There is reciprocity between God’s blessing and human living. Notice these words 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.”

The reciprocity here is a reward for perseverance, which is a faith and moral perseverance under the stress of oppression.

What interests me today is the last few words: “to those who love [God].”

Daily in the recitation of the Shema (from Deut 6:4-5), Israel was reminded that its fundamental duty was rooted in relationship: they were to love God with every globule of their being. James seems to be speaking to the kind of Israelite, now messianists, who took these words to heart and daily not only recited these words but live them out. Those who love God are promised, by God, that they will be rewarded.

What is most interesting to me here is the near equation of “loving God” with “persevering” (or enduring). To love God is to endure the tests of life in light of God’s ultimate and final justice.

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