What does James 3:18 mean?

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James 3:18 meaning

In James 3:18, the apostle wrote, “Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” In chapter 3, James recognized two kinds of wisdom, the heavenly and the demonic. “There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body” (1 Corinthians 15:44). In James 2:17, the apostle has also recognized two kinds of faith (James 2:17). As with a dead faith, the demonic wisdom is also dead. Its cunning arguments are all used for self-interest and not for the glory of God. For “The carnal mind is enmity against God” (Romans 8:7). Let’s examine these two kinds of wisdom:

True wisdom

True wisdom, the kind that God promises to all who sincerely ask for it (James 1:5), is pure and free from “earthly” ambitions. Further, he who is truly wise seeks to avoid arguments and strife. Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. (Matthew 5:9).

Christ is the Master Peacemaker and “The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6, 7; Micah 5:5). When we accept Him we are “justified by faith,” and “we have peace with God” (Romans 5:1). Just before His death, Jesus declared His wish to impart His peace to His children, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you” (John 14:27; 2 Thessalonians 3:16).

Peace not through compromise

The Christian’s desire for peace should not keep him from presenting the truth, even though he may face opposition. Jesus foretold that the spreading of the gospel would bring conflict upon His followers (Matthew 10:34). But this conflict is the flaw of those who reject the truth, not of those who lovingly share it. Purity of life and belief must never be compromised in order to obtain peace.

The fruits of true wisdom

True wisdom will bring good fruits (Matthew 7:17; 21:34; Galatians 5:22, 23; Matthew 3:8) the product or reward of correct behavior (Proverbs 11:30; Matthew 7:16). It is mild, patient when evoked, and is ready to forgive mistakes of others (1 Timothy 3:3; Titus 3:2).  A true believer is a peacemaker at home and wherever he may go (Matthew 5:9). Thus, he who sows the seeds of peace enjoys the fruit of peace, partly in this life and fully in the life to come in the kingdom of the “God of peace” (1 Thessalonians 5:23).

Demonic wisdom

The earthly wisdom seeks to satisfy the desires that spring from within the natural man. This kind of wisdom focuses on the brief earthly life instead of the glories of the eternal kingdom of heaven. “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do” (Galatians 5:17). Therefore, those who are in the flesh can’t please God (Romans 8:8).

Demonic wisdom not only lacks the characteristics of the wisdom that is “from above,” but has traits that are characteristic of demons. Lucifer, the chief of demons, was not content with the wisdom that God had given him. The Bible says about him, “Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings, that they might gaze at you” (Ezekiel 28:17). Eventually this envious spirit led him to take a course of “bitter envying and strife” (James 3:14).

Thus, wisdom that is not “from above” will eventually be exposed for what it truly is. “For to set the mind on the flesh is death” (Romans 8:6). And it will eventually fall because of its own weaknesses. “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23; Ezekiel 18:4).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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