With What Spirit Are We Born

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Hi R____,

Thanks for your question. You ask which translation I am using when I quote Jas 4:5. I use the King James unless I note otherwise. Here is that verse in the King James:

Jas 4:5  Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?

Now notice the preceding verses:

Jas 4:1  From whence [ come] wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?
Jas 4:2  Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.
Jas 4:3  Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
Jas 4:4  Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

Verse one tells us that there are “Lusts that war in your members,” which agrees with Paul’s statement that “sin dwells in our members.”

Rom 7:15  For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
Rom 7:17  Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
Rom 7:18  For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
Rom 7:19  For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
Rom 7:20  Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

There it is. God made man flesh and blood out of the dust of the ground with sin dwelling in that flesh. “The spirit that is in us lusts to envy” Jas 4:5. God created man as ‘serpent food’. We are all the seed of the serpent before we are the seed of the woman. Look at what Christ said “to those Jews which believed on Him.”

Joh 8:30  As he spake these words, many believed on him.
Joh 8:31  Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;

There is a world of difference between being a believer in Christ and being a “disciple indeed.”  Just look at what Christ has to say to these same “Jews which believed on Him.”

Joh 8:37  I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.
Joh 8:38  I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.
Joh 8:39  They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.
Joh 8:40  But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.
Joh 8:41  Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, [ even] God.
Joh 8:42  Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.
Joh 8:43  Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.
Joh 8:44  Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

“Why do you not understand my speech? even because you cannot hear my word. You are of your father the devil.” That is what Paul told the Corinthian converts to Christianity:

1Co 1:1  Paul, called [ to be] an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes [ our] brother,
1Co 1:2  Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:

These new converts believed on Christ, just like the Jews of Joh 8 did. But just like those Jews, they could not receive Christ’s words and were “Yet carnal babes in Christ.”

1Co 3:1  And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
1Co 3:2  I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
1Co 3:3  For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
1Co 3:4  For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?

“The spirit that is in us lusts to envy” as babes in Christ. That is our carnal nature. That is the spirit we all are given “by nature.”

Eph 2:2  Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
Eph 2:3  Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

“You walked according to the … spirit that now works in the children of disobedience… we all were by nature children of wrath even as others.”
“The spirit that now works in the children of disobedience” is “the spirit that lust to envy” in Jas 4:5. “We all… were children of disobedience… of our father the devil…”
Again, here is Jas 4:5

Jas 4:5  Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?

“The scripture James refers to is:

Gen 6:5  And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

That is how God had made man. That is what a marred vessel does:

Jer 18:4  And the vessel that he made of clay [ Adam] was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.

Eve was taken out of Adam. It was her “marred in the hand of the Potter… out of the ground… naked… vessel of clay” composition, which caused Eve to lust after the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil before she ever touched the tree.

Gen 3:6  And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

Eve had within her the lust of the flesh, lusting after food she was told not to eat. She had within her the lust of the eyes, because she saw “that it was pleasant to the eyes,” and she had within her “the pride of life,” because she perceived the tree of the knowledge of good and evil as “a tree to be desired to make one wise.” All of this is what John calls “all that is in the world.”

1Jn 2:16  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

When John says “is not of the Father” he certainly is not contradicting himself when he says:

Joh 1:3  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

What John is doing is contrasting “the spirit in man which lusts to envy” with the spirit of Christ. Mankind is created with “the spirit in man” which gives him life. It is not a spirit which has been purged of all the wood, hay and stubble that is in man. It is rather “the spirit of  the children of disobedience” of which spirit “we all” are at first as, ” by nature the children of disobedience… and children of wrath even as others” (Eph 2:2-3).

I hope that helps you to see that “the spirit that dwells in us,” in Jas 4:5 is speaking of “the spirit that lusts to envy,” which is what Paul is speaking of when he says “we all… by nature… are children of disobedience… and are by nature children of wrath, even as others.”
Your brother in Christ,
Mike

Other related posts