James 4:8 – Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
I love this verse. There so many things to contemplate in these twenty-three words. Unlike many verses in the Bible, this verse contains not one but two whole sentences. Two complete lessons in one package. Maybe I am easy to please, but herein I see the grace of God combined with the reality of our need for repentance to enjoy the wonderful blessings He has in store for His children.
The central message of the Gospels is “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” On numerous occasions, Jesus preached this message and taught His disciples to do so as well. By His grace, we can hear and understand this message and apply it to our lives. Without repentance and seeking forgiveness for our sins, we have no true lasting joy. Humbling ourselves under the hand of God is essential to fellowship with Him. As we draw closer to God in repentance and worship of the Lord, we find that He is closer and closer because our sins and temptations have less power over us.
I believe that we can all imagine the reaction if we carried a sign with this verse on it. Many would be repulsed by the firmness of the message, but our repulsion does not make it untrue. We must cleanse our sin-dirty hands and our wicked hearts to know God.
Let us approach God now without the filth of yesterday’s sins and ignoring the temptations of today. By His grace these things have no power over the children of God.