Adulterers and adultresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
Perhaps one of the biggest misunderstandings we have in the Christian faith is that we look at our relationship with God too much in a legalistic way. We tend to be, in the words of Archbishop Lazar Puhalo, Old Testament Christians who are stuck on obeying commandments. Yet, Jesus and the apostles taught that the relationship between God and the church was spousal with Christ as the bridegroom and the church (and individual believers) as the bride. Our responsibility then is not morality for the sake of legalism. We are called to seek intimacy with the faithful and loving Christ who sacrificed himself so that we may draw closer to him. Here in the text, James is not so much concerned about husbands and wives cheating on each other. The issue is our cheating on God by linking our souls with worldly concerns instead of seeking the fullness of our marriage to him.
- The wrong friends can poison a marriage
- James addresses the poison in the church’s marriage to God
- When we accept worldly ways of pursuing earthly power and pleasure, we become adulterers and adultresses as much as, if not worse than people who cheat on husbands and wives
- How do we avoid this form of adultery?
- 1. Resist pride (v.6, 7)
- 2. Draw near to God (v.8)
- 3. Pursue Purity (v.8)
- God the Father is Spirit and has given us his Holy Spirit. Therefore we are enabled to have the fulfilling spousal relationship with him through the gift of Jesus Christ. We must choose between adultery with the world or spiritual intimacy with him.