James 4:6a But He gives a greater grace.
There are three phases in the disciple’s life: 1) justification– on the day of salvation, 2) sanctification– the process of spiritual growth as a disciple pursues holiness and 3) glorification in heaven. We understand that justification is “by grace through faith” without any merit on our part– past, and we understand going to heaven–future. However during the now of the sanctification process the disciple often tries to please God through works. Paul said that was foolish (a). The disciple is saved by grace and is sanctified by grace. I believe the disciple receives “greater grace” for empowerment and enablement during sanctification and the inevitable trials, suffering and spiritual warfare with our three enemies: Satan, the world system and our flesh. (b)
God has clearly set forth certain disciplines for us to practice in pursuing holiness during sanctification. As we practice them, God will use them in our lives, not because we’ve earned His blessing but because we’ve followed His ordained path of blessing. James 4:6-10 (NASB) provides some of the disciplines for the disciple to follow during sanctification. These 5 verses have been a tremendous blessing and challenge to me for over 30 years.
V.6 “God gives greator grace to the humble” I believe that “humble” means being God-centered or totally surrendered to God by His grace, not to earn His grace. This is the opposite of “pride”, being self-centered or self sufficient. “God is opposed to the proud“. “The original word for “opposed”, antitassomai, signifies, God’s setting himself in battle array against the proud. Can there be a greater disgrace than for God to proclaim a man a rebel, an enemy, a traitor to his crown and dignity, and to proceed against him as such? “(d)
VV 7-9 By His grace we can submit to God, draw near to God, repent and seek forgiveness for our personal sins, maintain a pure heart and mourn over decisions to take actions that oppose God.
V.10 “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you“. I am in the constant presence of God as a temple of the Holy Spirit, with Jesus in me and possessing the Glory of God. (e) By His grace and in the presence of God I can be humble.
Praise Him for the gift of greater grace that enables me to pursue holiness during sanctification.
Footnotes: (a) Galatians 2:21-3:3 NASB, (b) Ephesians 6:10-18, (d) Matthew Henry Commentary online version, (e) 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, John 17:22-23
Henry Luke August 19, 2014, Revised 5/3/2017