James 4 … Consider His Greater Grace

But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble,” (4:6).

James continues laying out the case that His Wisdom from Above is essential in body life, describing a litany of behaviors that are fueled by the flesh rather than faith: quarrels, conflicts, war, lust, envy, wrong motives, and adulterous friendships with the world. It’s what a mere verbal profession of faith looks like, a faith without works.

Later, James will address slanderous speech, judgmental attitudes, and the arrogance of making our plans without consulting the will of the Lord.

But sandwiched between the list of flawed attitudes and dealings towards others and our distorted obsession with self, is a declaration of God’s desire to dwell with the likes of us. It’s really beyond belief. But His Word has declared it, so we will believe it.

Or do you think that the Scripture says to no purpose, “He jealously desires the Spirit whom He has made to dwell in us”? (4:5).

And the focus of attention lands on the only One Worthy of the limelight. And it is not just His Grace (as if that weren’t enough), but it is His Greater Grace that is brought to the forefront of it all.

But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble,” (4:6).

Consider His Greater Grace

Let’s begin by looking at the Greek definition of this amazing word, Grace.

Grace: 5485. χάρις cháris; gen. cháritos, fem. noun from chaírō (5463), to rejoice. Grace, particularly that which causes joy, pleasure, gratification, favor, acceptance, for a kindness granted or desired, a benefit, thanks, gratitude. A favor done without expectation of return; the absolutely free expression of the loving kindness of God to men finding its only motive in the bounty and benevolence of the Giver; unearned and unmerited favor, Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.

His Grace is His free expressions of kindness without expectation of return. He has granted His Grace in His creation that we enjoy, in the sun shining, the moonlight, the rain falling, and air to breath; and there is nothing we could possibly give in return for such Grace.

More than thirty years ago, as a mom of a kindergartner and a toddler, I attended a community Bible Study. Our lead teacher had lost her college-aged son in a freak drowning accident some many years before. While I cannot remember her name, I will never forget the words she spoke, as though I heard her speak today, “I am convinced, but for the grace of God, we would all die in our grief.” I couldn’t even begin to comprehend her grief. Nor did I want to.

But that truth has stayed with me all these years. His Grace. It is not only given to believers.

Prevenient grace is a phrase used to describe the grace given by God that precedes the act of a sinner exercising saving faith in Jesus Christ. The term prevenient comes from a Latin word that meant ”to come before, to anticipate.” https://www.gotquestions.org/prevenient-grace.html

God’s prevenient Grace comes before salvation; and it is His Grace that provides for all His creation the gifts of life, a new day, a new breath, and love.

And I’m sure we all agree His Grace is beyond Great. But James is inspired to write of His Greater Grace.

Greater: 78.2 μέγαςb, μεγάλη, μέγα; μεγάλως; μέγεθος, ους n: the upper range of a scale of extent, with the possible implication of importance in relevant contexts—‘great, greatly, greatness, to a great degree, intense, terrible,’ Louw- Nida Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament.

Studying this in the context of this passage, His Greater Grace implies that God places a great degree of importance on His gift of humility.

But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble,” (4:6).

And while all of His creation certainly enjoys His many gifts of Grace for life and sustenance, His heart for all of mankind is not to merely enjoy His gifts. His Heart is that His prevenient Grace would move people to seek Him so as to reach out and find Him.

 and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, 27 that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us, (Acts 17:26-27).

It is His Greater Grace that humbles us to understand how very far we fall short of His righteous glory and how very much we need His gift of redeeming Grace.

even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, (Romans 3:22-24).

And His Greater Grace invites us to walk in the Unchangeable Goodness of His Law of Liberty that we would look up from our humble position to live by faith in His Wisdom from Above.

  • He Gives His Greater Grace that we would live in submission to Him and resistance to the devil.
    • Submit therefore to God. But resist the devil, and he will flee from you, (4:7).
  • He Gives His Greater Grace that we would live in intimate fellowship with Him.
    • Come close to God and He will come close to you… (4:8).
  • He Gives His Greater Grace that we would desire holiness and purity in our actions, our desires, and our minds.
    • …Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded, (4:8).
  • He Gives His Greater Grace that we would solemnly grieve our sin.
    • Be miserable, and mourn, and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy into gloom, (4:9).
  • He Gives His Greater Grace that we would trust Him as we take our rightful place before Him.
    • Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you, (4:10).

How do we respond to His Greater Grace?

Only God. Only God can work in us by His Greater Grace that we would be content with not being right, not being heard, not being first, and even being overlooked. Only God.

But Jesus came first to show us how to walk in His Greater Grace of humility.

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross, (Philippians 2:5-8).

Let’s not forget that He gives His Greater Grace without expecting anything in return. Because the truth is what do we possibly have to give Him in return for such Greatness?

But faith without works is dead. So let us respond by showing our living sacrificial faith with works as we daily bow our knee before Him in humility and gratitude for His Greater Grace. After all, isn’t it really the only acceptable thing to do?

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship, (Romans 12:2).

Let’s Grow Together!

Leave a Reply