In these verses, James distinguishes between two types of wisdom: earthly wisdom and godly wisdom. He highlights the characteristics of godly wisdom and describes the fruit it produces in the lives of believers.
James begins by contrasting earthly wisdom with wisdom that is from above. He describes godly wisdom as being "first pure." This purity refers to a moral and spiritual integrity, free from impurity and corruption. It is the foundation of all the other qualities of godly wisdom.
Next, James states that godly wisdom is "peaceful." This means that it promotes peace and harmony rather than discord and conflict. It seeks to reconcile, unite, and build bridges between people.
He goes on to describe godly wisdom as "gentle." This denotes a spirit of humility, kindness, and meekness. It is characterized by a tender and compassionate approach in dealing with others.
James then mentions that godly wisdom is "reasonable" or "willing to yield." It is open to reason and willing to listen to others. It does not assert its own opinions dogmatically but is willing to engage in respectful and constructive dialogue.
Furthermore, James emphasizes that godly wisdom is "full of mercy and good fruits." It is compassionate and generous, extending mercy and forgiveness to others. It produces good fruits in the lives of believers, manifesting in acts of kindness, love, and service.
James adds that godly wisdom is "without partiality." It is impartial and fair, treating all individuals with equity and without favoritism or prejudice. It does not show favoritism based on social status, wealth, or any external factors.
Lastly, James highlights that godly wisdom is "without hypocrisy." It is genuine and authentic, characterized by sincerity and honesty. It does not put on a false front or pretend to be something it is not.
Moving to verse 18, James speaks about the fruit of righteousness that is sown in peace by those who make peace. This means that when believers pursue godly wisdom, which is marked by purity, peace, gentleness, reasonableness, mercy, impartiality, and sincerity, they sow the seeds of righteousness. By promoting peace and acting in accordance with godly wisdom, they contribute to the growth and development of righteousness in themselves and in their relationships with others.
In summary, James 3:17-18 emphasizes the characteristics of godly wisdom and the fruit it produces in the lives of believers. It highlights the importance of purity, peace, gentleness, reasonableness, mercy, impartiality, and sincerity in the pursuit of wisdom. Believers are encouraged to sow the seeds of righteousness by promoting peace and practicing godly wisdom. This passage calls for a transformation of character and actions, reflecting the wisdom that comes from above and producing a positive impact on individuals and communities.
James 3:17-18. The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceful, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.