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James 1:5 by Robert Dean
Series:James (1998)
Duration:1 hr 6 mins 47 secs

The Sufficiency of Divine Wisdom
James 1:5

James 1:5 NASB "But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him."

Scripture, and Scripture alone, produces maturity; everything else is a production of the flesh. The doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture is important because we live in an era when people think that the way to solve problems and the way to face the difficulties and heartaches and adversities in their lives, and to deal with whatever traumas they encountered when they were children or young adults, is through psychology.

Psychology derives from two Greek words, PSUCHE [yuxh] and LOGOS [logoj] meaning word or study, reasoning about. So it is the science of the soul. The dictionary says that it is the science that deals with mental processes and behaviour, and the emotional and behavioural characteristics of an individual or group or an activity. So as a science it is scientific only in its methodology because the focus of what it studies is human beings. And we have volition. There are psychological theories that treat man as not having volition but that he is purely mechanical. But as a science it is empirical in nature, So that means that the empiricist goes out and observes and collects his data. He looks at a variety of different people and then from these observations draws certain conclusions. A lot of people think that this can be very objective, but the problem is that with any sort of empirical study is, you start off with and study X number of cases and you draw conclusions, and then all of a sudden you come up with X + 1 observation that totally wipes out all of your conclusions. There is always something else out there that can change and invalidate whatever conclusions you come up with and they foul up the whole process. Secondly, the objective student is not subjective at all. He has a mindset, a framework, and agenda in many cases, conscious or unconscious, and so this is the bias that he brings to it coloring the interpretation of the data. There is no such thing as a brute fact. Everybody thinks that the facts are neutral, but there is no such thing as a brute fact because the interpreter brings his conclusions to it automatically. When he sees it he is already engaged in the process of interpretation. Changing from psychology to geology, the geologist is observing a number of different fossils. He automatically, because of his mindset, has categorized those fossils within a scheme of historical geology. As soon as he sees them he says this is an object from 300-million years ago, and he knows which age and everything else, so he doesn't see it apart from this framework he pushes. He looks at the so-called facts but the conclusion he draws are completely different from the creationist who says the object he sees is another example of the life that was destroyed in the world-wide flood that God brought on the earth in Noah's time. They both look at that same fossil and come to a different conclusion, and they are 180 degrees apart. This is the same thing as in psychology and the result is that psychology today there are over 500 different models of human behaviour, and each has to have a behavioural theory that that supports the model. So there are over 500 different models, each one espousing a different theory of what makes a human being a human being and why they do what they do. Not only are there over 500 different models, there are probably by now over one thousand different therapies for achieving results of change in the subject. Which one are you going to buy into?

What really muddies the water is when some guy who is a Christian takes the Bible and refracts one of these 500 models through his biblical lense and comes out with something that he calls "Christian psychology." Then he goes and writes books! He write on child rearing, marriage, and education theory. When you go down to the Christian bookstore and see these books because you have a problem in your life, and you are trying to deal with something with your kids, something in your marriage, or just some traumas that you have gone through in life, or some adversity, and there you see a title that just hits you right between the eyes. You pick it up and in every other sentence there is a Bible verse and you say this guy has to be right, he must really know how to help me deal with my problem. You are just sliding down the wrong road already, because what this person has done is try to take two different opposing systems of thought, the human viewpoint systems of psychology and the divine viewpoint system of Scripture alone, and is trying to pull them together. It is no different from the legalist who is saying you are saved by faith plus works, or, you grow as a believer by following my legalistic rules. It is the same kind of thing. You add anything to the Word of God and you destroy it. Faith plus anything = nothing. We have to be very, very careful today because this has made tremendous inroads. Human psychology has infiltrated Christianity and the evangelical church in horrendous ways today. One thing that is common to every one of these systems is that they have a biblically-defective view of man. Even the Christian systems may start off at some point with a somewhat biblical view of man but they are going over and borrowing from another system—the other system got to that point on the basis of false conclusions—and they are bringing over false conclusions and trying to bring them into the Word of God. That is not saying that some of these people don't have some good things to say. Mormons have some good things to say, Hindus have some good things to say, be we are not going to go to the Book of Mormon to get some good information. Yet that is exactly what a lot of Christians are doing. Over the past forty years this Christian psychology movement has led hundreds of thousands of believers down the road away from pure reliance upon the Word of God.

The Bible says that the problem we have is not that we have a low self-esteem, it is that we have a problem with sin. Because of sin in the universe it has affected all kinds of different areas in our life. It has affected all kinds of relationships, marriage relationships, family relationships, parent-child relationships, work relationships. So sin affects all kinds of things in our lives, we grow up with sinners and are associated with those sinners, and because they are dominated by their sin natures and may go into all sorts of systems of evil we may be the victim of their evil. The Bible says there is only one solution, and that solution starts at the cross—by faith alone in Christ alone. Because of that we can conquer and have a solution to anything in life. If we do a study of the great heroes of the Old Testament we find that a lot of them went through a lot of the problems that people go through today. Just think of all of the Israelites who grew up under a system of horrible slavery in Egypt for over 400 years—sexual abuse, child abuse, physical abuse. Does God come along and say, "You poor people, you've been abused, you just don't have the right self-image, you don't have the right self-esteem"? The problem is sin and the solution is total dependence upon God, learning God's Word, and through the power of the Holy Spirit whatever the consequences of that might be in your life if you stick with the Word of God and rely upon Him then God is the one who heals, who restores. He is the one who is going to produce the fruit of the Spirit and no matter what has happened God is more powerful than that situation, that circumstances or that event. Whatever is in the past is in the past, and now the issue is focusing on doctrine and going forward.

Matthew 22:39 NASB "The second is like it, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.'" It has become vogue in the last 30 or 40 years to change the interpretation of that passage. What Jesus is saying is, because you are an egotistical sinner, and that is the nature of being a sinner, you love yourself, you are to love other people like yourself. Some people say, Oh, you have a bad self-image, these people don't love themselves. But that is in direct contradiction to a passage in Ephesians. In Ephesians 5:28 Paul says, NASB "So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies…" Paul understands that we automatically love ourselves first. "…He who loves his own wife loves himself…for no one ever hated his own flesh…" The point is that this passage doesn't say you have to learn to love yourself first before you can love others. That is what modern psychology is saying.

Another example of this Christian psychologizing that is very popular today is feminization of males. The statement is that if a woman truly expects to have meaningful communication with her husband she must activate the right side of his brain. The assumption is that the left side is the masculine side, objective, everything else in the right side is subjective and emotional, women always operate on the right side, men on the left side; and so if the woman wants the man to understand her he has to enter her world of emotions. What is this really saying? That is saying that women have to get their men to think like women in order to communicate with them. They don't want a man anymore, they want a man to be a woman, and act and think like a woman so they can relate. What they want to do is reverse the roles. The second fallacy is the whole underlying concept which is the left brain-right brain concept. This is a completely false and fabricated concept. 

The basic problem in all of this is that we are engaged in a battle, a battle between human viewpoint which the Bible calls foolishness. No matter how erudite, no matter how scholarly, no matter how academic, no matter how many studies support your views, if the ultimate premise is human viewpoint the Bible says it is foolishness. What matters is how the view lines up with the Word of God which is divine viewpoint, and that is called wisdom—absolute Truth. So we are living in the midst of a battlefield between human viewpoint thinking which is the operation of the sin nature, and divine viewpoint thinking which comes under the ministry of God the Holy Spirit in teaching us the Word of God.

James 1:5 NASB "But if [and it is assumed to be true] any of you lacks wisdom [for handling the tests], let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him."

The doctrine of wisdom

1)  Definition: The biblical concept of wisdom is derived from the Hebrew word chokmah, which is translated "skill or wisdom."

2)  We see it in the Old Testament in Exodus 35:35 NASB "He has filled them with skill [chokmah] to perform every work of an engraver and of a designer and of an embroiderer, in blue and in purple {and} in scarlet {material,} and in fine linen, and of a weaver, as performers of every work and makers of designs." We could define it as the skilful application of theory and knowledge to the practical issues of life. We all know people who can handle a theory or book instruction well but they don't know how to take book instruction and apply it to whatever it is, but this is referring to people who are able to take the theory and knowledge and skilfully apply that to the practical issues of life. It is very different from the Greek concept of SOPHIA [sofia], abstract knowledge. The Hebrew is a very different concept: practical knowledge that creates something beautiful. Exodus 36:1 NASB "Now Bezalel and Oholiab, and every skillful person in whom the LORD has put skill and understanding to know how to perform all the work in the construction of the sanctuary, shall perform in accordance with all that the LORD has commanded." It is not the academic knowledge, it is the practical use.  That brings us to the fact that this is comparable to the New Testament concept of EPIGNOSIS [e)pignwsij]. Where do we get EPIGNOSIS? First of all we have a pastor-teacher. He gives us the instruction from the Word of God. Then we are under the filling of the Holy Spirit (because we have confessed our sins) who is our teacher. He is the guide for every single believer to help them understand the Word of God. So the issue isn't our education, our IQ; it is no human factor. God the Holy Spirit gives us equal opportunity to learn the Word of God. In the spiritual realm the issue is not physical, biological or genetic factors. The issues are spiritual factors and God the Holy Spirit gives every single opportunity to study and learn the Word of God. God the Holy Spirit transfers it down into our minds, the NOUS [nouj], the left lobe of the mind, the mentality of the soul. Now we understand it academically; the Bible calls this GNOSIS [gnwsij]. We have a chance then to accept it, to believe it as true, and then God the Holy Spirit then transfers it over to our "heart," which the Bible calls the KARDIA [kardia]. It is not emotional, it is talking about the mind, the innermost part of his thinking. This is where Bible doctrine is stored and where it circulates in our thinking processes. This is where it becomes a part of our every-day thought life. As we meditate on it and contemplate on it God the Holy Spirit circulates it in the mind. That is where it is EPIGNOSIS and wisdom, and it is from there that the Holy Spirit applies it. It is a skill. A skill is not something that is developed overnight, it takes time. There are three major spiritual skills. The first is confession and you have to learn it. You have to get to the point where you keep short accounts with God every time you sin. The second is the filling of the Holy Spirit. Third, you have the ten stress-busters. The only way you learn how to apply those over and over again is to learn them and use them, and use them, and use them…. And that develops a skill. As these skills are developed the result is skilful living. God the Holy Spirit is producing something of beauty and value and attractive in your life. He is making you into the image of Jesus Christ so that the character of Christ is displayed in your life. The fruit of the Spirit is the product of this. It is up to Him to produce that, not you. Your job is confession of sin, constant use of the problem-solving devices, learning and applying doctrine, and then the Holy Spirit takes care of the production and the spiritual growth.

3)  Wisdom thus begins with making doctrine the highest priority in life. This is what the Bible means by the fear or respect of the Lord. Fear means to honor, to revere, to value highly because the consequences of failing to do so are calamitous, so disastrous. Proverbs 1:7 NASB "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction." If you are going to have wisdom in your soul then it starts with authority orientation to the Word of God, studying the Word of God, learning the Word of God, because you know that nothing matters more than what God's plan is for your life.

4)  Wisdom has its source in God alone, and it is set in the Bible against the thinking of all the various human viewpoint thinking. Proverbs 2:6 NASB "For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth {come} knowledge and understanding."