Drawing Near to God
James 4:8
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double minded.

1. Touching the commandment, and the precept enjoined, is to draw near to God. That we are commanded to draw near unto God, doth it not insinuate unto us that naturally we are estranged and alienated from Him? (Isaiah 59:2; Jeremiah 5:25).

2. To which short precept is set down a like promise: draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Which promise is as a reason to move us to draw near to God. He is ready to offer Himself, and is pressed at hand to all such as come near unto Him, to make them to feel the comfort of His presence. God may be said to draw near to man divers ways.

(1) By the manifestation of His majesty, as to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and others (Genesis 12:7; Genesis 17:1; Genesis 18:1; Genesis 26:1; Genesis 28:13; Genesis 32:24; Exodus 33:23; Exodus 24:1; Exodus 3:2).

(2) He draweth near also unto man by the revelation of His will. He drew nearest thus to Israel His people, to whom He gave His law and statutes, whereby He became familiar unto them.

(3) By the graces of His Spirit, which imparting unto men He draweth near thereby unto them (John 14:18; Matthew 28:20; Acts 2:1; Acts 3:3).

(4) God draweth near to men by pouring out His temporal benefits upon them, health, wealth, honour, and sending them deliverance out of their trouble (Deuteronomy 4:7; Philippians 4:5; Psalm 69:18; Psalm 119:151; Psalm 34:18; Psalm 46:1).

(5) God draweth near unto men in offering His mercy, showing His favour, assisting with His help, multiplying His livingkindness unto them.

(6) God finally draweth near unto us in a spiritual union with man, through the incarnation of Jesus Christ, whereby God is united unto us and we to Him, by which means God dwelleth among us, and is made manifest in the flesh, as St. John and St. Paul speak. And therefore Christ is Emmanuel. Where, then, the apostle saith draw near to God, and He will draw near to you, he speaketh chiefly of drawing near by His grace, favour, mercy; who enlargeth His lovingkindness towards all those which with reverence and fear draw near unto Him.

3. These things thus set down, in the last place we are taught how we should draw near to God, which the apostle expresseth in these words: "Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purge your hearts, you double-minded."(1) Men draw near to God by outward profession, though it be not always in sincerity of heart. Thus did the people of Israel in outward profession, and with their mouths, draw near to God, which as a token of hypocrisy is condemned (Isaiah 24:13; Isaiah 58:2, 3).

(2) Men also draw near to God by faith in Jesus Christ, whereby they have entrance unto Him (Romans 5:1).

(3) Men draw near to God also by prayer, whereby we ascend, as it were, to heaven, and approach near to the presence of God.

(4) Neither do men draw near to God by prayer only, but also by repentance, which is a returning again to God, whom, through the sins and iniquities of our lives, we have left and forsaken.

(5) Men are said, moreover, to draw near to God when they seek to His holy ark, when they run to His Word to ask counsel.

(6) By reposing all trust and confidence in God, and clinging constantly unto Him, whereof Psalm 73:28.

(7) Of none of all these the apostle here seemeth to speak properly, but of another drawing near, which is by purity and sincereness of life, whereof chiefly in this place he speaketh, which be commendeth unto us in these words, "Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purge your hearts, you double-minded," which I take not for a new precept, but with and others as the manner of performing that which is now enjoined.Let us then consider the place —

1. In calling them sinners he meaneth not them which are subject by natural infirmity to the committing of sin, as all men are so long as they rest and remain upon the face of the earth, but hereby he noteth their heinous and horrible iniquities.

2. By wavering or double-minded he noteth the shameful hypocrisy which was crept in, even into their lives, which made some show of religion, And had a pretence of godliness, but in their hearts were full of ungodliness.

3. The words bearing this signification, the matter followeth, that men in purity and sincerity of their lives draw near unto God, which consisteth in two things.

(1)  In cleaning of their hands.

(2)  In purging of their hearts before God.

(R. Turnbull.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

WEB: Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Draw Nigh to God
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