False Conversion Vs True Conversion
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.
17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace
1. The false conversion.
James 3:13-16 From verse 13-16, we see the life of a false conversion. In 13 Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. The wise and understanding means that someone has acquired special knowledge on something. Then for those who have got the knowledge let them prove it by the way they live. Not living like someone who has the understanding. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. You are faced with the truth that someone claims to have the wisdom but his behavior shows that he does not. When James talks about wisdom while communicating to the brothers and sisters, he is talking in terms of a skillful hand craftsman, someone who has sense, intelligence, and knowledge. For example, you do not expect someone who is knowledgeable in cooking but he does not know the reason why there should be water in the kitchen.
As James brings the term wisdom here, he is talking about those who say they have the wisdom from above. In other words, those who have been saved. He is talking about the conversion. The wise man is the man who has Jesus. When James is talking about wisdom, he is relating it to knowing God and having relationship with him. Job 28:28 “And He said to man, 'Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.'"
Deut 4:6. “Keep them and do them, for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’”
The people who have God, have wisdom. James challenges anyone who has God to demonstrate wisdom. Now, for anyone who claims to have God but he has, bitter jealousy, and selfish ambition in his heart. He is not wise and that kind of wisdom is not from God. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. The false conversion is when people say they love God publicly but publicly and proudly sin against God. In that sense, that person is foolish.
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? That person is not wise. Because he is living opposite from what God calls him to live for. For Christ has saved you, and his Spirit dwells in you. He teaches you the ways of God so that you have the sense of the way of God.
2. The true conversion.
James 3:17-18 From 17 -18, we see the true conversion. Okay, 13Who is wise and understanding among you? Who has got the salvation, who has got the wisdom from above? The wisdom from above is not bitter jealousy, and selfish ambitions 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
However for anyone who has wisdom let him show his good conduct by working in the meekness of wisdom. The meekness will lead you to be peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy, produce good fruits, impartial, and, sincere. Why? Because, you have wisdom from above. This wisdom comes from hearing the word of God. The word of God will make you wise and transform you. Paul knew the power of the Word and he instructed Timothy to preach it because it transforms the people of God and empowers them with wisdom. 2 Tim 4:2 “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.”
If you profess to have the true conversion and you have wisdom from above
1) Seek purity, be holy(hagnos), be clean, be free ceremonial defilement. The person who has got the wisdom of God, he should seek purity. If you have the full sense of Christ, then you seek him. Apart from Christ, you are not holy. James knew it. And when he is talking about holiness, He is calling the Jewish Christians to embrace Christ daily in their lives.
2) Then peaceable. It is important to maintain peace even though it is hard. For you to be a witness of the savior, it is important to desire to be a peace maker. St. James was convinced beyond doubt that the peace is through Jesus. Jesus is our peace maker. When James is talking about being peaceable, he is challenging you to look at the cross and see the peace Christ brought to us and wants you to emulate that peace.
3) Gentle. In the midst of us living in the world with people who are short tempered, it is important for a Christian to talk softly and with love.
4) Open to reason. Be a good listener because you are not of this world. Seek to reconcile with people as Jesus reconciled you with God. On the cross, the enemies of God were reconciled back to him.
5) Full of mercy. Have pity on people, be compassionate to those whom you do not believe deserve it. As for you yourself, were not among those who deserved the grace of God. But Jesus delivered it to you.
6) Good fruits. The person who the Spirit of God dwells in, is challenged to bear good fruits. Let his faith be known among those who have not tasted the Spirit of God.
7) Impartial. The person who has the wisdom of God. You are challenged to love all the people without disrespecting anyone, to treat all people equally because they are all made in the image of God.
8) Sincere. Be truthful to whom you worship. Be genuine and honest. This looks like the fruits a person who has the Spirit of Jesus has to produce. In Galatians, Paul tells us the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-26
The person who has the wisdom from above is characterized by the desire for holiness, to make peace, to be gentle, quick to listen, compassionate, produce good fruits, impartial and sincere. You cannot do this on your own. You need Jesus. You should know that all of these come from God and it is hard to produce them on your own. You need Jesus to direct you, to enable you. These are things which people look at you and know that you are a Christian and you are seeking the righteousness of Jesus. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.