Draw Near to God?
This verse and the verses in context, is directed to nonbelievers as a salvation verse, and not meant to be a passage for daily cleansing or discipleship. This is why rightly dividing the word of God is important. And it is also important to know that not every verse in the Bible is directed to believers. The biblical writers were writing to a Church that had a mix of believers and unbelievers, and all the writers were wanting those who were lost to be saved, which is why a lot of the letters are constantly presenting the gospel.
Let us compare James 4 to what is true of believers. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you (James 4:8a).” In contrast, Christians have been brought near by God’s blood (Eph. 2:13), are seated with Christ in heaven (Eph. 2:6), one spirit with God (1 Cor. 6:17), and hidden with Christ (Col. 3:3).
“Cleanse your hands, you sinners (James 4:8b).” Christians have been cleansed (2 Peter 1:9; 1 Cor. 6:11), perfected forever (Heb. 10:14), are saints (Romans 1:7; Eph. 1:1), and are holy and blameless (Col. 1:22; Heb. 10:10).
“And purify your hearts, you double-minded (James4:8c).” Believers have cleansed hearts (Acts 15:9), pure hearts (Matt. 5:8), new hearts (Ezekiel 26:26), and obedient hearts (Rom. 6:17). And Christians have the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16).
It is clear from scripture and context, that James 4:8 is not directed to believers. We are not far from God and in need of getting closer. No, believers are close and secure in Christ.
Jesus has made you close. Jesus has made you clean. Jesus has made you new. And Jesus’s life in you is enough for you in every moment.
To read more, check out my bestselling book, "The Cross Worked."