Grace Series: Humility Needed

God resists the proud, but give grace to the humble.  Therefore submit to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.  Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts you double-minded.  Lament and mourn and weep!  Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up” (James 4:7-10).

It all starts with attitude.  God is not impressed with pride and self-righteousness (Luke 18:9-14).  Humility is needed before God.

This attitude of humility before God affects action.  True humility causes one to: (1) Submit to God.  Everyone must decide who is in control, God or self.  The prideful one will not submit himself to God.  The humble one will.  (2) Resist the devil.  Everyone must decide whose side he is supporting, God or the devil.  If one is not with God,  then he is against Him (cf. Matthew 12:30; Matthew 6:24; James 4:4).  One who is humble before God will not be indecisive.  He will stand on God’s side.  (3) Draw near to God.  (a) This is done in actions.  “Hands” is a figure of speech for one’s deeds (Psalm 26:9-10; Isaiah 1:15; 1 Timothy 2:8; James 4:8).  (b) This is done in heart and mind.  One who is truly humble before God is not double-minded  He is clear about who he desires to serve.  The battle starts in the mind (Proverbs 4:23; Mark 7:20-23; Romans 12:1-2).  (4) Weep over sin.  He will not be callous or hard-hearted.  He will not rationalize or minimize his sins.  He mourns over sin, when he is guilty of such.  “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4).

Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders.  Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for ‘God resist the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’  Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:5-6).

Submission to God is one thing, but submission to others?  Yes, humility before God will cause us to be humble and even submissive to others.

The younger people are to be submissive to their elders.  Who is in view?  (1) Is it older people? The elderly should be treated with respect (Proverbs 16:31; 23:22; 1 Timothy 5:1-2; 5:3-4, 8, 16).  However, I do not believe that this is the context.  (2) Is it the elders of the church? This seems to be the context {1 Peter 5:5 cf. 5:1-4 [Notice the word “likewise” (1 Peter 2:13-14; 2:18; 3:1; 5:5)]}.  “The younger people” may not refer to age, but to position [cf. Luke 22:24-26. (Today, in the business world, we speak of junior partners and senior partners)].

All have a responsibility to others.  The NKJV reads, “all of you be submissive to one another, and clothed with humility…”  The words “be submissive” are supplied from the previous clause, and are not in the original language.  The NASB reads, “all of you clothe yourselves with humility toward one another.”  The literal reading is “…all to one another humility gird on.”  Clearly, Christians are to be submissive to others who have authority over them [Ephesians 5:21 (cf. 5:22; 6:1; 6:5); 1 Peter 5:5b (cf. 2:13-14; 2:18; 3:1; 5:5)].  Moreover, humility is needed with all (Romans 12:16).  The word “clothed” (NKJV) is significant.  The original word (egkomboomai) means to gird oneself.  It may be reminiscent of how Jesus girded Himself and washed the disciples’ feet (John 13:1-15).  The one who is truly great serves others (Matthew 20:26-28; 23:11-12).  Guy N. Woods commented on the original term (translated clothed)saying, “It was used at the beginning of the Christian era of the white scarf or apron which slaves wore tightly fastened around the waist to distinguish them from freemen.  Used figuratively here, the meaning is, ‘Tie on humility like a slave’s apron’… so arrayed, they were to regard no service as to menial or lowly, no task too small from them to perform” (Gospel Advocate Commentary on Peter, John and Jude, pp. 128-129).

God’s grace is conditional.  One of the requirements is humility.  It is the humble that God will exalt.  Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time!”

About Bryan Hodge

I am a minister and missionary to numerous countries around the world.
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