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James 1:2-12 CONSIDER IT PURE JOY, my brothers, WHENEVER YOU FACE TRIALS OF MANY KINDS, BECAUSE you know that the testing of your faith DEVELOPS PERSEVERANCE. Perseverance must finish its work SO THAT YOU MAY BE MATURE AND COMPLETE, NOT LACKING ANYTHING. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, HE MUST BELIEVE AND NOT DOUBT, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. THAT MAN SHOULD NOT THINK HE WILL RECEIVE ANYTHING FROM THE LORD; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does… (v12) BLESSED IS THE MAN WHO PERSEVERES UNDER TRIAL, BECAUSE when he has stood the test, he will receive THE CROWN OF LIFE that God has PROMISED TO THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.
We're talking about times when we all face trials, or troubles, of many kinds in life. We say, "It's Not Right." We've talked about "Thank God for Everything, but how do we do this when sometimes it seems the trouble is from the devil we're told to resist? Do you thank God for the devil? That's a provocative thought. There's an endless list of It's Not Right troubles we face in life. Yet, the bible tells us to Thank God for Everything and here James says to "consider it pure joy" when we face these troubles. We're taking a look at why we face troubles, trials, and testing and why the Bible tells us to give thanks to God for everything and to consider it pure joy when It's Not Right!"
The reasons are 1) God is allowing your faith to be tested so you can know if you are a genuine Christian. 2) God is developing perseverance and abilities within you so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. What does this mean? It means God allows things to happen so we can mature in God and not lack anything concerning our salvation. We can know with certainty we are genuine, saved, and will have eternal life. I want to focus on this thought today.
James made an interesting statement in verse 7.
James 1:7 That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord
James is writing to Christians, or those who think they are. He's warning people who do not believe, doubt, and do not persevere through trials and trouble to not think they will receive anything from the Lord. What's the extent of "anything"? Does anything include salvation? Then James said in verse 12,
James 1:12 Blessed is the man who PERSEVERES under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive THE CROWN OF LIFE that God has promised to THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.
Everyone will not receive the crown of life. Only those who persevere and those who love him. What is the crown of life? Let's look at a few scriptures speaking about a "crown."
1 Corinthians 9:25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a CROWN that will not last; but we do it to get a CROWN that will last forever.
Revelation 2:10 Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you THE CROWN OF LIFE.
Revelation 3:11 …Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take YOUR CROWN.
(Also see 2Ti 4:8; 1Pe 5:4) Paul talks about a competition. We are competing against troubles and trials, not people. The crown of life is obviously the crown of eternal life. Only those who persevere and love God will receive it. My point is not everyone who prayed a "sinner's pray" or was water baptized will receive the crown of life.
We've all seen people who said they were Christians. They attended church. At some point they probably prayed the "sinner's prayer," walked down the "Roman Road," were baptized, and may have even tithed, but when a trouble came along, they left their faith. God didn't do what they wanted God to do. They didn't persevere. They gave up on God and walked away. Their faith failed and they failed the test. What will happen to them now? Are they "saved"? If you ask them they would say they are. Are they? James 1:7 says, "That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord." Walking away from God certainly does not say they love God.
1 John 4:19 WE love because HE first loved us.
Being a Christian is about a profound love relationship. He pursued us with love. In return we love him because He loved us. It's not about praying a prayer or doing a religious act. It's not having any ole attitude we want to have and thinking God is stuck with us. The genuine Believer has an ongoing profound love for him, so profound no trouble will crush it.
1 John 2:15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of THE FATHER IS NOT IN HIM.
1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they DID NOT REALLY belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.
They loved the world rather than God. They left and John said it was okay they left because they were not genuine to begin with. It's in times of trouble true love is shown to be genuine. When a marriage hits times of trouble do you walk away? Many do, but what does this say about the genuineness of their love? People fall out of love. People can also fall out of love with God.
1 Peter 1:6-9 In this you GREATLY REJOICE, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief IN ALL KINDS OF TRIALS. THESE HAVE COME SO THAT YOUR FAITH - of greater worth than gold, which perishes even THOUGH REFINED BY FIRE - MAY BE PROVED GENUINE and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, YOU LOVE HIM; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, FOR YOU ARE RECEIVING THE GOAL OF YOUR FAITH, THE SALVATION OF YOUR SOULS.
Trouble is but a test of your faith to prove you are genuine and you love him. The results being "you receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls" and the crown of life. Please note the relationship of our standing through trials and our love for him with the salvation of your souls. I don't know if it can be made any clearer. How we handle trouble reveals if our faith is genuine and if we love God.
Have you ever heard the term "Perseverance of the Saints"? It's a theological term, but it's one every believer should understand. What it says is a true believer of Jesus Christ will persevere through every trouble, trial, and test. There will be no trouble to come upon a true saint causing them to give up their faith.
Have you heard the phrase "Eternal Security"? How about "Once saved, always saved"? Those are good phrases. Someone asked me, "Delbert, don't you believe in eternal security?" I said, "I do for me, but I don't know about you." Let's look at why I answer this way.
The idea behind "eternal security" is the holding power of God. The scriptures emphasize his holding power again and again. Let's look at a few.
John 10:28-29 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; NO ONE CAN SNATCH THEM OUT OF MY HAND. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; NO ONE CAN SNATCH THEM OUT OF MY FATHER'S HAND.
There truly is the holding power of God. Aren't you happy you are held secure in the hand of Jesus and the hand of the Father? I certainly am. Jesus and the Father hold us in our eternal security.
Also, the Holy Spirit has sealed me.
Ephesians 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were SEALED FOR THE DAY OF REDEMPTION.
Also, the Holy Spirit has sealed me for the day of redemption. The entire trinity is involved in my eternal security. (See also 1Th 5:23-24; 2Co 1:22; 2Ti 4:18; 1Pe 1:5; Jude 1:24)
So there is an emphasis and truth of and on the holding power of God bringing eternal security. This is wonderful, but you need to know there is another side to this. What other side? If you stop with the two previous scriptures, you will be deceived. You are not kept by God, the Lord Jesus, or the Holy Spirit if you abandon your faith in God. What does Jesus say about this part?
Matthew 24:13 but HE WHO STANDS FIRM TO THE END will be saved.
(KJV) Matthew 24:13 But HE THAT SHALL ENDURE UNTO THE END, the same shall be saved.
We're ONLY SECURE IF WE ENDURE. It's not praying a prayer, do some religious things, you're saved, and God is stuck with you. It's not once saved always saved unless you stand firm and endure to the end - until the end of your life. God will keep a true believer and a true believer is he who stands firm to the end or he that shall endure unto the end. God gives us faith to stand and endure any trial. What any trouble does is show who is a true believer. Your trouble is a test allowed by God to show you where your faith abides. My trouble is a test allowed by God to show me where my faith abides. You nor I can throw away our faith because we hit a rough spot in life and be saved.
John 8:31-32 To the Jews WHO HAD BELIEVED HIM, Jesus said, "IF YOU HOLD TO my teaching, you are REALLY MY DISCIPLES. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
Eternal security is for those who endure to the end and hold to the teachings.
1 Corinthians 15:1-2 By this gospel you are SAVED, IF YOU HOLD FIRMLY to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, YOU HAVE BELIEVED IN VAIN.
Otherwise, you have believed in vain! What does this mean? You are ONLY SECURE IF YOU ENDURE. A Christian can believe in vain if they do not hold on to their faith. You cannot turn your back on God and think you are saved. This is what the scriptures say.
Colossians 1:22-23 But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation - IF YOU CONTINUE IN YOUR FAITH, established and firm, NOT MOVED from the hope held out in the gospel…
A person is ONLY SECURE IF THEY ENDURE. Enduring trouble, tests, and trials is the means your faith is proven and worked out. People are moved from security all the time and because of the "once saved always saved" teaching they believe they're just fine. According to the scriptures they are not just fine. They have believed in vain. We need to know this.
Hebrews 2:1 We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not DRIFT AWAY.
Can people drift away? Yes, and usually it's because of some trouble where God did not perform as people thought he should.
Hebrews 3:14 We have come to share in Christ IF WE HOLD FIRMLY TILL THE END the confidence we had at first.
Hebrews 6:12 We do not want you to BECOME LAZY, but to imitate those who THROUGH FAITH AND PATIENCE INHERIT what has been promised.
This is the perseverance of the saints. Faith and patience are required on our part if we inherit what has been promised.
Hebrews 10:39 But we are not of those WHO SHRINK BACK AND ARE DESTROYED, but of those who believe and ARE SAVED.
(KJV) Hebrews 10:39 But we are not of them WHO DRAW BACK UNTO PERDITION; but of them that believe to the SAVING OF THE SOUL.
We are ONLY SECURE IF WE ENDURE. There is eternal security for those who do not shrink back. For those who shrink back there is destruction and perdition. Please don't be deceived concerning this. No one is secure who doesn't endure. Then why did Jesus say he, Father God hold us, and the Holy Spirit will seal us if he didn't mean it? The Spirit of God enables us to endure. We opt out. We are enabled to stand the test. We decide not to. No trouble, no trial, and no test is capable of separating you from God unless you draw back, become lazy, do not hold firmly, and believe in vain. To be a saint of God, you must persevere.
We all need to know this. If we do know then the truth will set you free. We will find a way to thank God for everything in every trial and trouble, consider trouble pure joy, and greatly rejoice when It's Not Right! Do I believe in eternal security? I do for me. How about you? Do you believe it for you?