Hello Summit Family!
Over the past few days, we have been sharing characteristics “brothers and sisters” will have when they possess a heavenly wisdom. Those characteristics are found in verses 17 and 18 of chapter three.
“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.”
Today we’ll take a look at the value of bearing good fruit, being impartial and sincere.
We know that scripture frequently draws our attention to the expectation that believers should be people who produce fruit for the kingdom of God. In multiple places the reference to “fruit” is a reference to new followers of Christ. And indeed, Christ provided numerous challenges are it relates to sharing the gospel with others.
Probably the most well-known passage of scripture that focuses on bearing fruit is John 15. These are the words of Christ: “I am the vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, which every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful…No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine…I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you; you will bear much fruit…This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” (1,2,4b,5,8)
There are other kinds of fruit we can produce as a result of having heavenly wisdom. Most of us are familiar with the fruits of the Spirit: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23) It seems this is the kind of fruit James is talking about in this instance because it is connected with wisdom that results in a “good life.” Isn’t it interesting how similar the list of the fruits of the Spirit are to the list of adjectives James includes in this passage!
James adds the next adjective – being impartial. This should not be a surprise to any of his readers. He spends a great portion of chapter two explaining the unrighteousness that comes from showing favoritism or partiality. I am sure his readers would have still remembered his challenge to avoid being impartial on their minds. Those who have a heavenly wisdom will understand the evil outcomes generated when we choose to be partial.
James’ final adjective – sincerity. Whatever we do, we need to do it with sincerity. One of the greatest criticisms facing the church is the hypocrisy that exists among its members. Paul had this to say about being sincere: “Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace.” (2 Corinthians 1:12)
We need to ensure that our outward appearance is not maintained only for appearance sake, but because it is generated from a sincere heart.
So, we have considered James’ description of what is characterized by those who possess a heavenly wisdom, those who are: pure, peacemakers, considerate, submissive, merciful, impartial, producers of good fruit, and sincere! I think the sincerity aspect applies to each of the other traits. We will be genuine in our demonstration of those characteristics.
He closes the chapter by telling his reader the kind of harvest they can expect by demonstrating a heavenly wisdom, a righteous harvest. That can be interpreted two ways: “fruit which grows out of our being righteous” (other believers) or “fruit which IS the righteous harvest.” In other words, the manifestation of heavenly wisdom in our lives produces fruit that is righteous. Either interpretation has merit.
I think what is important is to realize that we reap what we sow. If the Word of God is implanted in us and we are facing life’s trials and tribulations, all of the various seasons we will face in life with a wisdom that comes from God, the natural result will be a righteous harvest.
So, what would describe the wisdom we demonstrate – an earthly wisdom or a heavenly one? The reality is that we probably already know the answer to that question by evaluating what WE are reaping. Remember this, a good spring will produce fresh water and a salt spring will only produce saltwater!