12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
A while back, a preacher chose the book of James to speak on, and it set me thinking. That particular week, we were discussing James 1:12 in Sunday School class and questions on eternal security came to mind again.
- When will temptation stop?
We had looked at the verses in the beginning of the book (verses 1-4) and it seemed obvious that the “trying of our faith” could stop any time I chose. If I was sick and tired of resisting sin, or of the mockery from my peers, or decided to live a life focused on my wants, all I had to do was to choose to live that life. I could find relief from any faith-based trial simply by giving up my faith.
- What is the purpose of being tried?
Again, the first few verses of the chapter indicates that the trial produces patience in the saint.
Patience is a rare commodity in this fast paced society. Patience is that tool that God uses to bring about the mature man, the man who is considered complete, lacking nothing. (vs 4). In short, trials produce maturity (if we endure!)
- What is the crown of life?
We didn’t get to discuss this question, but it seems to be the critical issue in the conditional security / eternal security debate.
If the crown of life is a reward to Christians who endure, do those Christians who do not endure simply receive no crown?
If so, might the crown of life be more aptly named the crown of endurance? or the crown of patience?
But if the crown of life is synonymous with eternal life, James is describing something much more important.
The last question is a problem.
- What if a believer simply gives up and chases the temptation instead of enduring?
No big deal, right.
The crown of life is simply a reward for faithfulness. At least I get to go to heaven when I die.
Maybe even meet up with Demas.
Somehow I fear this thinking may be producing a shallow, complacent “believer”.
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