And in proof of real conversion there must be the outward lamentation, as well as the inward contrition. And if the sorrow changes us, The statement of the prohibition (James 4:11a) (Amplified Bible - Lockman), I fear that we evangelical Christians, by making much of grace, sometimes thereby make light of sin.
Zechariah 11:2 Wail (Heb = yalal = command to howl; Lxx = hololuzo [onomatopoetic verb] = make loud an inarticulate cries in context because of the painful circumstances associated with God's judgment), O cypress, for the cedar has fallen, Because the glorious trees have been destroyed (Heb = shadad = despoil, devastate; Lxx = talaiporeo); Wail, O oaks of Bashan, For the impenetrable forest has come down.3 There is a sound of the shepherds' wail, For their glory is ruined (Heb = shadad = despoil, devastate; Lxx = talaiporeo); There is a sound of the young lions' roar, For the pride of the Jordan is ruined (Heb = shadad = despoil, devastate; Lxx = talaiporeo). 51, also Thuc. A melting heart is the chief branch of the covenant of grace (Ezek. That aid is not withheld in the hour of need; and everywhere the Bible commands sinners to believe and repent.). Are we willing to turn from it? Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Be afflicted—Penitence is the way to repentance and reformation; penitence in view of past sin and future judgment. We must not only mourn—but turn. Learn hence, that as the afflicting hand of God does increase upon a person, a family, or a people, so ought the humiliation and mourning of that person, family, or people, to increase; we ought not only to be humbled when God afflicts, but also to be humbled in proportion to what God inflicts; great afflictions call for great humiliations; woe to that person, that family, or that people, who will not afflicted when God afflicts them, nor humble themselves, when God humbles them; who, when God casts them down, will hold up their heads in mirth and jollity: God loves to see us bear our cross, but he cannot endure to see us make sport with it, or slight of it. And now made willing to return He who does not mourn, has surely lost the use of his reason…. God wants us to be filled with joy (1 Thessalonians 5:16), but how can we be joyful, how can we laugh when there is sin in our lives? Among the Greeks the verb and noun (penthos) were used especially for public mourning. Somebody said, “If you want to know whether a man’s life is made up of frivolous or serious things, watch what he laughs at.” If the Christian has to look at the same things as the worldly and unconverted people in order to laugh, then there is something radically wrong with his Christianity. One has to be careful that their mourning is not just an emotional reaction but that there is true confession, repentance and genuine mourning. NET: Grieve, mourn, and weep. "Commentary on James 4:9". Page 633. A godly man's sorrow has these three qualifications: (a) Godly sorrow is INWARD. James 4:9 Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy to gloom. His nature is a poisoned fountain.
He does not here add, howl, as ch. The ring of revelry and laughter should give way to the voice of mourning. One would have thought mourning and being blessed were in opposition, but the infinitely wise Saviour puts them together in this beatitude.
(4) Godly humility (James 4:10) God has encircled us in the compass of a little time, and charges us immediately to bewail our sins. Be wretched (in your minds, from a sense of your sinfulness. Will not he grieve, who has lost a rich jewel? How oft, alas! Greatly lament and mourn over your own unholiness, over your own wickedness. Sorrow, deep and unfeigned, was appropriate on account of their sins, and the sound of laughter and of revelry should be changed to notes of lamentation. There is shedding of tears accompanied by external expression. To weep, weep for, mourn, lament. We must mourn for sin as it is a privation; it keeps good things from us; it hinders our communion with God. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board). Repentance may be compared to myrrh, which though it is bitter to the taste—is comforting to the spirits.
"Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". J C Ryle writes that those who turn laughter to mourning refers to, those who sorrow for sin, and grieve daily over their own shortcomings. The idea that our life was a vapor or shadow was a frequent figure of speech in the Old Testament (Psalm 102:11; Job 8:9; 1 Chronicles 29:15). b. —Sper, Mourn (3996) (pentheo [word study] from pénthos = mourning) means to mourn for, lament. The indication of the proper attitude (James 4:15) ASV: Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.
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