by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Study # 68 January 20, 1999 Harlingen, Texas
Thesis:What IS the content of the promise that God will "draw near to you"?
Introduction:Last week we looked into the admonition to resist the devil. We saw that the devil's chief method is the generation of multiple illusions and the reinforcement of those illusions over time so that they become a part of the educational system of the culture. We also saw that the chief methodology of resistance was the one Jesus used: proclamation of the true content of the Word of God as final truth that is to be adhered to. Temptation is always lust-driven and grace is always available to resist. The obvious requirement of resistance is that we be in the process of building our understanding of the Word of God. We are under a whole series of divine mandates to have our minds filled with the Word of God, and the failure of obedience at this level simply opens the flood gates of illusion-land.
There is a deeper problem, however, than temptation. There is a deeper problem than the devil and his illusions. The deeper problem is the distance we keep between us and God. We are changed from glory to glory as we behold His glory...and we remain unchanged when the glory fades by reason of the distance we keep. James addresses this problem next. He writes, "Draw near to God...and He will draw near to you." What does he mean?
I. The Promise
A. What does it really mean?
1. It MUST mean that the distance is closed.
a. But this raises the question of the nature of the distance.
1. There is a kind of distance that can NOT be closed while we are in this flesh.
2. There is a kind of distance that MUST be closed while we are in this flesh.
b. The question of the nature of the distance is resolved by consideration of James' prior words [1:19-22] and his current words [4:8].
1. The distance is a mind/heart alienation that is revealed by the unwillingness to hear and believe, and act.
2. The distance is a mind/heart alienation that is revealed by the willingness to indulge lusts at the expense of others.
2. It MUST mean that the heart and mind are, in some way, in a real relationship with God.
B. Its true meaning.
1. It is real, but it is not typically human.
a. In human relationships, sensory distance is a significant hindrance.
1) Audible communication.
2) Visual communication.
b. The typical relational reality between God and His children is not audible or visual.
2. It is real, but it is not universally the same for everyone...there are degrees of relational interaction.
a. There MUST be some universal elements to God's nearness to His people.
b. There ALSO MUST be some special elements that are unique to the individual and the Spirit's gifting. [Note that those who spoke with other tongues had a spirit-Spirit experience that others did not have who did not have that gift].