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.
True happiness comes from going through the trial, not avoiding it or getting out of it. Blessed means happy. Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercy.
Going through the trial will be painful. But the end will be victorious. According to 1 Peter 1:6-8, “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:”
Those who tried “passed the test.” Once the enduring is over and the test is passed through the wisdom of God, faith will be seen as genuine. Any believer having been tried and tested but having endured will cry “BLESSED”!
Crown of Life
We need to be careful not to confuse what is being said here. “…when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life…” This text does lean the same direction as Matthew 24:13 “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” However, neither verse nor James himself, are meaning that the way to be saved is to persevere to the end. The ones who persevere are the same ones who are saved. This does not suggest that our perseverance secures our salvation.
Scripture everywhere teaches precisely the opposite: God, as part of His saving work, secures our perseverance. True believers “are protected by the power of God through faith for … salvation” According to 1 Peter 1:5 “Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” The guarantee of our perseverance is built into the New Covenant promise. Jeremiah 32:40 states “And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.” Those who do fall away from Christ give conclusive proof that they were never truly believers to begin with. According to 1 John 2:19 “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” But, the text clearly says that those who endure temptation when they are tried shall receive the Crown of Life.
The Crown of Life or “the crown which is life” was the wreath put on the victor’s head after ancient Greek athletic events. It denotes the believer’s ultimate reward, eternal life, which God has promised to him and will grant in full at death or at Christ’s coming. The Sinner is not saved by enduring trials; the Believer is rewarded for enduring trials.
Love is the spiritual motivation behind every instruction so far in this chapter. Why do we have a joyful attitude as we face trials? Because we love God, and He loves us, and He will not harm us. Why do we have an understanding mind? Because He loves us and has shared His truth with us, and we love Him in return. Why do we have a surrendered will? Because we love Him. Where there is love, there is surrender and obedience. Why do we have a believing heart? Because love and faith go together. When you love someone, you trust him, and you do not hesitate to ask him for help. Love is the spiritual force behind the instruction James gives us. If we love God, we will have no problem. Love keeps us faithful to the Lord.
The double-minded person (James 1:8) is like an unfaithful husband or wife: He wants to love both God and the world. James admonished, James 4:8, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” The Greek word translated purify literally means “make chaste.” The picture is that of an unfaithful lover. The Christian who loves God, and who knows that God loves him, will not fall apart when God permits trials to come. He is secure in God’s love. He is not double-minded, trying to love both God and the world. Lot was double-minded; when trials came, he failed miserably. Abraham was the friend of God; he loved God and trusted Him. When trials came, Abraham triumphed and matured in the faith.
This is a promise from Jesus Christ.
Pastor Chance Strickland
Harpeth Baptist Church
Kingston Springs, TN