James 4:13-17 Deus Volent
It was a common practice among reformed churches, and still is for some, to end a message with ‘Deus Volent’, latin for ‘Lord willing’, especially if it involved any plans made for the future. James may have entered upon this subject at this juncture simply because it was an question raised by the church, or just something which James observed. On the other hand, James may have also dealt with it at this point because of a connection with what he has just said-that it is the Lawgiver alone “who is able to save and to destroy,” therefore we should not judge each other, but leave that to the Lord (v. 12). It is easy for us to think of traveling, especially if it involves our work and commerce, as a thing neutral, or something of no concern to the Lord. Even worse are those who believe that God isn’t sovereign over all, and therefore he doesn’t oversee all things. However, James rightly points out that no man can know the future apart from God, and the reason God knows the future, besides the reality that He is omniscient or all-knowing, is because he plans all things.
Humans, on the other hand, are but a vapour, we had a beginning and God alone will judge our end. So, knowing this basic knowledge about God and ourselves, can only lead to one appropriate and logical response. We ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that” (v. 15). To think and say otherwise James declares to be arrogant boasting, and “all such boasting is evil” (v. 16). Therefore any theology that denies this absolute sovereignty of the Lord God Almighty is also arrogant boasting, and evil. “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin” (v. 17). So to talk or teach that God is not absolutely sovereign, knowing this passage, and other equally clear passages of scripture, is a sin. It is time that we begin to again view such thinking, like Arminianism, as the sinful theology that it is. For those of us who do know this precious truth, we need to be reminded again that nothing, including our work or business dealings, is in any way outside His providential control, and make our plans accordingly.