Enduring Temptation – James Lesson 6

Enduring Temptation

“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” James 1:12

I must mention that over the centuries many theologians have expressed problems with the Book of James. Even though this epistle has been accepted by Christians the world over since the earliest days of the Church, certain theologians get wrapped around the axle quickly by this little gem. The reason has to do with the practical approach James takes versus a theological approach, even for a topic as simple as basic saving faith. For example, Martin Luther called James “the epistle of straw” and believed that it was uninspired and did not belong in the Bible. Luther held this view due to the teaching  of chapter two that faith that does not produce a response from the believer is ineffectual. Only after being strongly urged did Luther include James in his translation of the Bible into the German language.

Theologians are comfortable with creeds, but the Book of James suggests that creeds without practice do not equal true religion. “Reformed” theologians were enamored with their creed that faith without anything else equals salvation, yet James tells us that faith without works is ineffectual (James 2:26). The epistle of James teaches that creed without practice is worthless; doctrine without conduct is empty dogma. If what you claim to believe has not changed your life, then what good has your belief accomplished?

What could be more practical for Christians than solid teaching about temptation? Temptation is part of the Christian life. The book devoted to practical Christian living would not be complete without mentioning this issue. In fact, I find it significant that temptation is mentioned in the very first few verses of this epistle.

As we turn our attention to the topic of temptation, you will notice that the epistle of James teaches:

      • The reward for enduring temptation – vs. 12
      • The source of grievous temptation – vs. 13
      • The pull of sinful temptation – vs. 14
      • The result of yielding to temptation – vs. 15

The Reward for Enduring Temptation

“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” James 1:12

The New Testament mentions several crowns for the believer:

      • A crown of rejoicing for the soul winner – 1 Thess. 2:19
      • A crown of righteousness for those who love Christ’s appearing – 2 Tim. 4:8
      • A crown of glory for good shepherds – 1 Peter 5:4
      • And here a crown of life for those who endure temptation – James 1:12 and Rev. 2:10.

The crown of life is promised to those who endure temptations and trials. To the Church of Smyrna, Jesus spoke the following promise:

“Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” Rev 2:10

You cannot receive a crown of life without enduring some things. Our temptation is a qualifying process for the reward of a crown of life. This is how you qualify for promotion. The Lord Jesus is the one who has promised this reward. Do you believe He will make good on His promise?

So, without a trial there is no reward. We must all face trails in this life. None of us  will get out of here without having problems, issues, trials, and struggles. Living for the Lord is no cakewalk. But consider the alternative!

James did not say, “blessed is the man that encounters temptation.” The operative word here is “endures” temptation. It is not enough to simply encounter temptation; we must endure and withstand it! The blessing comes when you not only encounter temptation, but you also endure it while maintaining victory. The necessity of bearing up under pressure might not be a popular message in our day, but it is still the essence  of practical Christianity.

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