“The Wisdom That Is From Above Is First Pure”

“But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy” (James 3:17).

All the things that can be said of divine revelation in the Bible must include this statement written by James.  It is written in Proverbs, “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, let he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar” (Prov. 30:5-6). Consider three areas where the priority of purity is addressed.

  1. Pure in Message. Peter warned concerning “they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:16).  Perverting, twisting, corrupting the word of God is sternly condemned.  The message of the Bible is to bring the lost to the condition of salvation through Christ according to God’s clear instruction.  Any deviation from that message is a path toward self-righteousness and thus condemnation.  Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ” (2 Cor. 2:17).  When truth is twisted into falsehood, no good can come from it.  It was deception and corruption of what God said that Satan used to bring sin into the world (cf. 2 Cor. 11:3).
  2. Pure in Morals. Purity is a vital aspect of the life of a Christian (cf. 1 Tim. 4:12; 5:22).  When man will buy into a corrupted message, it will not be long before he will buy into a corrupted manner of living.  Paul described such a pattern in the first chapter of the book of Romans (cf. Romans 1:18-32).  Paul warned the brethren at Corinth when certain ones were denying the resurrection (cf. 1 Cor. 15:12), “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners” (1 Cor. 15:33).  The Lord demands that while keeping the message pure (cf. 1 Peter 1:12, 23, 25) one must also live holy (cf. 1 Peter 1:14-16).  The prophets called people unto repentance (cf. Zech. 1:4) to follow only the word of the Lord (cf. Jer. 6:16), which would produce a righteous people (cf. Isa. 1:18-19, 27).  The nation refused the Lord (cf. Jer. 2:13) and his word (cf. Hosea 4:6) and turned unto the immorality of idolatry (cf. Jer. 3:6-9; Hosea 4:12-14).  Those who do not learn from history often repeat it.
  3. Pure in Mission. The mission or purpose of life is to be single-minded in service to God.  Being double-minded will not do (cf. James 1:8; 4:4, 8).  Jesus knew what his time on earth was designed to finish (cf. John 4:34).  While the Christian cannot do what Jesus was destined to do, he can model his life to “fear God, and keep his commandments” (Eccl. 12:13).  The world is filled with things that distract and call one’s attention away from the purpose that God has for man.  Look at how busy many people are with everything except what is spiritual.  Even spiritually minded people can get distracted from what is needful (cf. Luke 10:41-42).  Consider how important it was that the apostles fulfill their work and not go back to previous pursuits (cf. John 21:15-17).  Paul knew his place in such work (cf. Acts 20:24).  Staying on point and finishing what one began is a mark of true discipleship.  The wisdom from above must truly first be pure before any other factor is explored.

Jimmy Clark