JesusJames*.jpg Once again James gets a look-alike award for what he has to say in 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.

Jesus was big on trials and often exhorted his disciples to run the gauntlet but that at the end of the gauntlet was a reward from God. Jesus talks about reward often.

Furthermore, James opens up with the word found in the Beatitudes: “Blessed.” This kind of word was used by Jesus, and throughout Israel’s history, to distinguish the true people of God from the false; the truly righteous from the unrighteous. James is cutting people in half here: those who endure and those who cave in.

Once again, we are to think of the poor oppressed. They are the ones who need to see through their trials (same word in vs. 2 as in vs. 12) to what God is doing (character formation) and to what God will do (bring justice). Their oppression is probably financial oppression (cf. 5:1-6).

What James wants them to do is to “endure” the trials. That is, to go through them, to bear with them, to put up with them, to take them on and turn them around and inside out. Flight did not seem an option. What James worries about is caving in to the stress and turning from God (cf. vv. 13-15).

Perseverance is a Christian virtue; Jesus was big on it. Matthew 10:22: “All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Perseverance is a theme that becomes prominent among those who are persecuted. James’ concern, again, is to exhort folks not to cave in. In other words, he’s not talking about this in the abstract — as Arminians and Calvinists sometimes do — but in the concrete pastoral situation. There are some who are tempted to walk away; James exhorts them to hang on by telling them that there is a blessing awaiting them.

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