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Trickle Down Trials (James 1:9-12)
Sermon Notes
Sunday, 02 February 2014 00:00

Last Sunday we studied James 1:9-12. In vv 9-11, our trials show us God’s personal interest in us, regardless of our economic status. He allows what is most beneficial to us.
The question becomes, “How do we respond in light of God’s long-term purpose?

Then we come to a “hinge” verse in the prologue between the main part of James’
II. PROLOGUE: in which the theme is how to RESPOND TO TRIALS PROPERLY (1:2-18)
A. By Welcoming Them (1:2-11} – proper attitude toward suffering itself.
Here the focus is on our trials, and our need to be swift to hear, slow to speak and slow to wrath in order to triumph in our trials.

B. By Not Accusing God (1:12-18} – proper attitude toward God in these sufferings.
Here the focus is on GOD in relation to our trials.
Is we don’t think rightly about GOD, it will be harder to triumph then trials come our way, so James wants us to see the kind of GOD we have in 12-18.
I see 1:12 as a “hinge” between paragraphs because in this verse James summarizes and ties together what he has said in vv 2-11 and prepares the way for what he will say in vv 13-18.

Question: Suppose that every Christian, rich or poor, takes the attitude prescribed for him/her by James in vv 2-11, what then ?
James’ Answer in v. 12 is that, the person who endures temptation (trial, peirasmon) can anticipate a crown of life.
The choice of the word “temptation” here in NKJV tends to obscure the connection of this verse with what precedes. The Greek word rendered “temptation” (peirasmon) is the same word that is translated trials in verse 2 (peirasmois). The concept of being tempted to evil becomes appropriate only beginning with v. 13.
Peirazo / peirasmos can mean either to try (trial) or to tempt (temptation).
The meaning is determined by the context! The same word can have different meanings in differing contexts just like the same football play can be seen in different ways:
Later today many Americans will watch Super Bowl XLVIII (48). If you are watching the game with someone who is rooting for the Seahawks and you’re a Bronco fan, I can almost guarantee that the following scenario will occur. There will be a big play. But even though it is the same play that will be seen, some in the room will jump up and yell, “What a great play!” while the fan rooting for the other team will scowl and mutter, “What a terrible play!” The same play is seen differently depending upon whether you’re rooting for Seattle or Denver.

If we are to endure trials to their proper end, joyful acceptance of God’s will should play a crucial role.
If our eyes are fixed on the beneficial goal of trials, then in this very outlook we adopt an attitude of faith and submission to the Lord, which facilitates endurance.
Thus, when the trial ends, and the believer who endures it – has been = has become approved, there is a reward.
In using the word approved (dokimos), James is alluding to the character development he has referred to in vv 2-4.
James used the word there in v. 2 to refer to our quality-tested, or quality-proven faith.


Paul’s thoughts in Romans 5:3-4a are similar to what James is telling us here.
3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance (hupomonen, James 1:3, 12);4 and perseverance (hupomone), character (dokimen, = approvedness; rewardability); and character (dokime), hope.
God’s purpose in allowing trials into our lives is to develop approved character, quality-proven faith. The Christian whose endurance/perseverance through a trial has cooperated to produce this outcome is indeed ‘supremely blessed’(Makarios, 1st word of v. 12 ‘fortunate, well off’) of God.
So why should he be considered blessed = fortunate, well off, happy?
The answer is that (since he has become approved) he will receive the crown of life.

The question arises here as to whether the crown of life, to which James refers, is a present benefit or a future one.

Either way this “crown of life” is a reward bestowed for enduring the suffering that comes from the various trials that we encounter.
We must be careful to distinguish it from the free gift of eternal life that James will mention shortly in vv. 17-18.
Clearly, here in 1:12, we are looking at a reward for enduring our trials.
God blesses (rewards) us in our lives right here and now when testing has been successfully endured.
The “crown of life” is that triumphant, victorious experience here and now with a hint of what’s coming in the future at the Bema. There is both a present and future reward for enduring trials. James will focus here on the present experience in this verse.
** God enriches our present experience of life as we endure trials and our faith becomes quality-tested, approved unto God, and we become stronger in grace and more mature in our faith. **
Later in James’ letter in 5:11, he will refer to Job, and in doing so he will pick up the themes of 1:3-12, including the reference to being counted as blessed (makarizomen, as in 1:12).
James 5:11 Indeed we count them blessed who endure (hupomenontas). You have heard of the perseverance (hupomonen) of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.
So I think that here James is primarily focusing on the present experience of this life.
Every Jewish-Christian reader of James’ letter would know how God had crowned Job’s life with blessings after his trials were over.
Therefore, it seems quite likely that it is the enrichment of our temporal experience of life (spiritually always, material sometimes) that James has in mind in the expression crown of life.
Life will be richer, deeper, fuller for his Christian readers if they are among those who, like Job, reach the end of their trials victoriously.
Yes indeed! Every time we successfully endure a period of trouble, the crown of life will be awarded to us anew.
This crowning experience of victorious living includes the following benefits:
(1) Once approved, we will stand stronger in grace.
(2) We will grow closer to Him in grace and knowledge (2 Pt 3:18) / truth (Jn 1:14).
(3) We will gain more maturity and stability and wisdom (skill in living) in our walk of faith.
Proverbs 17:3 ~ The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold,
But the LORD tests the hearts.
Proverbs 4:18 ~ The path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.

Of course, if we endure our trials successfully, our faith will not only become quality-proven and strong, but our lives will become rewardable for that future day at the judgment seat of Christ.
James is also well aware of how enduring trials and becoming rewardable will impact our experience in the future kingdom.
Look at James 2:5 ~ 5 Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?

Look at the end of verse 12 ~ 12 Blessed is the man who endures
temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
Finally, we see that this crowning experience of life is for those who love Him.
To such and only to such has the Lord promised this crown of life.
In fact, it may be stated that each of our various trials in some way or other is a test of our love for God.
With each test there comes the temptation to resist God’s will in sending the trial at all or, at least, the temptation to resent it and thus refuse to allow God to do the character-building work He desires to perform in us. Only when we submit lovingly to God’s mighty hand do we find the crown of life awaiting us at the end of the trial. Those who love Him are the very ones who discover that weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. (Psalm 30:5).
I Peter 1:6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials,
These are the identical words are used in James 1:2 for “various” & “trials.”

7 that the genuineness of your (your quality-proven) faith,
(same phrase as in James 1:3 ~ to dokmion humon tes pisteos)
being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested (dokimazomenon) by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory }When?} at the revelation of Jesus Christ,
8 whom having not seen[M-Text reads known.] you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,
9 receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.
Remember, we receive eternal life (salvation from condemnation in the Lake of Fire) at the initial moment (beginning) of our faith, not the end. Our quality-proven faith will be rewardable as an end-result of our perfected/matured faith.

James 1:12 ~ 12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation (trials); for when he has been approved (or “become quality-proven”), he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

James 2:5 ~ 5 Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?

Romans 8:28 ~ 28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

1 Corinthians 2:9 ~ 9 But as it is written:
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

2 Timothy 4:8 ~ 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

1 Peter 1:8 ~ 8 whom having not seen[M-Text reads known.] you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,

I become related to God when I am born into His forever family through my simple faith in Him.
This happens when the promise of God (to give me eternal life) becomes the sole object of my faith.
But I become rewardable by God, my Father, when I respond in obedience to His Word
through my sincere love for Him.
This happens when the Person of God becomes the sole Object of my love.

 

 

 

 

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