Saturday, January 25, 2014

James 1:2–4

2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 

Vs. 2-4 the Apostle James having greeted us a with a brief salutation, then immediately moves into instructing us. 2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

Notice first that these trials are not specified, that there is no set arrangement that each and every believer can expect to experience in regards to facing various trials in this world, and in this life, except that they are in regards to ones faith In Christ. That is the only common bond. And so, we as believers will have our faith tested by various trials, at various times in our lives. With some believers trials similar to other believers trials and some not. Thus it's not the trials that are important, or to be overly critiqued, (as if our relationship with God hangs on these), rather it is the end "fruit" that will be brought about by them in our lives, and possibly the lives of others, as we pass through them. And so that is what we must remember and wait patiently on, as we sometimes struggle through them and or try to make sense of them (consider Job 14:14; James 5:10-11). For no trial in our lives is an "oversight" by God on His part (consider Rev 2:10). Indeed it is because He is aware of everything that goes on in our lives, that we can have strong confidence in facing them all, even when they originate from those seemingly closest to us (consider Matt 10:27-31; Luke 21:14-19).
For every trial permitted by God has a purpose in our lives, (whether to purify our faith; and thus bring about our own repentance; or to fortify it). Every trial that comes our way ultimately serves God's purposes in sanctifying us; that is making us more like Jesus Christ. And so one of God's purposes (as revealed here) in permitting these trials is to test each ones faith; that is to reveal the qualities of it; (not to God, He already knows all our strength's and weaknesses, but to reveal these things to us); and thus produce patience (lit. steadfastness) within us. And so like a smelting furnace which converts crude iron into high quality steel, by removing undesirable properties, and or adding needed ones. So God allows each and every one of us one of us to experience various trials in our lives, so that by these He may "forge" our faith In Jesus Christ (consider Rom 5:3-5). For it is often through these that He produces the much needed quality of patience/endurance/perseverance/steadfastness within us (Matt 24:13). Something which Enhanced Strong's Lexicon describes as being "the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings." Therefore since trials are meant to strengthen our resiliency on the one hand, and grow our faith and assurance, and thus our "patience" In Christ, on the other (Rev 14:12). We should as James says "count it all joy when we fall into various trials knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience." Therefore no believer should ever think these things an anomaly in their life, or discordant with Godly living, or in having faith in Jesus Christ, since in may ways we have all been appointed to this, to suffer for the Gospel's sake (Matt. 5:10-12; Acts 14:22; 2 Thess. 1:3-4; 2 Tim 3:12; Heb 10:32-39; 12:1-2; 1 Peter 4:12-19).  

And so while we pass through these things, we must strive to keep a right perspective, otherwise like Job who after searching his own heart and life for an explanation for his own trials, for a season gave into his own frustration and despair. Yet if Job could've seen the end, as we now can (James 5:11), how much different would've his response been? His initial steadfastness might not have given way to frustration and despair? Nevertheless it must be said that by the end of it all Job's faith was much more well-rounded, assured, and thus complete then it ever was before he went through it all. That's how I see Job's person, from a man who began with such an extreme caution when dealing with God so as to think he was handling fine china while trying to walk on marbles (consider Job 1:4-5). To a man at the end of his own trials was still reverent and obedient, but was much more aware of who God is and what He is like; and what we are like; self-righteous and self-justifying, without Him actively at work in our lives (Job 42:1-6). Therefore rather than trying to shortcut what God is trying to do by permitting or even bringing these trials into our lives, we should seek to understand what the will of the Lord is for us while in them, which ultimately is Christ-likeness, of which there is no short-cut in attaining too. For that is what we were saved for, and now as new creations In Christ are being recreated to be like. And so as the Apostle James concludes his exhortation in this section of Scripture, so will I, by quoting him. "But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." vs. 4 

Word Studies
Vs. 2 trials: peirasmos, Str. 3986; GK 4280; TDNT 6.23; TDNTA 822; LN 27:46; 88.308; (Matt 6:13; 26:41; Mark 14:38; Luke 4:13; 8:13; 11:4; 22:28, 40, 46; Acts 20:19; 1 Cor 10:13 (2x); Gal 4:14; 1 Tim 6:9; Heb. 3:8; James 1:2, 12; 1 Peter 1:6; 4:12; 2 Peter 2:9;  Rev. 3:10) 21x
Regarding trials or testing Louw-Nida Greek Lexicon states of the word translated here it is "to try to learn the nature or character of someone or something by submitting such to thorough and extensive testing—‘to test, to examine, to put to the test, examination, testing." LN 27.46
Regarding temptations Louw-Nida states of the word translated here it is "to endeavor or attempt to cause someone to sin—‘to tempt, to trap, to lead into temptation, temptation." LN 88.308

Vs. 3-4 patience: hypomone, Str. 5281; GK 5705; TDNT 4.581; TDNTA 581; LN 25.174; (Luke 21:19; Rom 2:7; 5:3-4; 8:25; 15:4-5; 2 Cor. 1:6; 6:4; 12:12; Col. 1:11; 1 Thess. 1:3; 2 Thess. 1:4; 3:5; 1 Tim. 6:11; 2 Tim. 3:10; Titus 2:2; Heb. 10:36; 12:1; James 1:3-4; 5:11; 2 Peter 1:6; Rev. 1:9; 2:2, 3, 19; 3:10; 13:10; 14:12) 32x; compare with longsuffering: makrothumia (Str. 3986, GK 4280) translated longsuffering everywhere in the NKJ except in Heb 6:12; James 5:10 where it is rendered patience, (see Rom. 2:4; 9:22; 2 Cor. 6:6; Gal. 5:22; Eph. 4:2; Col. 1:11; 3:12; 1 Tim. 1:16; 2 Tim. 3:10; 4:2; Heb. 6:12; James 5:10; 1 Peter 3:20; 2 Peter 3:15) 14x

Scripture Citations
The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982

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