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God's Greater Grace

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

James’s readers were plagued with selfishness. They looked for satisfaction in worldly things and worldly conduct, but they found only frustration (vv. 1-4). In the process, they had become enemies of God, God who is jealous for His people will not share their affections (vv. 4-5). Real blessing was readily available, but they had to look for the right things in the right place, and that began with a right attitude.

God Gives a Greater Grace
The word grace means favor. It may refer to a favorable disposition or to gifts that are a result of that disposition. Paul often used it of salvation, of forgiveness of sins (Romans 3:24; 6:1; etc.). James has a broad application in view: he is thinking about the wide scope of God’s blessings.

It is good for us to be reminded that what God gives is infinitely better than anything the world offers. The world’s gifts won’t last: “The world is passing away, and also its lusts” (1 John 2:17). They are empty, as the Preacher painfully discovered (Ecclesiastes 1:2). Worldly conduct—sin—leaves us worse off, not better. Worldly treasures are easily marred or taken (Matthew 5:19), and even if we manage to preserve them they have only limited benefit. God, on the other hand, is the giver of good and perfect gifts (James 1:17). He is a loving, caring Father, who measures to us just what is best. One of His richest gifts is His instruction (Titus 2:10-11), “preserving the way of His godly ones” (Proverbs 2:8).

God Gives Grace to the Humble
While in a broad sense God blesses both the evil and the good (Matthew 5:45), James reminds us that God’s greater grace is for the humble, citing Proverbs 3:34. God cannot fill the proud—they are already full! In fact, He is opposed to such people. Jesus noted that the blessed people are those who are “poor in spirit” (Matthew 5:3).

Humility is essential to receiving God’s grace in three respects. First, we must be humble enough to admit our need. The self-sufficient will not. Like the Laodiceans, they will blindly convince themselves that all is well (Revelation 3:17). Second, we must be humble enough to ask for God’s blessing. The self-reliant will not. They are too busy making their own way. Third, we must be humble enough to accept God’s measure. The self-centered will not. Preferring their own wisdom, they will not be content with what God says and provides. Instead, they will devise means of setting aside His word, implementing their own strategies and achieving their own goals.

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