that is, to make right the character.

Such attitudes of life will result, first, in right relationship with man. Living faith in God ever creates in the heart of man the consciousness that his judgment of another may be partial and mistaken, but only God knows the deepest facts. Therefore faith in God means a dependence on Him that is actual and active. It is in connection with this argument that the principle is laid down that "to him therefore that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin." The reference is to the saying, "If the Lord will." Thus it is shown that the neglect of any right habit, even in speech, is of the nature of sin.

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Bibliographical Information
Morgan, G. Campbell. "Commentary on James 4". "Morgan's Exposition on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gcm/james-4.html. 1857-84.