Study 8 UNLIMITED STORES OF GRACE
THE LETTER OF JAMES
by Francis Dixon
Scripture Portion: James 4:6-17
Five wonderful words in James 4:6 provide the key to this study _ “He gives us more grace”. Here we learn the glorious truth that there is an adequate supply of grace to enable each of us to live a life of victory day by day. At every point of need “He gives us more grace”. Notice three things here:-
- (1) The giver is God. What a great giver He is! - look up 1 Timothy 6:17.
- (2) What He gives is grace; this is the unmerited favour that God shows to those who are guilty and undeserving. It is God’s blessing given to His people. There are four kinds of grace: (1) Saving grace (Ephesians 2:8-10); (2) Sanctifying grace (2 Corinthians 9:8); (3) Sustaining grace (2 Corinthians 12:8-9); and (4) Serving grace (Hebrews 12:28).
- (3) This grace is always available and adequate, and it is ours for the taking. When we receive His grace He says, ’Come back again when you need some more!’ All this giving does not impoverish Him, for He has unlimited stores of grace!
In James 4:16-17 there is a pattern of victorious living, an outline of the kind of life the Lord wants us to live. It is impossible to live this life in our own strength, but “He gives us more grace” - for all His commands are His enablings (Exodus 18:23). How can we experience each day that the Lord’s grace is sufficient?
1. Get down off your pedestal (verses 6, 9, 10)
This is the first requirement if we are to please God. Read Matthew 5:4 with verse 9. By nature we are extremely proud, but a proud Christian is a paradox; therefore God waits to give us His grace of humility. It is hard for proud people to be humble but God calls us, as followers of Jesus, to have a humble spirit (Matthew 11:29); and see how Paul went down, down, down, from 1 Corinthians 15:9 to Ephesians 3:8 to 1 Timothy 1:15! See what we read in 1 Peter 5:5-6, and if you feel you cannot get down low at His feet, remember that “He gives us more grace”!
2. Put yourself in God’s hands (verse 7)
This is the meaning of the first part of the verse, or the words in Romans 6:13, ”offer yourselves to God” - and compare Romans 12:1-2. God’s will for you is good, pleasing and perfect. His desire is that you should submit to Him completely and trust Him to work out His will in your life, asking the question in Acts 9:6, and obeying the injunction in John 2:5. If you say you cannot do this, the answer is that you can, for “He gives us more grace”!
3. Stand up to the Devil (verse 7)
Satan is always on the warpath (1 Peter 5:8-9) and he tries to make us doubt God and question His love and His purpose for our lives. In suffering Satan tries to embitter us, to stop us doing God’s will, to make us lazy, half-hearted and undisciplined, and he tries to discourage us. These are some of his devices (2 Corinthians 2:11). We must resist, and say to him what Jesus said in Matthew 16:23 - then when he runs from us we can prove “God gives us more grace”!
4. Clean up your life inwardly and outwardly (verse 8)
Compare 2 Corinthians 7:1. Now that we are Christians there are things that we must “put to death” (Colossians 3:5-9). One translation of James 4:8 is: ”Realise that you have sinned, and get your hands clean again; realise that you have been disloyal, and get your heart made clean once more”; and if you say, ‘I cannot do this’, the answer is that you can, for “God gives us more grace”!
5. Stop pulling one another to pieces (verses 11-12)
This critical faculty, which we all possess, must be kept under the Holy Spirit’s control, otherwise we shall do damage to others and to God’s work; and in the process we shall become hard, intolerant, unloving, unlovable and unbearable! We must not criticise or slander someone when he is not there to defend himself. We must not judge others; it is God’s prerogative alone. But we need to judge ourselves (1 Corinthians 11:31-32); Paul says, ”Judge nothing before the appointed time” (1 Corinthians 4:5), and compare Matthew 7:1-5. Are you capable of doing all that? - certainly not in your own strength, but “He gives us more grace”.
6. Live with eternity in view (verses 13-16)
These people were leaving eternity out of their reckoning and making plans as if they had control of their destiny (Luke 12:16-21). It is easy to do that! - yet see what Proverbs 27:1 says. But can we really live in moment by moment dependence on the Lord, living with eternity in view and not all the time being bogged down by the things of time? We can, for “He gives us more grace”.
7. Do now what you know to be right
God has been speaking through this Bible study. Will you do His will? Will you obey Him and do what you know to be right (verse 17)? You say, ‘How can I do this?’ - “He gives us more grace”!
We have seen that God not only calls us to live a life of victory, but He supplies the needed grace. We must take what He gives and victory will be ours. How can we do this? Well, ask for it, receive it, and keep asking (Hebrews 4:16).