A man who endures trials is blessed, because when he passes the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him. ~ James 1:12
Explanation of the Text: There is much to rejoice over in the words of James 1:12. They convey a grand hope of the Christian life. Verse 12 offers a transition between verses 2-11 and verses 13-18. For this reason, many find the debate of where to include it in the division here as a bit awkward, unsure if it should be included with the first section or the second. Because of the repetition of words and continuation of the theme from the previous verses, the clearest indication is that it should be included as the conclusion of verses 2-11.
This verse demonstrates one of the importances of reading Scripture in its context because we can see the connection between verse 2 and verse 12 that can be overlooked. Note that James begins by saying that the testing of faith produces steadfastness, and the climax is that one who remains steadfast is blessed. Steadfastness generates growth so that one will be made complete through God’s work. But James adds more to our understanding here by showing that believers will be blessed because they will receive the crown of life. This is not to mean that one’s work to persevere in the trials causes God to give them eternal life, but instead that because those who persevere have demonstrated their faith in God and so they are assured of their salvation.
Examination & Application of the Text: Despite the claim that the book of James proclaims little theology, verse 12 reveals the opposite. He proclaims that God has made promises to his people and the indication is that God will fulfill those promises. How comforting it is for believers to know that God is faithful. Such a comfort goes far in aiding a person in the midst of a trial.
Once again, James affirms that trials are joyful, not because the trials themselves are so wonderful, but because the result of trials is wonderful. Those who persevere not only leave behind a tremendous testimony for God, but also one before God in which he bestows his gift of eternal life. As previously noted then, to persevere through the midst of trials, one must be heavenly-minded and God-oriented. It is a look to the future that motivates that perseverance.
Questions to Consider:
- How do trials reveal assurance?
- Are you assured of your salvation? Why or why not?
- How can you trust God in the midst of your trials?