James 4:4-7 “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred to God ? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he causes to live in us envies intensely. But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Submit yourselves, then, to God.”
James is extraordinarily straight when he speaks to these New Testament Christians. He has said to them two verses earlier, “You kill and covet … you quarrel and fight … you ask with wrong motives,” and here he addresses them as, “You adulterous people.” They must have loved and respected him very much to have taken what he said meekly. I have to remember that I, as a preacher, am as much under this apostolic word as anyone. I don’t choose to come to church and be referred to as an adulterous person, or an enemy of God, but these are some of the issues that God wants to raise with us today. Let us all love and respect the same apostolic word and say to our Lord, “Is it I ?” Let us start by looking briefly at this warning about becoming a friend with the world.
1 The Impossibility of Being a Friend of the World and of God.
There has been an overwhelming emphasis upon Christian involvement in the world in the last forty years. The theme of so much writing and preaching on the subject of the world has been to warn of the dangers of withdrawal, and separation, and religious dualism, and asceticism. Such actions are of course unacceptable. I am saying that we have been exclusively reminded that Christians are to be the salt and light of the world (which we are), but to the exclusion of warnings about being conformed to this world. The antithesis between Christianity and the world – which is built into the Bible – has been played down.
When God created the heavens and the earth all that he made was very good. Matter is not in itself evil. The Son of God became a man in a low human condition – “made in the likeness of sinful flesh” – and yet was holy, harmless and undefiled. The devil himself has no body. He is a non-material spirit, but not one whit holier because of that.
The ‘world’ in the Bible is a theological world. It is first of all the creation of God, owned and ruled by him, the ‘cosmos,’ the world order, to be subdued by man and enjoyed. But it is now also a fallen world, disordered, rebellious and aloof through our father Adam’s broken relationship with God. The ‘world’ is organised sinful mankind in the mass, under the god of this world, solidly given to unrighteousness, hostile to the truth and to the people of God. Bad people organised into a bad system. This world is dominated by “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life” (I John 2:16): its motives are pleasure, profit, power and promotion. So the world in the Scriptures is a subtle organisation of mankind, operating in terms of laws, goals and gods which are other than those of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. The world crucified Christ. In its most important languages it declared its cynical enmity towards God writing on a crude notice above his head, “This is the king of the Jews.” The world was a friend of a murderer named Barabbas, and an enemy of the blameless Son of God. It still is. In the drama going on in the White House this year, who has been high in the world’s popularity polls, the adulterous president or the Christian prosecutor ? The world will choose a rogue before a righteous man every day. More than 1700 years ago, the great historian Cyprian wrote to Donatus, “It is a bad world, an incredibly bad world, with its philosophy of materialism and force, determination and moral despair.”
What was it a poet said ? He gave us a rather shocking picture of the world, but perhaps we ought to look at it again:
Man’s mind reaches past the stars,
Probes the atom,
Measures waves of ether in the infinite spaces …
But he still lives in an old house,
An old house full of echoes !
Tear down the rotted boards;
Scrap the bat-haunted chambers;
Stop the babbling of simian tongues
Pretending to blabber wisdom !
I am tired of echoes … echoes … echoes
In the old house.
The Christian living in this world is like someone living in a very old derelict, condemned house. There are still some features that remind you of its former glory, and occasionally there are bursts of creative energy and flashes of brilliance which excite all the residents, and they cheer up one another, “It’s going to get wonderful.” An orator, a writer, a composer will produce something to lift the spirits temporarily, but then the overwhelmingly destructive spirit of pleasure-loving, covetousness, pride and idolatry takes over again. We may not destroy this old house, nor abandon it. There we have to live our lives and raise our children, keep ourselves clean, and influence all who live in that house for the Lord Jesus. But we are not staying there. It’s not long before we are going to live in a permanent beautiful mansion, but all the others we bump into in this house are sure that there is nothing else in the whole universe but this decrepit property. You can imagine people who have lived in prison for their entire lives and have had no contact with the outside world believing that prison is the only place there is, and that life outside is just a fantasy. Such an atmosphere of faith in their environment can have a pernicious influence over Christians who live there, and some get corrupted. So there is constant movement in the house. Some are having their eyes opened and realising that this old house is just a temporary stopping place and they see the reality of Jesus Christ. Others have been temporary followers of Christ, but now dismiss that, and are making the reverse journey and falling in love with the stinking tenement again. It is about this that James is warning, “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God ? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”
There is man named Demas mentioned three times in the New Testament. The first time is in Paul’s letter to Philemon, v. 24, where the apostle lists those who are “his fellow workers”, they are “Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke” – what a grand brotherhood ! In the second case in Colossians 4:14 we read, “Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings.” There is no description of his being a fellow worker in that verse, but he is still keeping in good company. The last occasion Demas is mentioned is 2 Timothy 4:10 where Paul writes chillingly, “Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me.” Demas had fallen in love with the decaying house and has deserted God. Do you see that as a danger ? Are there people we are thinking of who once worshipped with us, and professed they believed what we believed, and began to live in a Christian way, but today they are not here nor in any place of worship ? What did happen to some of the teenagers we baptized ? They fell in love again with the ideas and values of the world. They got their sense of humour from the world, and their thrills, and their purpose in living, and their boy-friends. And today they are ice-cold towards Jesus Christ. They live as if he never existed. How is it with you ? Which way are you heading ? How does your mind turn when it is empty ? In idle moments what does it naturally think about ? What absorbs your interests and affections ? Are you falling in love with the world ? Or does the love and service of the Lord Jesus mean more and more to you ? Friendship with the world is hatred towards God.
2. Love of the World Makes us an Adulterous People
“You adulterous people” (v.4). The Christian is the bride of God, so longing loving looks at the world are the beginnings of unfaithfulness. There cannot be two loves in this relationship. To love the world in any degree is a breach of our vows to our one Husband, God. That is why James addresses them as “You adulterous people.” The world’s lover is God’s unfaithful bride. B.B.Warfield, in his mighty sermon on these verses entitled, “The Love of the Holy Spirit” (The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit, Calvary Press, 1997, p.97ff), says, “We cannot have two husbands; and to the one husband to whom our vows are plighted, all our love is due. To dally with the thought of another lover is already unfaithfulness” (p.98). Don’t we sing of Christ,
From heaven he came and bought her
To be his holy bride.
With his own blood he bought her,
And for her life he died ?
The Son of God, desperately in love with his people, taking all her liabilities and, going to the cross, discharging every debt she owed. Now, with a sympathy for her every feeling of infirmity, he prays for her without ceasing. He loves her as his own body. Does the church reciprocate that delight ?
This divine affection for his people is the teaching of Scripture. James asks in verse five, “Do you think Scripture says without reason …” anything ? It is a rhetorical question. James is asserting as strongly as he can that no saying of Scripture can be empty. He appeals to the extraordinary authority of the Bible to support his ideas of the special relationship between God and his people, and that loving the world is adulterous. There are numerous Old Testament passages in which the Lord has expressed his love for his people in terms of a groom’s love for his chosen bride. He is a jealous God. He announces this in the Ten Commandments, visiting the iniquities of the fathers upon the children. He has the burning jealousy of a loving husband toward the tenderly cherished wife who has wandered from the path of fidelity. The prophets take up this theme, especially in the third chapter of Jeremiah: “‘Return, faithless people,’ declares the Lord, ‘for I am your husband'” (Jer.3:14), and “But like a woman unfaithful to her husband, so you would have been unfaithful to me, O house of Israel, declares the Lord.” (Jer.3:20). This same theme is opened up in Ezekiel chapter 16. God pleads that his love is changeless but has been outraged by his people’s conduct: “I will sentence you to the punishment of women who commit adultery” (Ez. 16:38), “yet I will remember the covenant I made with you in the days of your youth” The same theme is repeated in Ezekiel 23. God’s love prevails, but his judgments come upon his own bride as his strange work. He longs for their reconciliation, that she will leave her lovers and return to him. He describes the day of reconciliation in Hosea (it is very much the message of Hosea’s entire prophecy). He says, “In that day … I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord” (Hosea 2:18-20) That is the theme of the prophets as they look upon unfaithful Israel.
But the apostles of the New Testament also underline the theme of the church married to her Lord. Think of Paul in Romans 7:4, “my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong (‘married’ [A.V.]) to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to Christ.” Again he tells the Corinthians, “I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him” (2 Cor. 11:2). Or you think of the great climax of the Bible, at the end of the book of Revelation, the event which lies before every one of us, the marriage supper of the Lamb: “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory ! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given to her to wear” (Rev.19:6-8). Then the bridegroom comes riding a great white stallion, and his name is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
This then is the theme right through the Scriptures. James is challenging us whether we think they speak of these things without some great reason ? We are the bride of Christ, and he is our loving husband. He has died for us to live, and he is taking us to a place he has prepared for us, because he delights in us. This is the wonder of our relationship today with God. Francis Schaeffer, who also picked up this theme in his book, “The Church Before the Watching World,” contrasts Christianity with Eastern religions (which are now so chic in the media and with media people). “Shiva came out of his ice-filled cave in the Himalayas and saw a mortal woman and loved her. When he put his arms around her, she disappeared, and he became neuter. There is nothing like this in the Scriptures. When we accept Christ as our Saviour, we do not lose our personality. For all eternity our personality stands in oneness with Christ.” (Works, Volume 4, p.136).
So the Bible takes this great sin of adultery and shows how serious it is, and then it takes falling in love with the world (turning away from God), and calls those who are guilty of it an “adulterous people” (v.4). “See how the faithful city has become a harlot !” (Isaiah 1:21) cries the prophet about the city where God’s house is set. Jerusalem the golden has become a prostitute. In Ezekiel 6:9 the Lord cries, “I have been grieved by their adulterous hearts.” It is not a matter of indifference to God how we live day by day. “God is not just a theological term; he is not a ‘philosophical other.’ He is a personal God, and we should glory in the fact that he is a personal God. But we must understand that since He is a personal God, he can be grieved. When his people turn away from him, there is sadness on the part of the omnipotent God” (ibid, p.142). There is also jealousy: in Zechariah 8:2 we read, “This is what the Lord Almighty says, ‘I am very jealous for Zion; I am burning with jealousy for her.'”
3. The Love of the Holy Spirit Means that He Longs Jealously For Us. (v.5)
Now this fifth verse of James 4 can be translated in a number of ways. There are in fact three suggestions on the page of my own Bible, the one they have opted for, and then two alternatives in the footnotes. I have chosen the second alternative footnote as the best translation, “the Spirit he caused to live in us longs jealously.” There are three things to notice about it.
1] James is not addressing the entire first century church. There were many there whose work of faith and labour of love and patience of hope was exemplary and known in all the churches. James is talking about individuals, real people in these congregations, who were leaving their first love and taking lingering glances at the world. Even cherishing such thoughts is an act of betrayal. You are showing friendship with the world, he says. Don’t you know that the Spirit which God causes to live in us longs jealously for ourselves ? We are beloved by God, and so how can we who are in this covenant relationship with him, ever forget it ?
2] Consider the intense language used, which is full of the hungry ache of love. God’s Spirit ‘longs’ James says. It is the same verb the Greek translators of the Forty-second psalm employed: “As the deer panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after Thee O God.” But James says it is God panting after his people. It is a term of deep jealousy used by Greek writers of the classics which is nowhere else applied to God in the Bible. It is an envious emotion which tears the soul as he contemplates his rival taking the heart and affection away of the girl he loves. This is how God sees us dallying with the world and its pleasures. He envies the world our love for it. That love is due to him, pledged to him, but now withdrawn from him and squandered upon the world. God is portrayed as panting after us with jealous envy.
Some commentators have protested that this is extreme, and so have rejected this translation on those grounds. Warfield makes a wonderful comment: “Let us not, however, refuse the blessed assurance that is given us. It is no doubt hard to believe that God loves us. It is doubtless harder to believe that He loves us with so ardent a love as is here described. But He says that He does. He declares that when we wander from Him and our duty towards Him, He yearns after us and earnestly longs for our return; that He envies the world our love and would fain have it turned back to Himself. What can we do but admiringly cry, ‘Oh, the breadth and length and height and depth of the love of God which passes knowledge !’ There is no language in use among men which is strong enough to portray it. Strain the capacity of words to the uttermost and still they fall short of expressing the jealous envy with which He contemplates the love of His people for the world, the yearning desire which possesses Him to turn them back to their duty to Him. It is this inexpressibly precious assurance which the text gives us; let us, without doubting, embrace it with hearty faith” (op cit p.101).
3] James is telling us here that the Holy Spirit loves us. Of course, God is love. Of course, there is not a hair’s breadth of difference between the attributes of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. All are equally powerful, merciful, knowledgeable, long-suffering and so on. So the lesser fact of the third person’s love for us must be subsumed under the greater fact of the Godhead’s love for us. But how far have we lived in our Christian lives without being conscious of the particular love which this person of the Godhead has for us. We are more aware that God the Father so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son. “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God !” cries the apostle John (I John 3:1). There are many such references to the Father’s love, and also again to the Son’s: “The love of Christ which passes knowledge,” “Hereby we know love, because he laid down his life for us,” “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ ?” “He loved me and gave himself for me.” What encouragement we find in such truths, so that the youngest Christian child can lisp, “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” In the darkest days they are our comfort. When the telephone rings and the news is the worst this is the bedrock of our peace, the immeasurable love of Father and Son for us.
But there is this third person who is equally loving, God the Holy Spirit, our blessed Advocate and Counselor. Of him James is speaking here, that he longs jealously, that he yearns over us. Do you think Scripture says it without reason ? Is it irrelevant to our lives, to live utterly oblivious to the fact that the Holy Spirit loves us ? Of course there are not as many references to God the Holy Spirit as there are to God the Son. For example in Matthew’s gospel there are only five or six references to the Holy Spirit. The Gospel is full of our blessed Lord. The Father planned our salvation; and the Son accomplished it; and the Spirit applies that accomplished redemption to our souls. Each step was necessary, and each action was the purest expression of divine love. “The Spirit of all holiness is willing to visit such polluted hearts as ours, and even to dwell in them, to make them His home to work ceaselessly and patiently with them, gradually wooing them – through many groanings and many trials – to slow and tentative efforts toward good; and never leaving them until, through His constant grace, they have been won entirely to put off the old man and put on the new man and to stand new creatures before the face of their Father God and their Redeemer Christ. Surely herein is love !” (Warfield, op cit p.105).
Let me put it like this. Imagine God had summoned all the spirits into his presence and had said, “Now we’ve got a new Christian in mind. He’s not very special. He’ll spend his entire life in the middle of nowhere on a farm in Wales. Who would like to live in him and keep an eye on him for the next 60 years ?” Then there might be a long silence as the assembled spirits thought of all the people they would rather be with, and finally a very junior spirit, with the greatest reluctance, said, “Go on then. I’ll have a go.” Everyone was very relieved that it did not have to be them. But that is not how it was. It was not left to volunteers. James says that “God has caused the Spirit to live in us.” The God who planned redemption, and sent his own Son, now sends the Spirit to throb with love in our very hearts.
Would you tremble for your salvation if you thought there was some indifferent agent helping you ? We know how cold we are. “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love” – we confess that in song. The world is constant in the temptations it brings before us. Our own falls are many. We cry, “O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver us from the body of this death !” We are so neglectful of God. Hours go by each day in which we never think of the Lord. How can he bear us ? It is because of his immense love, patient, kind, always protecting, always trusting, always hoping, always persevering, never failing. He longs jealously for us amidst all the incredible stumbling blocks we put in front of him.
He “lives” in us, James says. He doesn’t make an occasional inspection. He doesn’t call in from time to time as we call in at our friends. He doesn’t come on approval so that if he doesn’t like it then this trial period will end. This life of ours is now his home, to settle, to stay, to make his permanent home. We are touched thinking of the brother of the American pilot, shot down over Viet Nam and missing, how he gave up his job and went to Viet Nam and spent months looking for him. He was known over a huge area of that country as the ‘pilot’s brother.’ His love for him took him into village after village, talking to criminals, and warlords, and corrupt officials, following every lead, giving his hard earned money away for any information, continuing with unwearied patience, not put off by many a dead end so that he might find and rescue his brother.
So too the love of the Spirit constrains him to keep in step with us throughout our lives. We fall into the gutter – he lies with us there. We visit the brothel – he does not stay outside the door. We end up with a broken marriage, broken life and broken heart he is still there. We go to prison – he enters the cell with us and also spends those years behind bars. We cannot conceive of the foulness of sin as seen by God. Who can imagine the energy of the Spirit in shrinking from the polluting touch of sin ? Yet he comes into the desperately wicked human heart, and dwells there – not for himself, or for any good to accrue to himself but that he might cleanse us and fit us to be what he had made us – the Bride, the Lamb’s wife. His love for us is so strong, mighty and constant that it can never fail. When he sees us rushing headlong to destruction he does not get off the bus. He still longs jealously over us. When our own hearts despise themselves the Spirit still labours with us in pitying love. His love burns all the stronger because we so deeply need his help.
In her current Newsletter Elisabeth Elliot talks of Bill and Debbie Rettew of Greer, South Carolina who have adopted nineteen children, ten of whom are seriously handicapped. Three more little boys have joined them this year so that there are now twenty-eight in the family, living in a well-ordered peaceful home “spilling over with sacrificial love, filled with joys and sorrows.” They began with one handicapped child, and then the number grew, as God sent them into their home, and they lavish on them all their touching care, washing and drying, dressing and undressing, helping them to eat and go to the bathroom, and they do it in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and with the strength that the loving Spirit provides. We see there a reflection of the Spirit’s care for us – who have been handicapped by sin.
How can such people as Bill and Debbie do what they do ? James tells us here – “God gives us more grace.” The family increases, and the grace to care for them increases too. The sufferings increase, and the grace of strength increases too. We are afraid of what might happen – an accident, a stroke, some physical calamity that make us helpless pain-torn creatures whose eyes are tortured with fright and desperation. We may not measure our ability to cope by our own limited resources. The Holy Spirit gives us more grace. Annie Johnson Flint has written a beloved hymn on these words:-
He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength when the labours increase;
To added affliction He addeth his mercy,
To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.
His love has no limit, His grace has no measure,
His power has no boundary known unto men;
For out of his infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again !
When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources,
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.
His love has no limit, His grace has no measure,
His power has no boundary known unto men;
For out of his infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth and giveth, and giveth again. !
In the book of Lamentations we read words that express the desolation and sorrow of an entire nation that had been torn loose from its native land, transported to a foreign country, and there enslaved. The affliction that had befallen the nation of Israel was a bitterness and gall which came upon them because of years of unfaithfulness to God. They had loved the world and become enemies of God, and finally God dismissed the people he had taken as his bride and sent them far away from his home in Jerusalem. Yet even in Babylon they discovered that the Spirit he had made to dwell in them was yearning after them even unto jealous envy. The bride has been unfaithful but the groom has kept his covenant promises. So the prophet wrote, “I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope. Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:19-23). We often sing those words and when we affirm, “All I have needed thy hand hath provided,” we are saying to one another in God’s presence, “Yes it is true. The Lord does give more grace.” Grace is for the helpless and undeserving, who have nothing to plead, and whose need is great grace.
4. God Opposes the Proud, but Gives Grace to the Humble. (v.6).
How do we overcome worldliness ? The simple rule James lays down is to keep humble. Once you start thinking like the young apostle Peter, saying, “Don’t worry, Jesus. You are fretting yourself unduly with all these fears about me and my future. I’ll never deny you. Others may forsake you, but you can always count on me. I’ll always be there.” Peter, chockablock full of self confidence, and then he is in the presence of the world one cold night, warming his hands by a fire, and down he falls into bluster, and lies and cursing. It’s to the humble God gives grace, to those who know just how weak they are, and take the warnings of the word seriously.
This is the great verse for all concerned about church growth. How do churches grow ? Only when their leaders have this verse written on their hearts. There is no way that a proud can church can grow. Of course it can grow in numbers, and publicity, and music, and activities. But those things are utterly unimportant in comparison to likeness to Jesus Christ, glorifying God, knowledge of the Lord’s will, growing in the graces of love, joy and peace. God only grants those to the humble, but the proud he opposes.
There was a proud prophet named Balaam who defied the Lord by speaking his own words rather than the Lord’s, and he brought God’s anger upon him. God sent an angel who stood in the road and opposed Balaam as he rode down it on his donkey. The donkey could see the angel and his drawn sword, but Balaam could not and so he beat his donkey again and again, until finally the donkey lay down under Balaam. The donkey rebuked its master, and Balaam’s eyes were opened to see the divine avenger standing before him and he fell on his face before him. God’s word to him was, “I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me,” (Num. 22:32). What was Balaam to do ? “Speak only what I tell you” (v.35) said God to the man. “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” (Prov. 16:18). Look at that mighty fall in some person’s life, from such eminence to such ignominy. What went before his destruction ? Pride. He was a proud man. That is what brought him so low, and God always opposes the proud.
How do we overcome the world ? How do we grow in our individual lives ? Never forget how utterly dependent you are on the word and Spirit of God for all your wisdom and strength. Go forth in obedience to him. In a hymn Isaac Watts asks the question, “Is this vile world a friend to grace to help me on to God ?” Not at all. Don’t go to the world and ask it for help to give you lasting joy, and patience, and love of holiness. The yearning Spirit is the friend to grace. He alone can help us on to God.
True humility is the key to a life of usefulness and daily help from God. It is all centred upon our hearts. Plutarch, the philosopher, used to tell the story of a man who tried to make a corpse stand up. He tried every way he knew but the body would always buckle and fall. He gave up in disgust, saying, “I guess there’s something lacking on the inside !” Men can prop up their churches with a host of activities, and keep it going, keep it going, using the rod to drive the church on, but in the end such testimony collapses. See how the Roman church collapsed once New Testament Christianity was rediscovered at the time of the Reformation. To stand requires life, and only the grace of God can deliver us from worldliness in an evil day. The Lord gives grace to the humble.
Dr Lloyd-Jones concludes his sermon on the text, “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” with these exhortations. “Look at God. Read this Book about Him, read His law, look at what he expects from us, contemplate standing before Him. Look at the Lord Jesus Christ and view him as we see Him in the Gospels. The more we do that the more we shall understand the reaction of the apostles when, looking at Him and something He had just done, they said, ‘Lord, increase our faith.’ Their faith, they felt was nothing. They felt it was so weak and so poor. ‘Lord, increase our faith. We thought we had something because we had cast out devils and preached Thy word, but now we feel we have nothing; increase our faith.’ Look at Him; and the more we look at Him, the more hopeless shall we feel by ourselves, and in and of ourselves, and the more shall we become ‘poor in spirit’. Look at Him, keep looking at Him. Look at the saints, look at the men who have been most filled with the Spirit and used. But above all, look again at Him, and then you will have nothing to do to yourself. It will be done. You cannot truly look at Him without feeling your absolute poverty, and emptiness” (“Studies in the Sermon on the Mount,” IVP, p.52) “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
GEOFFREY THOMAS December 6 1998