About Jesus   -  Steve Sweetman

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Chapters 4 and 5

Previjous Section - Chapters  2 and 3

ch. 4:1-12    ch. 4:13-17

ch. 5:1-6    ch. 5:7-12    ch. 5:13-20

Submit Yourselves To God (ch. 4:1-12)

James opens chapter four with a question. He asks, "What causes fights and quarrels among you?" He answers his question with yet another question. He answers by saying, "Donít they come from your desires that battle within you?"

The Greek word "hedone" is the word that is translated as "desire" in this verse. Our English word "hedonism" comes from this particular Greek word. Both words speaks to the "gratification of ones own desires". This is why some call our western culture a "hedonistic society" wherein our main aspiration in life is to "gratify ourselves with all sorts of pleasurable things". Our god is the satisfying of our own natural cravings. What James is saying, and it is clear in our day, is that relational problems are a result of being self centered. This is true in any kind of relationship, whether in family, friends, or in the church.

All you need to do is to sit down for a few evenings of television viewing and you can see our world deeply engrossed in its hedonistic ways. We are pursuing pleasure at a fast pace. We are gratifying ourselves with all kinds of pleasure including materialism, money, sexual pleasure and fame, only to name a few. We are running after the good life with greater vigor. We are extending the borders of this pleasure beyond its moral limits. Then we wonder why relationships are falling apart. We wonder why people are falling between the cracks of life. James makes it very clear that such a lifestyle is far from Godly.

James further comments on this hedonistic way of living by saying that these desires to put ones self first is battling within us. They are raging war within us, as the KJV expresses it. As we have noted earlier, the tendency for man is downward. The constant pull downward is always within us. We see this thought here in verse 1 as well. The hedonistic desire to put ones self first is not only always there, but trying real hard to take over our lives. We may not realize what is happening, but this is the way it is. One reason why we donít understand this as clearly as we should is because we give into this battle more often than not. The hedonistic lifestyle is more natural to us than its Godly counterpart. Since we live more hedonistically and less Godly, we donít recognize it. To put it the old fashion way, "we are more worldly than we think".

James goes on to say that "you want something Ö you killÖ you quarrel and fight". And in the midst of all this wanting "you cannot have what you want". In light of all this wanting and our hedonistic way of living, we ask God for all sorts of things, which for the most part, He does not give us what we ask for. And we wonder why our prayers arenít answered. James says that they arenít answered because "we ask with wrong motives". We ask God for things with selfish reasons, wanting more of what we really donít need.

There are many Scriptures that tell us that we should ask of God anything and He will give it to us. John 15:7 is an example of one of these verses where it says that if you abide in Jesus, you can ask whatever you will and it will be given unto you. Other Scriptures tell us to ask in "His name". There is an important point here. To receive what we ask for has certain qualifications to it. We must abide in Jesus. We must "live in His name". We represent Jesus in this world. You might compare this to an employee employer relationship today. Your employer will give you all that you need to do the job He asks you to do. If you need something for that job, you ask, and then you receive. Yet the employer is not obligated to give you anything you ask for. He is not obligated to give you such things as a new TV, car, or anything for personal use. He may at times give you a bonus that goes beyond what is needed for the job, but this is out of the goodness of his heart only. The same with Jesus. We need to ask for things that partain to His Kingdom and He will give it to us. Things outside of His Kingdom, things for our pleasure only, are given to us according to His will and desire only. I donít believe Jesus is obligated to give us a new TV, or car, or any other thing to satisfy our own hedonistic lifestyle.

In verse 4 James makes a very strong statement. He says, "you adulterous people, donít you know that friendship towards the world is hatred towards God". First of all, James calls these Christians "adulterous people". I think that he is speaking about more than just sexual adultery here. Such adultery may be included in his thinking, but I think that James is using this term in a much broader sense. He is saying that your hedonistic, self gratifying lifestyle is in fact the worship of a god that is not the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. In a real sense, you are worshipping yourself. This self worship interferes with our relationship with God. It breaks down our loyalty we should have with God. He is not happy with broken loyalties. The reason why God does not like unfaithfulness in a marriage is because of the broken relationship that results. The breaking of the marriage covenant in adultery is worse than the actual physical sin of adultery itself. God always seemed upset with Israel in the Old Testament because they were forsaking Him for other gods, or just forsaking Him to do their own thing. I always have said that idolatry is spiritual adultery. This is what James is talking about here.

James says that Christians were committing spiritual adultery by becoming to friendly with the world system. Once again, there is the old saying that says "we are to be in the world but not of the world". We are to love the people of the world but not participate in all of their activities as they do. There should be a clear line of distinction between the world and us. If this distinction is not seen, and if we are too worldly in our lifestyle, James says that we have hatred towards God. James is very pointed by using these words. It reminds me of God Himself in Old Testament days where He gets very angry at Israel for becoming to much like the secular nations that surround them. This was indeed their downfall. It is also the downfall of the church throughout the ages.

Verse 5 is not easily understood by a brief reading. It says, "or do you think that Scripture says without reason that the spirit He caused to live in us envies intensely". First of all there is no precise Old Testament Scripture that says these exact words. Where James comes up with this, we really donít know.

Theologians and Bible Scholars have two ways of looking at this verse. The questions to ask here is, whose spirit is James talking about and what is meant by the use of the word "envy"?

I think we tend to think of the word "envy" in a negative way, meaning envying as a sin. Yet in this case, the first way of viewing this verse, the word envy is not being used as a sin. Many commentators suggest that the spirit that is spoken of here is the Spirit of God that He places within us when we are truly born again. All true Christians have the Holy Spirit or else they do not belong to Christ. (Rom. 8:9) Therefore it is the Holy Spirit within us that "envies intensely". Now if this is the case, then the word "envy" doesnít mean a bad thing. It is not a sin.

The point that James may be making in these verses is that we, who have the Spirit of God within us, should not be giving ourselves whole heartedly to the world. We should be giving ourselves unreservedly to the Lord. The Holy Spirit within us is intensely envying after us. God is a jealous God. He wants us to be His and His alone. He does not want the world to have us. The KJV actually uses the word "lust" here instead of "envy". Obviously the word "lust" is being used in a positive way. We lust after bad things. God lusts after us, which is a good thing. He desires to have us with a "great intensity", as a result James uses the word envy or lust to make the point clear.

If we indeed claim to be Godís and then we give ourselves to the world, then we are committing a type adultery. Instead of devoting ourselves to our God, we forsake Him by giving ourselves to the world. God is a jealous God and does not think well of this.

The second way of looking at this verse is to say that the spirit being spoken of is not Godís Spirit, but manís spirit that he placed in us at creation. It is our spirit that envies after things it shouldnít'. For this reason James continues in verse 6 by saying that God "gives us more grace". So when we are tempted to be more worldly in our lifestyle than we should be, there is grace available for us to overcome this temptation.

It is quite difficult to say just what way James means. Whatever way you conclude, both ideas are Scriptural. The question remains, what did James have in mind when he said these particular words.

James quotes Prov. 3:34 which says, "God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble". Pride is demonstrated in a variety of ways. The fact that Israel at times made their own gods to worship is an example of pride. They believed quite proudly that they were capable of inventing their own gods. God opposes such people He did it in Old Testament days and he will do it today. We will get no where with God when we have pride in our hearts.

In verse 7 James concludes that we should submit ourselves to God. We should not submit to the world. We should not be proud in our own thinking, but submit all things to God. Then along with this submission, we should resist the devil. As we resist him, he will flee from us. "Anthistemi" is the Greek word that is translated as "resist". It means "to stand against". It suggests that when tempted by the devil, "we stand up strongly and confidently in Godís power and donít give in to him". This will result in him fleeing from us in quick measure.

Once we resist the devil James tells us "to come near to Godí, and if we do that, God "will come near to us: As we step towards Him in trust, He will come close to us. We will know His presence. We cannot resist the devil and stop at that. We need to draw close to Jesus.

In verses 9 and 10 James speaks about true repentance, although he does not actually use the word repent. Look at what he says, because what he says gives you a clear definition of what repentance is all about. He says, "wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughing to mourning, and your joy to gloom. Humble yourself before the Lord and He will lift you up". We often say that when we come to Jesus we will experience joy, but before we experience this joy we must first experience mourning, wailing, and gloom because of our sin. Repentance is key to becoming a Christian, but is not spoken of too much in many circles. I donít believe you can experience Godís joy without first experiencing gloom as a result of our sinful state that we are in. When we recognize our fallen state before God, we then can appreciate the love He shows us in salvation. Without understanding who we are without Christ, we cannot appreciate His love, and who we are in Christ.

The question was always asked in my teenage years at church, "why do we not see the miraculous today as we see in the New Testament"? I think at least one answer is found in these verses. It may well be the real answer to this question. Our friendship and love of the world hinders Godís activity in our society and lives. When as Christians, we are so in love with the world, it really must make God jealous. We must realize that God can be jealous. He wants us. He envies for us as James says.

In Matt. 19:24 and Mark 10:24 and 25 Jesus says that it is easier for a camel to go through an eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God. The idea that Jesus is speaking of a small 2 foot high door in the wall of a city when He uses the words "eye of a needle" is somewhat of an new idea. What Jesus most likely meant is what He said. It is hard for a camel to go through a sewing instrument called a needle. The point Jesus is making, no matter what way you interpret it, is that it is impossible for a camel to pass through an eye of a needle. Therefore it is highly unlikely that a rich man can enter the Kingdom of God. Jesus did not say that it is impossible for a rich man to go to Heaven. Heaven and the Kingdom of God are two different things. A rich man can be a Christian and on his way to Heaven. Yet a rich man with all of the love he has towards his riches cannot enter the present reality of the Kingdom of God. He cannot participate in the miraculous aspect of the Kingdom. He is not fully devoted to the Lord. He loves the world too much. All of what he has gets in the way of effectively entering the Kingdom of God. This is most likely why we here of the miraculous in poor countries, yet donít see it in our own nation.

Therefore, our worldly and rich society that we live in hinders us from seeing the reality of the Kingdom of God. Thus the answer to our age old question concerning why we do not see Godís power at work in our lives.

I think that we in North America are so engrossed in what we have, the good life, that we donít even realize what it means to love the Lord. We may say that we love Him on Sunday mornings in our hymns and songs, yet I am not convinced that we understand what loving God is all about. Our hearts and minds are clouded by the world around to such a degree that we simply cannot enter the Kingdom of God in all of its fullness.

In verse 11 James brings the law back into the picture. He says that if you slander one another you become a judge of the law. You are not only breaking the law but expect that the law should be judged by your standards, setting yourself above the law. You are thus becoming a judge over the law.

If we in our slandering and judgment of our brother believe that we are above the law, then we must feel that we are above the true Judge, the One who made the law. James gives a warning. He basically says that if we think like this, then we will be judged by the Judge Himself, who is able to save or destroy us. James is bringing a sense of the fear of God to his readers who seems to love the world and slanders his fellow Christian at the same time. This is a grave warning.

Boasting About Tomorrow (ch. 4:13-17)

The idea of loving the world is seen again in verse 13 which says, "you who say, today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money". These words, at least to me, paint the picture of one who is caught up in the world around him. He has his plans of going here and there doing his business, making money and living the good life, without any thought to Jesus.

James tells these people that you donít "know what will happen to you tomorrow". You cannot predict the future. You may not even be alive tomorrow. "You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes", he says. (ch. 4:14)

James tells his readers that the way we should live our lives is to stay in communion with Jesus, and acknowledge His direction in our lives. This is what is meant by his words, "if it is the Lordís will, we will live and do this or that". By saying these words, if they are also the attitude of our hearts, then we are acknowledging that we are in submission to Jesus. We are looking to Him for our future and not ourselves.

James is not saying that we should not go about and do business and earn a living and make money. He is telling us how we should go about our business, the attitude we need and the inclusion of Jesus in all we do.

One who is in love with the world makes his own plans without giving any consideration to what Jesus might have to say about things. Such a lifestyle is a boastful lifestyle, and James calls this "evil". This is not some little sin. This is very evil.

"Anyone then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesnít do it, sins". This is how James closes this chapter. I think that James knows that his readers once knew these things yet have departed from them. He thus concludes that they are sinning because they know how they should live, yet they have fallen into a worldly lifestyle instead of a Godly lifestyle, thus they live in sin each and every day.

Warning To Rich Oppressors (ch. 5:1 - 6)

In the beginning of this closing chapter James shows his dissatisfaction with those of wealth who donít treat those who are poor with dignity and love. Once again James uses some strong words against the wealthy of his day, yet eludes also to a future generation of wealthy people as well.

He opens verse 1 by saying, "now listen". These words are used for emphasis sake. He is saying that he wants his reader to place close attention to what he is about to say. He says, "you rich people, weep and wail for the misery that is coming upon you." What James is telling these people to do, is to repent. Once again, this is what true and deep repentance looks like.

He continues on by saying, "your wealth has rotted and moths have eaten your clothes". It makes you wonder if James hasnít heard these words before from his brother Jesus. You might remember Jesus saying that we should not store up treasures on earth where moths and rust corrupt them.

In verse 3 he says that "your gold and silver are corroded. There corrosion will testify against youÖ" He goes on to say in this verse that they "have hoarded wealth in the last days". Could this possibly be prophetic? Maybe James believed he was in the last days, or maybe this is a direct prophecy for those who will live in the last days. If we are in the last days, you can certainly see how these verses would apply to our society today.

Wealth in itself is not bad. The people that James is talking about are rich people who take advantage of the poor and those who work for them. He says, "their cries Ö have reached the ears of the Lord". This implies that judgment will come upon these people for their selfishness and the way the have treated others.

Verse 5 and 6 says, "you have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourself in the day of slaughter, (alternate reading Ė fattened yourself in the day of feasting). You have condemned and murdered innocent men who were not opposing you". The picture that James paints here is of those who while, supposedly worshipping the Lord, are also over indulging in the pleasures of life while they not only ignore the poor, but condemn and kill them because they get in their way. Obviously James is condemning such activity.

Patience In Suffering (ch. 5:7-12)

In the last section James was saying some very harsh things against rich people who took advantage of the poor. It sounded like James was implying that they would be judged accordingly and not make heaven as a result. The question then can be asked. Were these rich people real Christians? Remember, one of the main points to Jamesís letter is that real faith saves, and false faith doesnít. He therefore proceeds by giving examples of those with false faith. These rich people have false faith that doesnít save. That is why James says that they will receive judgment on the Day of Judgment.

Back in chapter four James told these rich people to wail, and turn their laughter into gloom. He was telling these people to repent, because without repentance there is no salvation. It is clear then that these rich people were Christian in name only. They believed they were Christians but they did not have true faith.

Now in the section to come James speaks to his poor brothers, the ones that are suffering at the hands of the rich. You will see clearly that these people are true Christians, with true faith. The two groups of people are in sharp contrast to one another.

In verse 7 James encourages his readers to "be patient". In verse 8 he says the same yet adds the words "stand firm". The admonition to "be patient and stand firm" is given in light of all the hedonistic living that was ramped in their society. Standing firm implies not giving into the ways of the world. Being patient suggests that these people, while standing firm, may find the task difficult and simply wish that Jesus would come soon and rescue them from all of this worldliness. Yet he compares their plight to that of a farmer who plants crops in his field. The farmer must be patient and continue his job in order to reap a harvest some time in the future.

James says that Jesus will return, and return soon. What soon meant to James is not really known. If by soon he meant within his lifetime, this might say something about James's eschatology. If James indeed did think that Jesus would return in a year or so, or even in his lifetime, he would then believe in the "imminent return of Christ", which many Christians have believed in over the centuries. Yet not all Christians believe in this teaching. They believe certain things must happen, must be fulfilled before Jesus returns. In many cases these things that must happen would take considerable amount of time.

Once again in verse 9 James speaks to relational issues by saying "donít grumble against one another" . Even though the readers were saved people they still grumbled, just like the Children of Israel in Old Testament days. The reason why these people should not grumble is because "the Judge is standing at the door". This is in reference to the return of Jesus. He does not want to see Godís people grumbling against one another as Jesus returns to judge such activity.

Not only did James want these people to be patient and stand firm against worldly desires, but he wanted them to "be patient in the face of suffering". (ch.5:10) James knew well what suffering meant. Many Christians fled Jerusalem because of the persecution of Christians, but James stayed behind to look after the church that was left. I can only imagine and guess that James loved his city so much, and what it represented that he would stay their until the very end.

James uses the prophets and Job as examples of being patient and receiving good things from God in Godís due time. He uses the words "finally brought about". Sometimes we have to wait and be patient before God "finally brings about His goodness" to a situation.

In verse 12 James says, "not to swear (make an oath), not by heaven or by earth or by anything else". I think what James is saying here is that people should recognize that Christians are truthful and honest in the way they live. They should not have to make oaths and covenants, as was the case in the pagan world. It should have been evident that if a Christian said he would do something, it would be done. The reliability of a Christianís word gets to the heart of his religion. Christianity is based on trust, trust in Jesus. Therefore trust in all areas of life should be clearly seen in a Christian.

The Prayer Of Faith (ch.5:13-20)

In verse 13 James asks, "is any of you in trouble?" The KJV uses the word "afflicted" instead of the word "trouble". The Greek word used here is the word "kakopatheo" which means to suffer from evil. Therefore James is addressing his point to anyone who is suffering, maybe due to persecution. If this is the place the reader finds himself in then James says "to pray".

He continues by asking, "is anyone happy? The answer is, "he should sing songs of praise". These two questions put together as they are suggest, at least to me, that not all are happy while suffering, therefore they need to pray.

Then James goes on and says that if anyone is sick, he should call the elders of the church together so that they can pray for him. Note the word "elders" is plural. Elders were a group of leaders in the local church. They were always a group and not a single person.

The elders would anoint the sick person with oil, lay hands on the sick person, and "the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well". There are many ways and means found in the New Testament that can make sick people well. This is one way. That is to say, elders come and pray for the sick person, and as the elders pray and trust Jesus, the sick person gets better. Note that the faith, or the trust is on the part of the elder in this context.

James says that "the Lord will raise him (the sick person) up". I have often heard that "prayer changes things". To be a little technical, is it really "our" prayers that change things, or is it the Lord Jesus Himself that changes things in response to our prayers. I believe the second to be true which places the emphasis on Jesus instead of our prayers.

In verse 16 James says that if "he has sinned, he will be forgiven". Some might suggest that the illness here is a result of sin because of this sentence, but that is not clearly stated. It may be possible that some sickness is a result of sin, but not necessarily. Jesus, in Mark 2:5-11 basically says that it is just as easy to say that your sins are forgiven than to say "rise and walk". James says, "if" he has sinned, suggesting that maybe he has or maybe he hasnít sinned, but if he has, he will be forgiven. This is not a text suggesting that all sickness is due to sin. It is a text stating that some sickness is a result of sin.

The Greek word "parapimoa" is the word that is translated as sin in verse 16. James tells his readers to confess your sins to one another and pray for one another. The Greek word here means "to slip up", or "a fall, a blunder", not necessarily a willful disobedience. The same word is used in Gal. 6:1 where Paul speaks of a man overtaken in a fault, a blunder, a mishap. James is encouraging us to confess such failures in our lives to each other and then to pray for one another concerning these failures.

When praying in such situations healing is a result, whether spiritual or physical healing. James seems to link confession and forgiveness, with healing of our physical bodies. Yet we cannot make this the only condition for physical healing since there are other comments made in other Scriptures concerning the subject. There are many ways in which the Lord can heal people. The confession of sin or faults is only one of these ways.

The prayers of a righteous man are very powerful James says. Righteous prayers would have to fit into the equation before someone was healed. The elders praying, must be of a righteous nature in order for their prayers to be righteous and answerable. This could be one of many reasons why some of our prayers arenít answered.

At this point I'd like to insert an article I wrote on verses 13 through 16. 

Healing - James 5:13 - 17

 

My following comments are in response to the following questions.

 

Expectation of Healing

 

Should we have some expectation of healing from James 5:13-16?

 

Does ďsickĒ mean physical sickness or spiritual sickness?

 

If spiritual, is it: unbelief, wicked acts, misunderstanding, or error?

 

If physical, is it: illness due to germs (e.g. flu, measles, HIV), illness due to poisoning, illness due to injury, malfunction due to malformation, malfunction due to deterioration?

 

If we should have an expectation of healing, why are we not seeing it happen?

     Are the people who we call elders really the ďeldersĒ as described in these verses?

     Do these people understand how to offer prayer in faith?

 

The passage seems, in English translations, to make a distinction between physical illness and sin. If the meaning is as it appears, the believer is guaranteed healing, when in right relationship in the body.

 

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I believe the sickness in James 5:14 is physical sickness.  The Greek word "astheneo" suggest to have little, or, to be without physical strength. Why the person might be sick is not stated in this passage.  Some might suggest that the sickness is due to sin since in verses 15 and 16 speak of being forgiven of sin when a person is healed of a sickness.  I'm not convinced that James is speaking of sickness due to sin because of that statement.  He might well have had Jesus statement in mind when He said something to the effect, "what's the difference between saying you are healed and your sins are forgiven (Matthew 9:2 and 5)."  In one sense of the word, all sickness is due to original sin (Genesis 3). 

 

"Let him call" is an aorist, middle deponent, imperative, Greek verb.  Aorist means a successful, one time, action.  In this case, the one calling the elders for the prayer of healing should expect the elders to come and pray for him.  Middle voice means the subject of a sentence is receiving the action.  In this case, the one calling for the elders to pray is receiving the action of prayer.  Imperative suggests a command. In this case, it's a decisive action on the part of the one calling for prayer.  The verb "should call" suggests to me that the sick one has an expectation of healing at some point after being prayed for by the elders. 

 

James says the elders will anoint the sick person with oil.  James' Jewishness is showing through here.  Anointing with oil is an Old Testament practice.  We know that James did not forsake Old Testament style practices to the same extent as Paul.  Paul gave no such instruction for praying for the sick.

 

Note the word "elders" is plural, not singular.  The sick person is not calling on his pastor for prayer.  He's calling on elders to pray for him.  This opens up the whole discussion concerning what New Testament elders are.  I would suggest that many, and maybe most, pastors in the western world church, are not Biblical based elders.  What James had in mind concerning elders may be hard to find today. That being said, when I was healed of Diabetes, one pastor anointed me with oil, while others laid hands on me during the prayer.  

 

The prayer of healing is made "in the name of the Lord", James says.  This is important.  In the name of the Lord means the elders who are praying for the sick person is acting on the behalf of Jesus.  They are not acting on the behalf of themselves, the church, or, the one asking for prayer.  Acting on the behalf of Jesus might well suggest, as old time Evangelicals used to say, "the will of God".  That is to say, if it is God's will, the sick person will be healed.  I don't think we should rule this thought out as those of the hyper faith persuasion do.

 

"The prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well (NIV) " or, "the prayer of faith (trust in Jesus) will heal (Greek sozo - future, active, indicative) the sick.  The verb tense suggest an expectation of healing.  The future tense might suggest a healing, but possibly, not at the same time the prayer is offered.  I'm sure some will debate this point, but we are talking about the future tense.  The future might be in respect to the time when prayer was requested, or, the future tense might be in respect to the time when the prayer is offered to the Lord.

 

At the time of prayer, or, possibly the time of healing, sins will be forgiven, that is, "if" he has sinned, as seen in the NIV. 

 

"Therefore confess your sins Ö"  Confess is translated from the Greek verb "exomologeo", a present, middle, imperative, verb, meaning, the confession is a decisive action in the present tense.  There's no beating around the bush about the confession of sin.  The word "sin" is translated from the Greek word "paraptoma"; a blunder, a lapse in judgment, or a false step.  Whether James is thinking of outright defiance of God or a simple blunder needs more consideration.

 

Once you confess your sins or blunders to "one another", not necessarily to the elders, "you may be healed" - Greek; "aiomai" (aorist, passive, subjective) - to heal, is used spiritually, figuratively, and physically in the New Testament.  Aorist, passive, subjunctive, means the healing is "probable" at some particular time, and as earlier stated, maybe not at the time of prayer.

 

Note that the prayer of "a righteous man" is powerful.  An unrighteous man's prayer, elder in this case, is not powerful.   

 

I believe I can safely say according to this passage that if a sick person calls legitimate elders, and if the elders are acting in God's will, the sick person can expect healing as some point, but not necessarily at the time of prayer.  All this being said, these 3 verses must be considered in light of every other Biblical passage concerning healing.  For example, 1 Peter 3:7 says that if a husband does not treat his wife properly, it may hinder his prayers. So, I suggest that if such a man calls the elders for prayer and if he is not treating his wife properly, he should have no expectation of healing. 

 

The simple fact as I see it is that the Bible does not teach any one clear cut way in which we can obtain physical healing from Jesus.  I've personally tried every way in which people were healed in the Bible, from fasting, praying in faith, calling on elders, casting out demons, and more, and, I'm still not healed.  In the final analysis I trust Jesus whether I'm healed or not.  Although hyper faith folk call that lack of faith, I call it real faith.

 

In verse 17 and 18 James uses Elijah as an example of a righteous man. James says that "he was a man like us". He was no different than us. Elijah was a righteous man. God answered his prayers, and He will answer ours too.

Unlike Paul, James has no elaborate ending to his letter, no words that we would call a doxology. James simply says, "whoever turns a sinner from the error of his ways will save him from death, and cover over a multitude of sins". When we as sinners come to Jesus our sins are covered over and at the Day of Judgment our Lord will not hold us accountable for these sins. Therefore if we help others to come to Jesus, we save them from judgment and the resulting penalty. James leaves us with this thought, which can be said is the greatest thing that we could do for someone. After all that James has said, he leaves us with the idea that we should be thinking of others and there eternal salvation, just the opposite to the hedonistic lifestyle that comes so natural to us.

 

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