Text: James 5:7-20
James 4:13-16 talks about boasting and submission to God. We ought to submit to God all that we plan and all our undertakings instead of boasting that we can do it in our own way.
Chapter 5 is all about warning against rich oppressors. This is not absolute for there are rich who follow God’s ways while there are those like the one who were mentioned here who were oppressors. The Bible described them that they were the one who hoarded wealth for themselves, does not pay wages of their workers, living in luxury and self-indulgence, fattening themselves, and worst thing they murdered innocent men.
Rich oppressors have the penalty of their sins.
Today, we will be talking the final exhortations of James.
Patience And Sufferings (v. 7&11)
Just like a farmer who patiently wait for his plants to yield, we too should faithfully wait because the Lord’s coming is near. In the end of days, (Matthew 23:4-14) Jesus Christ described a brief picture of the end of times.
“4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.
10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”
We can also trace back the sufferings that is being referred here in verses 1-4 where the rich oppressess the poor. They are experiencing tremendous sufferings at this very moment and so are we. Things that were mentioned by Jesus Christ are slowly happening and the more that we need to be ready for Christ’s coming.
What then shall we do in the last days? Persevere and endure all these affliction, for eternal joy is waiting for us in the end.
Verse 9 gave us a warning to not to grumble with each other. God doesn’t want grumbling people. Israelites has already made mistakes as recorded in the Bible. Despite of all the blessings that God gave them, they always grumble to Moses and to God. And the same reason that they were sent in the desert for 40 years and the death of one generation of people before they were able to enter the land of promise. The Bible says, those who endure is blessed (v.11)
“Let your Yes be Yes, and No be No.” This is the main idea of this verse. In their time, there was an attitude of evasive, false swearing. In our own time, people like to swear in the name of many personalities and in exchange of personal lives. Some examples are: “Mamatay man ko”, “Swear, pex man”.
The Bible teaches us about “word of honor”. It simply means that we need to keep what we have promised. In Christianity, the saying “Promises is meant to be broken” is not valid. Promises are promises and is meant to be fulfilled. God’s word is telling us right now to be faithful especially to things that we promise.
“Above all” this is how James emphasized swearing. We are not to give oath or swear in the name of the Lord for if we fail to fulfill it, then we fall into judgment.
Prayer of Faith (v.13-18)
“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray… The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” The main theme of these verses is all about prayer of faith. Which means that when we pray, it should be accompanied by our faith.
What kind of faith? As what our passage defines it, it is a faith that heals, persevering, kind, forgiving, restoring, compassionate. And the same kind of faith that God wants us to practice.
Wander Away From Truth (v.19-20)
What are we going to do with the erring (sinning) brother? We are to restore him. We have to do what is in accordance to God’s word. Matthew 18 tells us the how, the only thing that remains is to apply it.
Verse 20 says, “he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.” Again, this is a good reminder to all of us that discipline is specifically designed for restoration and not condemnation.
However, going back to Matthew 18, we can find there that the sinning brother should repent, should ask for forgiveness. And when he asked for forgiveness, we have to forgive him. And the most rewarding part is, his soul will be saved from death and cover a multitude of sin. What a wonderful reward that awaits to those who will repents and to the one who reached out to him.
James’ theme is centralized on the faith that works. Our faith should be expressed through actions and is an evidence of the salvation that we have received from our Lord Jesus Christ. A Christian that does not exemplifies Christian living is at first hand in question of the faith that they have received.