Friday, July 17, 2020

The Vision (7.17.20): James's "Golden Chain" of Perseverance

Note: Devotional taken from last Sunday's sermon on James 1:1-4.

James 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into diverse temptations; 3 knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

Last Lord’s Day we began our pilgrimage of exposition through the epistle of James by considering James 1:1-4.

These opening verses introduce one of the key themes of James: the necessity of perseverance in the faith.

James 1:2-4 reminded me of Paul’s teaching in Romans 8:29-30, which we sometimes refer to as the “golden chain of redemption.” In Romans 8:29-30 Paul describes a “chain” of events related to salvation: Those whom God foreknew, he predestinated; those whom he predestinated, he called; those whom he called, he justified; and those whom he justified, he glorified.

We might call the teaching James provides in James 1:2-4 the “golden chain of perseverance.”

The first “link” in the chain: James says that believers will face “diverse temptations” that result in the “trying” or testing of our faith (vv. 2-3a).

Notice that the temptations are diverse. It is not one thing or necessarily the same thing over and over, but temptation is multi-faceted, creative, and diverse. When Satan tempted Christ in the wilderness, he made three different attempts to deceive him, not just one (cf. Matt 4:1-11).

The second “link” is patience (longsuffering). James says that this “worketh” or results from the endurance of these diverse temptations (v. 3b).

The third “link” is the attainment of the state of being “perfect and entire” (v. 4). This is parallel to the final state of glorification in Romans 8:30.

This is why the believer meets all these diverse temptations with joy. He knows that the Lord permits these for his own good end and purpose in our lives.

Every athlete knows that when the coach makes you run wind-sprints till you can barely breathe or lift weights till your arms and legs feel like spaghetti, he is not doing this because he is a sadist. He is training you, strengthening you, preparing you, so that you can be more than you ever imagined.

If that is what a coach is doing, think of what the Lord is doing right now in and through you!

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

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