We’ll finish our study of James, chapter 3, by studying the character of the wisdom God gives. I originally thought we’d do this in one day, but there’s enough meat here to spend two days on. At the beginning of each section, I’ll give you the definition of the word as it appears in Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries.
Jam. 3:17-18 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, , and. (18) And the fruit of righteousness is of them that make peace.
GG53 hag-nos’ From the same as G40; properly clean, that is, (figuratively) innocent, modest, perfect: – chaste, clean, pure.
I think Robertson expresses this well when he says “pure from fault, not half-good and half-bad.” (Word Pictures In The New Testament by A. T. Robertson)
In our day, a person is considered wise if he is able to get opposing sides to make concessions and meet in the middle. While there is room for this in some areas, there is no room for compromise when God has spoken. We can’t take a little good and a little bad, mix them together and call it wisdom.
The ecumenical trend among churches today is to pretend that all religions are equal. “Don’t say we’re wrong,” they say, “and we won’t criticize you.” But when two statements about God contradict each other, at least one of them is wrong. When one religious leader says, “God loves us too much to send anyone to Hell,” and another says, “Unless ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish,” someone’s right and someone’s wrong.
I heard Dr. Mickey Carter preach a message about incrementalism at Shawnee Baptist Church. He said the world constantly confronts Christians. They demand that we accept wickedness. When we object, they call us unreasonable and, in a show of friendliness, they offer to meet us half way. “We’ll settle for less than what we want,” they say, “if you’ll come a little our way.” “It is wicked,” he said, “to compromise when God has spoken.” Godly wisdom is not a mix of good and bad – it is pure goodness.
G1516 i-ray-nee-kos’ From G1515; pacific; by implication salutary: – peaceable.
The Psalmist said:
Psa. 119:165 Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.
Yet you wouldn’t know it if you watched many Christians who claim to love God’s Word and have God’s wisdom. They are irritable and disagreeable – just the opposite of a person who has godly wisdom.
Godly wisdom promotes inner peace and peace between people. Godly wisdom motivates us to obey God’s call to peace:
Rom. 12:18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
G1933 ep-ee-i-kace’ From G1909 and G1503; appropriate, that is, (by implication) mild: – gentle, moderation, patient.
The person with godly wisdom doesn’t club others over the head with it. Paul stressed this point to Timothy:
2Ti. 2:24-25 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, (25) In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
Peter also challenged Christian leaders to lead, not with force, but by example:
1Pe. 5:2-3 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; (3) Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.
Let’s be clear about this -we’re not talking about compromise here. A person with godly wisdom will take a stand. They won’t keep silent about sin for fear of hurting people’s feelings. They will speak the truth, but they’ll do it in love (Eph. 4:15). They will speak for the glory of God and the good of His people. They will follow the Apostle Paul’s example:
1Th. 2:6-8 Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ. (7) But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children: (8) So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.
Easy to be Intreated
G2138 yoo-pi-thace’ From G2095 and G3982; good for persuasion, that is, (intransitively) compliant: – easy to be intreated.
The truly wise person is a good listener. He isn’t intent on getting his way. He recognizes that God might work through someone beside himself. As a result, he is compliant when he can do so without being untrue to Christ.
I think you’ll find that those who are insecure about what they believe tend to react angrily when they’re questioned. They lash out because they don’t know how to answer the questions. That’s the opposite of those with godly wisdom. They’ll let others have their say, because they are not threatened – they know the truth.
How Are You Doing?
- Is your wisdom pure, or is it a compromise between good and evil?
- Does the wisdom you have promote peace in your heart and with others?
- Does your wisdom make you gentle and easy to talk to, or are you harsh and demanding?
Reread today’s passage and continue to evaluate yourself in light of what you find. Lord willing, will finish up this passage tomorrow.