James 4:8: Remedies for Lusts, and Renewal of Relationship with God, Part 2

Verse 8:[1] (2 Chron. 15:2) Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. (Is. 1:16) Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and (1 Pet. 1:22; 1 John 3:3) purify your hearts, ye (Jam. 1:8) double minded.

[Draw nigh to God] Not with the steps of the body, but with the motions of th soul (Estius, thus Menochius), by conversion to God, which he describes below (Vorstius); by prayer (Grotius, Tirinus), or by imploring the help of God (Menochius), by faith, Psalm 73:28, by the love of God (Gataker, Tirinus), Deuteronomy 30:20 (Gataker), in humility (Estius), in repentance, in the worship of God (Gataker), in obedience (Gataker, Grotius), by the purging of the soul from vices, and in the desire for Christian perfection (Menochius), and by studying with respect to disposition and endeavor that we might be made like unto God. We draw nigh to God in no other way than in resisting Satan, since he, interposed between God and us, obstructs the way for us (Gataker). True repentance is here described by its effects (Beza).

Draw nigh to God; by faith, which is a coming to God, Hebrews 7:25; by true repentance, which is a returning to God, Hosea 14:1; Malachi 3:7; and by fervent prayer to him for the help of his grace, Psalm 25:1.

[And He will draw nigh to you] By grace (Estius), with greater, continuous love and bestowal of graces (Tirinus); by helping us, both against the lusts of the Flesh, and against the assaults of the Devil, concerning which things he has already treated. This is the mystical sense of the words in Jeremiah 4:1 (Grotius). He will draw nigh, by protecting and freeing us, by remitting our sins, by granting our petitions, by conferring blessings of every sort (Gataker); or, by His favor and that increasing protection, which follows our conversion. In other respects, God, by His initial grace, goes entirely before us (Vorstius).

And he will draw nigh to you; by the manifestation of his grace and favour to you, particularly giving you strength against the devil and your lusts.

[Cleanse (namely, from all external sin [Tirinus]) your hands] That is, all the members by which we do anything external (Estius); or, outward actions (Tirinus), life, works, acts: the hand is the organ of organs, the instrument of most actions (Gataker): that is to say, Return what things were wrongly seized, Jonah 3:8 (Grotius). By the cleanness of the hands is signified innocence of manners, as in Job 22:30 (Menochius). Compare Psalm 26:6, 11; Isaiah 1:16, 18 (Gataker).

Cleanse your hands; reform your actions, amend your lives. Hands, the principal instruments of bodily actions, being put for the actions themselves; cleanness of hands signifies the innocency of the outward conversation, Job 22:30; Psalm 24:4; 26:6; Isaiah 33:15, 16. Ye sinners; you that are openly and notoriously vicious, whose wickedness appears in your ordinary practices: so such are called, Matthew 11:19; Mark 2:15; Luke 7:37; 15:2; John 9:31.

[And purify (that is, from all depraved thinking [Tirinus, thus Estius], delight, consent, contrivance [Tirinus]: See 1 Peter 1:22;[2] 1 John 3:3,[3] in which places the same word, ἁγνίζειν, to purify, is used [Grotius]) your hearts (that is, the internal affections of the soul [Tirinus]), ye double minded] See on James 1:8 (Menochius, Grotius), ἀκατάστατοι, men unstable, Isaiah 7:9, wavering, etc., 1 Kings 18:21 (Gataker). Thus he calls them on account of the wavering affections and thoughts of their hearts, by which they were fluctuating between friendship with God and with the world (Estius). Purge your hearts, namely, making such use of the present favor and help of God; by prayers and with all effort expel that inconstancy, which sometimes draws you to God, sometimes drives you back to the world (Grotius).

And purify your hearts; your thoughts and inward affections, from whence the evils of your outward actions proceed, Isaiah 55:7: see 1 Peter 1:22; 1 John 3:3. Ye double minded; either by the former he understands the profane, and by these, hypocrites, or the same by both, viz. such as had wicked hearts, and led wicked lives; only he shows wherein true repentance consists, viz. in the reformation both of the inward and outward man.

[1] Greek: ἐγγίσατε τῷ Θεῷ, καὶ ἐγγιεῖ ὑμῖν· καθαρίσατε χεῖρας, ἁμαρτωλοί, καὶ ἁγνίσατε καρδίας, δίψυχοι.

[2] 1 Peter 1:22:  “Seeing ye have purified (ἡγνικότες) your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently…”

[3] 1 John 3:3:  “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth (ἁγνίζει) himself, even as he is pure (ἁγνός).”

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