We have seen in the last couple days that those that belong to Christ can expect trials. Although Paul's writings have made it clear, James removes all doubt as to how we are to respond to trials. We are to respond to trials with joy, because ultimately trials are a testing of our faith. We are to be patient in the midst of trials. For those of us that are very calculating and mathematical, James gives us a very logical sequence:
First, there are trials to test our faith
Second, the testing of our faith produces patience
Third, when patience does “it's perfect work, you will be complete, lacking nothing”
Fourth, when we endure faith testing trials we will receive the crown of life
In the same way, James is very methodical in his presentation of those who WILL NOT inherit eternal life. But, let's first take a look at this common misconception.
How many times have we heard someone say, “God is tempting me.” The truth is, God may test you, but He NEVER tempts you with sin:
James 1:13 Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.
We are even quick to say, “the devil is tempting me”. Where as the devil and his demons certainly do play a huge role in presenting sin that looks very appetizing, the truth is; we fall prey to temptation because at some level we really want to sin. For some, the level is very shallow and effortless to fall in to temptation; and for others we may stand strong for a while but ultimately we give in; but in either case, we sin because we love it:
James 1:14-15 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
Did you catch the sequence:
First, we are tempted by OUR OWN DESIRES
Second, desire for sin is conceived
Third, this desire becomes all out sin
Fourth, when sin has its way in your life it results in eternal death
One thing that we must get straight about these last 16 verses that we have taken a few days to go through is the fact that James is talking to believers. If you are not a believer, you must not confuse your trials as a testing of your faith, because without Jesus Christ, anything you put your faith in is a false hope. So, in most cases, when a non-believer is going through trials it is a result of sin in their life. Sin that ultimately causes trials should not be confused with the trials of believers, which is testing their faith, giving them opportunity to exercise and produce patience, goes on to demonstrate their willingness to endure which results in eternal life.
That being said, if James is talking to believers, (and he is) how come he is talking about a way that leads to death? James must be talking about the unrepentant. I don't know how it could be viewed any other way. Someone may say they believe, yet prefer to yield to their own fleshly desires instead of standing fast to demonstrate that what they proclaim is true.