What Does James 4:8 Mean?

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

James 4:8(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

Christians are eternally united to Christ by faith. We become a child of God and are positioned in Christ at rebirth. At salvation, we receive the indwelling Holy Spirit as a guarantee of our eternal life and heavenly inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession - until we are raptured into His presence. There are many precious promises that become ours, the moment we trust in Christ as the sacrifice for our sin.

Christians are declared righteous by faith in Christ and once we are saved, there is nothing that can remove us from our redeemed status - nothing that can cancel God's glorious promises to us. However, sin is a barrier that can fracture our relationship with the Lord. If a child of God sins, then fellowship with our heavenly Father is broken - BUT If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 

Just as sin separates an unbeliever from being united with our Lord and positioned in Him… so sin causes the fellowship between a believer and God to be severed. When a believer’s fellowship with our heavenly Father has been broken, it will remain fractured until we confess our wrongdoing, in sincerity and truth. God is faithful and just to forgive His children their sins and to cleanse us once more, when we admit our faults.

Although Christians are positioned in Christ and eternally united with Him, any post-salvation sins we commit will always break the precious communion we enjoy with the Lord. Sin separates us from our Father until the sin issue is put right. This can only be done through humble confession of our wrong-doing, and although sin never removes us from our secure position in Christ, it most certainly breaks our fellowship with God, for sin is always a barrier that separates a sinner from a holy God.

It was the apostle John who told us that: if we confess our sin to our Father, our fellowship with Him will be re-established. Similarly, James reminds us that if we are separated from God as a result of sin, we are to draw close to Him, and He will draw near to us. Draw nigh to God, we are instructed, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double-minded. James is simply telling us to confess all our faults to God so that we may be cleansed, purified, restored, and reestablished into fellowship with our Father,

Indeed, James is very straight-forward in his reproof, for like John he knows that sin causes an unbridgeable barrier between a Christian and the Lord - a spiritual separation that calls for humble confession and a purified heart... and so, he thunders: Cleanse your hands, you sinners. Make your hearts pure, you who are half-hearted towards God and wavering in your faith.

Sin, in the life of a believer, must be quickly addressed if close communion with Christ is to be re-established. If fellowship with God is broken, it is a flaw in us and not in the Lord - it is because of our sin and not because God has withdrawn from us. If we long to re-establish tender fellowship and sweet communion with Him, we are the ones who are instructed to draw near to God, and He will draw close to us, for He is never far from any one of us.

Hearts need to be purified and uncompromising.  Humility should replace any double-minded hypocrisy or attempts to justify our sin. We should do all we can to draw close to the Lord; to abide in Him, to return into fellowship, and to prayerfully cleave to Him - for if we resist our relationship with Christ will be damaged and our intimate communion with Him will be broken.

There should be a deep cleansing of the inner heart; a separation from the world and a positive choice to single-mindedly keep Jesus Christ as our singular focus. We should approach him in worship, prayer, praise, and thanksgiving. We should examine ourselves to discover any failure, and quickly confess our fault to our Father as instructed - for God resists those that are proud but gives grace to those that are humble.

But those who are covered in the righteousness of Christ, by faith in Him, have been given the right to draw close to Him – for He has promised to draw close to us. But this can only happen when our hearts are purified before Him, our lives consecrated to Him, and we have separated ourselves from the world - with our conscience washed, our sins confessed and our mind looking to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith.

My Prayer

Loving Father I want to develop a singleness of mind towards You with my heart purified and my hands clean before You, so that I can draw closer and closer to Christ, my Saviour, and Lord. Keep my ears open to Your voice, my eyes open to Your truth and my heart open to You alone, in Jesus' name I pray AMEN.

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