“Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.”
“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.”
“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”
One of the central themes of the book of James is that of Biblical wisdom. This is the wisdom which comes from God, is consistent with His Word, and which is written into our hearts in the New Covenant. It is this to which James turns his attention in the third chapter of his book. There is much that we could focus on in this theme, but I will confine my thoughts today to a couple of brief points.
- This wisdom is first of all something which defines mature Christian faith. We are as believers moving towards it. This side of Glory, however, we will never completely reach it. James tells us that we “all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.” We are all sinners who fall short in many ways. We have held out before us God’s perfect standard which we will constantly be falling short of. Such a truth when rightly understood must drive us to the Lord Jesus Christ for His gracious redemptive work within. James uses this truth from God’s law to bring us to Christ.
- Such wisdom from God is not given to us for informational purposes only. It is meant to be applied. The purpose for which God sends out His word, which will never return to Him without accomplishing His purpose, is to transform our lives by grace. It will either transform us or judge us. As James unfolds his argument here he shows us that the end result of receiving God’s wisdom is to produce in us the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
- One of the primary ways that this transformation of our inner nature will be revealed will be in speech that is Spirit controlled. It will be conversation which honours Christ in every way. This calls for us to examine our speech, asking what it reveals to us about our reception of God’s grace.
- James warns teachers for a number of reasons. Among the chief of those reasons is the ease with which we can deceive ourselves. Seldom do we arrive at a sober minded assessment of our Spiritual state. That is why we must rely upon God’s wisdom.