God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble

James 4:4-6 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (5) Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? (6) But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

God’s longing for us is driven by his own holy jealousy.  But God is as gracious as he is holy, and he supplies us with all the grace we need to meet his own holy demand.

This is a great encouragement spoken by James.  But in his true fashion he will not let Grace stand by itself, without considering the appropriate response.  We are saved by grace alone, but – grace is never alone.

The response is humility and its opposite is pride.

The grace we require [4:6a] to face God’s jealous longing for us [4:5b] is given to the humble.  God sets himself against the proud [a common theme in the OT; Daniel 4].

[D. A. Carson; NT use of the OT]

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