Notice James claims that the wisdom that comes from God is – yes, “chiefly” pure, but it is also peaceful and uncensorious. Someone who is censorious is highly fault-finding, super critical and apt to accuse the other. James says this is not a part of the wisdom of God. Instead the wise Christian is “courteous” and “always ready to be convinced!” In other words, willing to listen to the opposing arguments! including those which are blasphemous. Wisdom is not finger-pointing and back-biting (or stabbing). “Peace is the seed-ground of holiness.” Read that again! “Peace is the seed-ground of holiness.” Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall see the kingdom of God.”
Whereas the wisdom which does come from above is marked chiefly indeed by its purity, but also by its peacefulness; it is courteous and ready to be convinced, always taking the better part; it carries mercy with it, and a harvest of all that is good; it is uncensorious, and without affectation. Peace is the seed-ground of holiness, and those who make peace will win its harvest. James 3:17-18 KNOX
Bitter jealousy, boasting, selfish ambition, disorder, vile practices, quarrels, even murder — this is “not the wisdom that comes from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.” (James 3: 15)
James contrasts this earthly knowledge with “the wisdom from above” which he writes is “first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.”
James tells us that “[our] passions are at war within [us].” What we want, we do not obtain and so we fight, even murder. “[We] ask and do not receive, because [we] ask wrongly, to spend it on [our] passions.” (James 4: 1, 3) James further writes, “No human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.” (James 3: 8 – 9)
“So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” (James 4: 17)
On the other hand, as we cultivate peace — taming our ambitions, our tongue, our covetousness — then “a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace.” (James 3: 18) This is the wisdom from above — “open to reason” and “full of mercy.”
O Lord,”Your eyes are too pure to look on evil, and You cannot tolerate wrongdoing.”
Hence, Your Son Jesus comes to live on earth, and die on a cross to save us from Your wrath. Without Jesus’ sacrifice, You are too pure to accept us for we are evil, committing wrongdoing.
Peter asks Jesus, “Lord, how many times can my brother sin against me and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” (Matthew 18: 21) Jesus says to Peter that he must forgive his brother an infinite number of times, even if this brother commits the same sin over and over and over again.
You, O God forgive us in the same manner — an infinite number of times because our sins — our debts against your glory — are paid in full by the blood of Your precious Son, Jesus Christ.
O God, let us be grateful as David is grateful. Let us sing praise to Your Name, and give You all the glory. Amen.