6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded (James 4:6–8, NKJV).
God gives grace to the humble (Prov. 3:34). The proud heart is not accepted or rewarded by the Lord. James says, “therefore,” and continues by giving practical guidance about what God expects us to do to receive His grace. (1) Submit to God (v. 7). Humility yields to the word and will of God, but the pride of life refuses to subject itself to God (Rom. 8:7). We must be humble servants of Christ and others for God’s grace to rest on us. (2) Resist the devil (v. 7). Our Adversary is crafty and powerful, but our strength to resist him comes from the Lord (1 Pet. 5:8; 1 John 4:4). We overcome the wicked one by the power of God’s word living in us (1 John 2:14). (3) Draw near to God (v. 8). God’s prophet told king Asa, “The Lord is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you” (2 Chron. 15:2). Seek the Lord. You will find Him by following the gospel of Jesus Christ (Matt. 7:7-8; 11:28-30; John 8:31-32). (4) Cleanse your hands (v. 8). We must purify our conduct to conform our actions to the “implanted word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21, 25). (5) Purify your hearts (v. 8). The stability of singular faith in Christ (not divided loyalties) is required to receive God’s grace (James 1:6-8). Obeying the truth purifies hearts, so He receives our pleas for grace (1 Pet. 1:22; 2 Tim. 2:22). Accepting God’s abundant grace requires our obedient faith.
Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time. (Luke 4:13, NKJV)
Jesus was tempted far more than three times (Lk. 4:3-12). He was tempted forty days in the wilderness, and He was tempted throughout His work on earth (Lk. 4:2; 22:28). Satan continued looking for the proper time to entice Jesus to sin. The devil never stops looking for opportunities to tempt us to sin. Never think you are beyond temptation. If you do, then the devil has you exactly where he wants you. “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12). We must be sober, watchful, and steadfast in the faith to resist the devil (1 Pet. 5:8-9). We are commanded to resist the devil (Jas. 4:7). Jesus showed us how. He used God’s word to resist temptations (Lk. 4:4, 8, 12). Truth is our great way of escape when the father of lies entices us to sin against God (1 Cor. 10:13). You are not alone in your temptations. Jesus has been there. He resisted the devil, and so can you.
3 But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one. 4 And we have confidence in the Lord concerning you, both that you do and will do the things we command you. (2 Thessalonians 3:3–4, NKJV)
Christians are urged to never doubt the faithfulness of the Lord. “For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5). The Lord is always present to strengthen and preserve us from the devil and secure us in times of trial. However, this does not free us from our personal responsibility to watchfully “resist the devil” so that he will flee from us (James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8). As verse 4 of today’s passage indicates, it is as we obey the commands of Christ’s apostles that our assurance of His strength and protection is realized. Standing fast in the Lord is inseparably connected to holding to the truth handed down to us by the apostles (2 Thessalonians 2:15). It is precisely when we choose not to hold fast this pattern of sounds words that we falter and give the devil an opening to settle into our hearts, much like he did in the life of Judas (2 Timothy 1:13; John 13:2, 27). Although Judas was with Jesus, he fell because he chose defiance and betrayal over trusting obedience to Jesus. Put all your trust in Jesus by obeying His commands. The Lord is faithful to secure you, and all who do so.
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. (1 Peter 5:8-9, NKJV)
Peter has just assured us that the Lord constantly cares for us as we cast our cares upon Him (1 Pet. 5:7). While doing so we must be sober-minded and watchful. The devil is stalking us. Every temptation to sin must be met with the stiff and steady resistance of faith. The devil continues to look for the weak lamb and the straying sheep. We must constantly be on guard lest he slip up on us and overtake us. It helps us to know that our brethren in other places face the same kinds of threats we face. Resistance is not futile; Faith is the victory that overcomes the world (1 Jno. 5:4).
13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. (1 Corinthians 10:13-14)
Sin is not forced upon us. None of us are compelled to sin. By yielding to temptation, we choose to sin against God. Being tempted to sin is not sin; all of us are tempted to sin. Thankfully, sin’s enticement can be resisted. God is faithful to provide a way of escape when we are tempted to sin. God’s way of escape from sin’s temptation will demand that you make a deliberate decision not to sin. Do not put yourself into situations that make it easy to sin. (You cannot play with fire and not get burned!) Resist temptation by running away from sin instead of running to it. God’s way is right, so put your faith in Him. His path of holiness and truth will always lead you away from sin.