Note from (1978). Bibliotheca Sacra, 135(539), 224 on theme of James –
“His purpose is practical, to present a series of tests whereby his readers can determine the genuineness of their own faith. “The testing of your faith” (1:3) seems to be the key which James left hanging at the front door, intended to unlock the contents of the book. ”
I. Introduction 1:1
II. Instruction on temptation. 1:2-27
A. Response to temptation. 1:2-12
1. Understand the result. 1:2-4 (What may be achieved through the trial)
a. The Proper attitude. 1:2 The believer’s goal. –
Ephesians 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
With the proper attitude, we will see –
b. The purpose achieved. 1:3,4
1). The ‘trying’ can be good as well as evil.
a). Moses did not believe that he could serve God according to God’s will.
Exodus 3:11 And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?
b). Moses stepped out in fear and he grew in faith.
We see this also in the example of the Bible Institute student. The difficulty of the subject seems overwhelming at the beginning of the semester, but faith and patience exercise one another and in due course the fruit of the Spirit increase in the believer.
2). The trial (whether good or evil) is understood to be not a test of self will, but a submission to God’s will, not stoic endurance but spiritual dependence. Refer to –
Colossians 1:11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;
And so by the knowledge of His might and submission to His will –
a). The believer may exchange the frustration and sorrow of the world for the joy of the Lord encouraging one another.
1 Peter 2:20-21 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
b). The believers may exalt the Lord, united in bringing glory to Him!
Romans 15:5-6 Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
3). The trial can aid in accomplishing God’s will – “the perfect man”.
Romans 5:2-5 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
Faith and patience result in a tension that increase each other Just like physical exercise, temptation will exercise us in areas that nothing else will. In modern vernacular we call this ‘cross training’.
When we carefully consider this exhortation from James, we are overwhelmed – “what do I do, where do I begin”? I do not know how, but I do desire to accomplish God’s purpose in my life.
James directs us in the second step in our response, having the proper attitude, we must –
2. Use the resources that God provides. 1:5-8 How to meet the need!
The believer should be –
a. Convinced – God will instruct him. Go does have the answer. 1:5
b. Confident – have faith, trusting God’s promise. 1:6a
c. Consistent – expect to follow God’s leadership. 1:6b-8 “…help mine unbelief…”
Do not have a contingency plan prepared if things seem to be too difficult. Do not plan to fail!
Understanding the result of temptation – the right result “…growing unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” –
Using the resources that God provides –
Will we look at the trials of our lives with a new perspective –
To increase our faith,
To rejoice in the Lord.