Wars and Battles

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James 4:1-3:  What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. (NASB 1995).

This is not speaking of the results of personal sanctification causing outbreaks of sin in the body of an individual member, but rather the outbreaks of sin in individual members that affect the entire membership of a local body of that catholic body of Christ which comprises membership in the New Covenant.
Notice what James does say: These sins are quarrels and conflicts; these sins are the resultof the wrongful lusts, or desires or passions, of individual members that are causing schisms, or divisions, to the point of the apostle calling them quarrels and conflicts. The sins described are plural, as is the damage to the body local.
Quarrels are rightly described as wars in the KJV: These are serious and protracted conflict(s), often involving a series of attacks(Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Vol. 1: Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: Based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition.) (495). New York: United Bible Societies), while conflictsare serious conflicts, either physical or non-physical, but clearly intensive and bitter (Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Vol. 1: Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: Based on semantic domains(electronic ed. of the 2nd edition.) (494). New York: United Bible Societies).
The foundation of these things are the pleasures of those members who are causing the corporate strife, and so damaging the other members of the local body of Christ, both of those other members who are under attack and the corporate body as a whole; the testimony of Christ among the body and in the world are also damaged by these pleasures.
This points to so many of the problems in so many modern versions of Christianity that deny the Scriptural and historical Christianity that the Bible proclaims and verifies, but what is sad is that those members causing the problems actually get real and true pleasure out of causing such discord and active enmity among the local body of Christ. This is the source: the perverted passions of the flesh which always love evil and do anything to cause pain and suffering to others, knowingly; the Greek word is where we get out English words hedonist and hedonistic.
Even worse, this pleasure in causing pain for others is set actively against the Head of the body, Jesus Christ. This is knowingly crucifying the Son of God afresh and putting Him to an open shame, for to treat the members of His body in this way is to treat the Lord, Savior and King in the same manner (Matthew 25:41-45). Such is the emptiness of these members’ profession of Christ, that they are taking opportunity to do Him damage at every turn by hurting those for whom He died. Their end is destruction, their appetite is their god is their belly (physical satiation of carnal desires) and they glory(jubilantly exult in) their shame (those things they are doing which should result in disgrace and disgust – Philippians 3:18-19). Such are enemies of the cross of Christ, and following the old human adage misery loves company, they gladly, with a vicious joyousness, spread their misery among the body with abandon, as the arrows of their apparent hatred for the Lord they falsely profess are shot against His body again and again.
James calls these members murderers, by stating the fact that what they are doing, in word and dead, is murder. If our Lord were to arrive in the flesh before them (sans His fearsome glory, which will not happen until His second advent), they would be among those crying “Crucify Him!” They fire their deadly bullets of strife at His body’s members to show what which they truly think of the Lord and Head of that body.
They justify doing these things because they ask and do not receive. They do not receive because they ask to spend that which they would like to receive on the same carnal, hedonistic pleasures that they feed by actively working to hurt the body of Christ of which they are supposedly members.
In summation of the above, those James is speaking about are what is often called (wrongly, I might add) carnal Christians in many of today’s modernistic churches. This is to say that they are not Christians at all; their view of God and God’s covenant people is shaped by their own selfish desires, which they never find fulfilled, and consequently, they attack the members of Christ’s body, which we have seen is the same as to attack the Lord Himself.
Nevertheless, as we close, we must remember this: even those who have not yet tasted and seen the goodness of the Lord are admonished to repentance within this very chapter (James 4:6-10), for it is always the intention of the Lord that those who experience the riches of His good kindness, forbearing, kind mercy and patient endurance be led, by such kindness, to repentance (Romans 2:4). The attacks of these may yet be turned to worship of the true God, and His Son, Jesus Christ, if He, in His great mercy, grants them that new heart of faith and repentance that turns to Him. The ministry will echo God’s will in these matters, as will the entire assembly of the saints (Philippians 2:1-3; 2 Timothy 2:24-26); however, while they are attacking, they are to be shunned, and not allowed to foment strife and division within the body of our blessed Lord (Romans 16:17-18), for our Lord has ordained these means to protect His sheep for His name’s sake.

SDG – Bill


About lalvin1517

I'm married with two children and pastor McCall Baptist Church in McCall, Idaho.
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