James Chapter Five
V1 Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.
Many of these temptations that have been discussed, are magnified by the fact that some people have riches- great riches, and these riches are a stumbling block to them. Having the resources to do things in life, can make us think we have control and are in charge of our lives. Those who are regarded and who regard themselves as rich, carry the weight of the love of money in their lives. Many admit to this and many more do not. It is a trap for the human nature, for we love the things that money can buy and the influence it gives us in social settings.
God says to the rich to “go now” … they have heard the messages and the teaching of God, and are not prepared to do anything about it. The love of money is so strong that it blinds us to our need and to the realty of spiritual blessings, here and now and also in heaven. We choose riches over God, and money over a home in heaven.
Rich men and women are now to weep and howl because their choices are leading them to destruction. They may be blind now, but they will see clearly in the future, and it will be too late.
God is trying to jolt them once again, into action and reaction against the pull of sin, the world and eternal death. If they do not turn and repent, then to will be too late for them. God is saying that their future is actually weeping bitterly for all they have missed out on. They will howl at the terrible consequences for their sin and they will pay for it forever in a lonely and fearful place.
Their condition in their chosen life will be misery. Misery in mind, body and soul. In fact, an eternal death. Their choices are wretched. Why don’t they turn and be saved? The human heart is hard and the will is fickle. Unless God should soften the heart and conquer the will to bend to His will, we will never turn. This is our folly.
Let us look ahead to a life without God and relent quickly. Do not be stubborn and loose everything. The choice is clear, but we must make it, or loose our eternal souls and no amount of money can buy us back from that slave market. We are there for good. May God speak into our hearts and cause us to see the true state of our soul before God. He waits to receive the penitent sinner and give us everything we could ever desire.
“Good and upright is the Lord, therefore he will instruct sinners in the way. He will guide the humble in justice. He will teach the humble his way. All the paths of the Lord are loving kindness and truth to such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.”
Psalm 25: 8-10
God is not willing for anyone to suffer the loss of their souls. He will teacher us and show us His lovingkindness.
“Behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that he was reclining in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of ointment. Standing behind at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears, and she wiped them with the hair of her head, kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.”
Luke 7: 37-38
Only the eternal God can turn a sinful heart to such love of Jesus. The religious leaders remained impenitent, but the woman loved Christ so intensely that she gave up her future savings to pour love over Him. It is the same for us. We put all on the altar and give our lives to God, so that we will save them for eternity, and to walk with Jesus through this life.
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, and whoever will lose his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his life? Or what will a man give in exchange for his life? For the Son of Man will come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and then he will render to everyone according to his deeds.”
Matthew 16: 24-27
V2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten
So, once again, we will not let go. We clutch desperately to the things we have accumulated in this life, and cannot think beyond them. We forget that we leave it all behind. It has no influence on our spiritual life, and no effect on the eternal place we go to. We face God alone. He sees the reality of our character and what exactly we are made of. We have no council to support us, no evidence that we are good or worthy, and when we do see the Lord, we will be terrified. Suddenly all we hoped for is gone. All the warnings we received in life, were true. God so wants us not to face this position. He is not willing that anyone would perish and He goes to great lengths to show us and teach us His ways.
God’s ways are so peaceable and loving and the ability He gives us to trust Him, is so restful. We don’t need to worry about the next life, and also in this life we are kept by is power. He is reaching out again and again.
Here we have another word picture. Your rices are corrupted. What ever we accumulate in this life, is all subject to the second law of Thermodynamics. Everything in this life is running down. Everything is corrupt and will rot away and all living things eventually die. Our houses will be knocked down some day, our clothes will end up in the dump and our food goes out of date really quickly. Our bodies get sick, we eventually die. This is the way of all living things.
Even our data systems have viruses than contaminate and render our systems useless. Our businesses fail, our relationships fall out, our effect on our planet at the moment is very destructive. But we still trust that somehow our affairs will be ok.
God focuses on clothing, which we all need and desire. Whatever clothes we have will never last the test of time. The fibres get worn out, and holes develop and our clothes become useless. They end up in the bin, or sometimes recycled into something else, which in turn, will rot away.
God is trying to let us see the ultimate end of everything. We must think outside the day in front of us. How difficult it is to even keep the house we live in, clean… We spend time washing, brushing, wiping our belongings to keep them clean and to keep harmful germs out of our homes. The effect of the cleaning does not last beyond the next washing of our hands. Many find it a futile exercise to keep places clean.
In the bigger picture, our world’s resources are running out. Surely that will speak to us about an uncertainty about the future, which is healthy. We see huge lumps of Arctic and Antarctic ice, breaking off glaciers and thawing to nothing in the sea. It affects our world climate and everything changes, often to the hurt of our local environment. It doesn’t seem to make any difference to our thoughts or habits. We continue with destructive behaviours, and our world deteriorates.
“For I, The Lord, don’t change; therefore you, sons of Jacob, are not consumed.”
Malachi 3: 6
The Lord does not break His promises and He is full of mercy and love towards us. We are spared the consequences of our wayward lives, and are given time and opportunity to repent and believe. God does not change, but we must.
So let us analyse, even a little, the physical things, including ourselves, and compare them to love, hope, peace and patience, and decide what is worth spending time on. God is able to save us from ourselves and open our eyes to see wonderful things in His Word and things that will be in the future. We are not just bodies, and we know it. So let us expand our attention to our inner self, our souls, and seek God’s truth.
If the physical realm is changing, so the spiritual realm in our souls also changes. We need to be sure it is for the good, and not for or hurt.
“Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4: 5-7
V3 Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. You have heaped treasure together for the last days.
Now we think we have found something that will last. Precious metals do not deteriorate like other things. Gold stays gold indefinitely. Governments hold store by gold and save it up in huge vaults in banks, so they have something infallible to hold on to. If trade fails and the country is plunged into poverty and war, there is still gold to bail us out on the international stage.
Gold does not rot away like organic matter, but it is susceptible to other kinds of decay. Oxidation is the most common, and many metals suffer from this sign of decay. Gold will get these signs of decomposition and appear as discolouring spots and some peeling off the surface fo the gold. The surface of the gold can become pitted with the presence and progress of decomposition and touching with human hands can exacerbate this phenomenon.
God calls it “rust.” It may not look like the red rust we associate with iron, but it is the sign of metal decay. When we look at our gold and we begin to see the signs of decay, even in this precious metal, we can know we are loosing out, and we live in a world dominated by the second law (Thermodynamics)
This decay is a witness against us, that we have chosen the wrong option and will face eternal loss. All rot, decay and uncleanliness is a witness against us that this world is feeble and we cannot rely on it. The most beautiful things, the most valuable things, will always let us down. We cannot hold onto it. God says that the things we have chosen will eat our very flesh, like a burning fire. This is an analogy to the fate of those who trust in mammon. It is another warning. Fire must be avoided.
But also, even in this life, our flesh will feel the burn of anxiety, as we watch our possession being lost to us and falling into disrepair, rust and dishevelment.
In fact what we are doing is just heaping up a huge bonfire, to fuel our final end at the last day. The more stuff we have, the bigger the bonfire. Our treasures we have heaped up, will turn against us and betray our needs and wants. Everything we try to hold on to will have a treacherous outcome and laugh at our destruction as we face The Lord Jesus Christ as our rightful judge. We dare not play this game. Our treasure will instantly turn into fuel for the fire that will consume us.
Why do we even contemplate this fearful end?
God offers us everything valuable and eternal in exchange for our foolish earthly things and our selfish sins. God offers free forgiveness, wholeness in our lives, a new kind of life, called everlasting life, and eternity filled with joy unspeakable and full of glory.
There is really no choice. To reject God is the most foolish decision we could make. We have an enemy of our souls, Satan, who will keep us blind and foolish. Don’t let this influence you. All the gold in the world will never buy your soul.
“He called the multitude to himself with his disciples, and said to them, “Whoever wants to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it; and whoever will lose his life for my sake and the sake of the Good News will save it. For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world, and forfeit his life? For what will a man give in exchange for his life? For whoever will be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man also will be ashamed of him, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
Mark 8: 34-38
This was a recurrent theme, in the teaching of Jesus. There is no salvation without this attitude.
V4 “Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you have kept back by fraud, cry out, and the cries of those who reaped have entered into the ears of the Lord of Armies.
Highlighted here, is another issue that affects the wealthy community. God is questioning how they have made their money and run their businesses. There is a reason why some people are very successful in business and life, and why so many others languish in poverty and even destitution. Those who have money do not, generally want to share it. The idea of giving up funds to help other people in a community, is not wise business sense. To give up everything for the sake of other people in other places, is not entertained by the rich business person.
Capitalism is a system which seems to work in the short term and the beginning period of its development, but eventually provides a breeding ground for exploitation of workers and the growth of funds for the entrepreneur. It is also a general rule that our world and human social system seems to veer to this agenda. To make money, the boss must hire people to work and make money for him or her. The entrepreneur has to find funds to start the business and perhaps borrows money, which must be paid back. The ensuing system is a kind of machine that we are all caught up in, and the driving force behind it is money and the love of making it.
The business person employs workers to do the hard, physical work in the fields, or factories. They are paid, but no where near enough for the amount of work and the labour that has gone into the work. The workers are defrauded. This is not often acknowledged in this worlds terms, for laws are set up to protect business, but in real terms, the workers are being exploited. They cry out.
This is not just crying out about the injustice of the situation, but they have not got enough money from their wages, to support families, buy food and a place to live. They are being denied the necessities of life, so that the business can grow bigger, faster, and more rewards for the business person, making the bosses, rich.
This is a serious situation, because God tells us that He hears the cries for the oppressed and disadvantaged. The Scripture is full of this principal. God is with all those who are used and abused. He will provide for them and help them to find ways to survive and thrive, and His heart is against all oppressors. The book of Psalms has many songs that sing the faithfulness of the Lord towards His people. God has a future for all who look to Him in faith. When we are in need, we will look to Him and trust Him to supply our needs. If we are rich, we do not have that same urgency, and we leave God out of our lives and our prayers are less and less urgent.
Those who have brought in the harvest and have suffered loss, will be protected by God. Their cries are heard. This is a comfort for all those who are discriminated against and have so little in terms of this life. The Lord Almighty is quick to hear. He is the God of all things, the Lord of Hosts, Jehovah, God of Jews and Gentiles, rich and poor. He will hear and intervene for the poor, especially if they are kept poor by rich people.
There is such a thing as vengeance, and God is in charge of that. He will seek recompense for the oppressed, and bring their case into the light. Deuteronomy 24 is a passage devoted to God’s view on social services. It is very different from our human view and it does well to pay attention to what the Almighty says.
“You shall not oppress a hired servant who is poor and needy, whether he be of your brothers, or of your foreigners who are in your land within your gates: in his day you shall give him his hire, neither shall the sun go down on it; for he is poor, and sets his heart on it: lest he cry against you to The Lord, and it be sin to you.
The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.
You shall not wrest the justice [due] to the foreigner, [or] to the fatherless, nor take the widow’s clothing to pledge; but you shall remember that you were a bondservant in Egypt, and The Lord your God redeemed you there: therefore I command you to do this thing.”
God is always on the side of the people who are regarded as lower in the employment chain. He will never look favourably on exploitation or on our tendency to disadvantage another person for our own personal ends.
“Evil men don’t understand justice; but those who seek the Lord understand it fully. Better is the poor who walks in his integrity, than he who is perverse in his ways, and he is rich. Whoever keeps the law is a wise son; but he who is a companion of gluttons shames his father. He who increases his wealth by excessive interest gathers it for one who has pity on the poor.”
Proverbs 28: 5-8
V5 Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; you have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.
What is all this money and the accumulation of riches, for?
God has already told us that it doesn’t go with us into eternity. Here we have the concise answer to the motivations we have for doing what we do. We seek pleasure in our life and the enjoyment of whatever our hearts desires. We are so taken up with enjoyment of our flesh, that every other consideration goes out of our minds. We want pleasure, recognition, acclaim. This is every one. We all seek very similar things, unless God comes into our minds and hearts, and we start to think differently.
We all look out for our own. Others are always second to us, and we are very slow to share anything. God’s ways are definitely not for us. We want to decide and make the choices in life that will satisfy our human desires and fill us up with pleasures and advantages that make us satisfied and we feel successful. The rich live on earth like an immoral person who has given their lives over to rank sins which take them over, and hold them fast like a vice.
The lifestyle of the rich is blatantly immoral in all sorts of ways. The rich live life like obsessed beings wanting and wanting over and over again. The become possessed by sins that make it easy for them to take advantage of people so that they can have what they need.
Our hearts are filled up with all we desire. The more we get, the more we want.. It never ends. Only when we give it all up and turn to God, will the chains of that life be broken.
God likens this fattening of the human hearts with earthly goods, as an animal getting bigger and bigger for the day it will be sent to the slaughter house. The day of reckoning is coming and all the unbelieving souls will be fat with sins, as they face the knife of death. It is extreme language from the mouth of God, and it is designed to force us to think about the end game, that waits at the end of the roads that we are travelling. God is seeking to shock us out of complacency and see the state we are in and the end product of our selfish, proud behaviour.
“Put to death therefore your members which are on the earth: sexual immorality, uncleanness, depraved passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry; for which things’ sake the wrath of God comes on the children of disobedience.”
Colossians 3: 5
So this is what we do. We thrown off the sins that beset us and seek forgiveness for them. God will judge every sinner who is not forgiven, and we will suffer eternal loss.
“Put on therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, a heart of compassion, kindness, lowliness, humility, and perseverance; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, if any man has a complaint against any; even as Christ forgave you, so you also do. Above all these things, walk in love, which is the bond of perfection.
Colossians 3: 12-14
And this is what we do. We deliberately follow the Lord who has forgiven us and rescued us from the clutches of sin and death.
The choice is clear. We get the things of this life, or the things of the next life. The situation is put before us and the choice has to be made. Which road will we be travelling on?
“Enter in by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter in by it. How narrow is the gate, and restricted is the way that leads to life! Few are those who find it.”
Matthew 7: 13-14
Jesus talked of a broad road that leads to destruction, and a narrow road that leads to life. We are easily attracted to the broad road as it looks more attractive to our fallen human nature. The narrow way is only walked by those who have given up this world and forfeited its pleasures, so that they can walk with their Saviour, Jesus and become more like Him. Natural people, who do not know God, will never choose this way…
V6 Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.
We can be guilty of major sins and not realise our involvement. People who are paid little and are unable to provide sufficient support for their families, find ill health and serious poverty, become part of their lives. If we are using people for our own ends and not giving them a fair recompense for labour and therefore contributing to the harshness of life, we are condemning them to this lesser lifestyle and many problems we do not recognise.
God says it is like condemning people to sickness and death. Some people are unable to help themselves because they are denied the means to do so. But the rich who are making all the money, are living a life of ease.
God looks on His people as the oppressed and the “Just.” They are believing oppressed people and are trying to earn enough for their families, but the work situation means they are denied this. They are honest workers, and not people trying to get the better of people considered lesser. God sees His people as good, and living rightly. This is the mark of a Christian, and often leads to unfairness for God’s people as they work in this unjust world.
These working people are not making a fuss or protesting about their treatment. They are simply trying to do a honest days work. The workers do not oppress the owners, or the business owners. the workers are not seeking revenge or even justice. They just want to get through the work day and have food and clothing. Although the business leaders are taking away their livelihood, the workers are not harming the oppressors. God sees the righteousness of the working people and gives them a righteous sentence, and the wicked who oppress are cast in the mould of murderers.
“The sinners in Zion are afraid. Trembling has seized the godless ones. Who among us can live with the devouring fire? Who among us can live with everlasting burning?
He who walks righteously, and speaks blamelessly; He who despises the gain of oppressions, who gestures with his hands, refusing to take a bribe, who stops his ears from hearing of blood, and shuts his eyes from looking at evil—
He will dwell on high. His place of defense will be the fortress of rocks. His bread will be supplied. His waters will be sure. Your eyes will see the king in his beauty. They will see a distant land.”
Isaiah 33: 14-17
If we want to see the beauty of the Lord Jesus, and the glory of that distant land, then we must keep our lives from all evil and fight the cause of those who are disregarded. People who reject the punishment of devouring fire, will walk righteously in this world, stays out of the way of oppressive people, is straight-forward and honest with people, and takes no enjoyment in bloodshed and watching things that God says are evil.
This is often the profile of the people of God. Because they are humble and serve God with true hearts, they can find themselves being taken advantage of. God will not allow His people to suffer unnecessarily, but we are often witnesses in this wicked and cruel world to the long-suffering attitude of God that is in our new natures. The Christian is not cruel, but readily gives to those who need help. Not just physical help, but friendship, care and respect.
V7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.
Those belong to God are to be patient and wait quietly for the great day, when Jesus will return to earth and take every one of His people home. We who are sisters and brothers to each other, in the family of God are safe and secure in the knowledge of our Saviour Jesus. We have no need to fret or be cast down about the future, because it is always bright. We many feel in a low mood at times, but the reality never changes. We wait in hope for our Lord and God who has died to save us and rescue us from this present evil age.
We are the patient workers in the harvest field. The field is the Lord’s and not some oppressive human landlord. We can be confident then and remain patient, right up to the very end. We are like farmers who have sown the seed and planted the shoots in the earth and are now waiting for the full harvest that will surely come.
“When the Lord brought back those who returned to Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, our tongue with singing. Then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” The Lord has done great things for us, and we are glad. Restore our fortunes, Lord, like streams in the Negev. Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed for sowing, will certainly come again with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.”
Psalm 126: 1-6
It will certainly come because God has promised it. What is this fruit? Surely it is the redeemed lives of people who have been witnessed to and taught by us, the way to God, and how they can find Him too. It is always very hard to see the effect of our service for God, but it is promised to us, by our Father in heaven. We work and labour for the Lord, and we are faithful to His calling, but we will have to wait until the harvest, to see the effects of what we have done.
This is a tremendous encouragement to us, and is a wonderful motivator, that God will give us fruit for our work. The farmer is the one who enjoys the first fruits of the harvest. There will be many people of God who will have laboured hard for Him, and wept tears for the souls of other people, and they will not be disappointed when Christ returns, and all His people are gathered in from the harvest field. No believer will be without fruit and there will be great rejoicing at the glory to be revealed when our Saviour Jesus returns.
So let us be bold and strong in this great field of the Lord. Left us speak and tell and show with way to God and the joys that will be ours. The rains will come. The life-giving Spirit of God will refresh and enlighten the minds of all who will believe. We pray for these latter rains, in these latter days. We pray God will give such fruit that we will be amazed and lift our hearts in praise to God.
V8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.
Christians must practice patience. When difficulties arise, to it easy to let worry and anxiety get the better of us. When we think on those we love who have no living faith in Christ, we can be worried and distressed about their situation. It is difficult to practice patience in challenging settings.
But we must learn this skill and when we forget it again, we must learn it again. If we are worried, we must bring it to God and leave it there. We exercise our faith safe in the knowledge that God is in complete control and the way He works out the circumstances of other people’s lives is for the best.
We can be so anxious about life, health, death and the issues that affect everyone, that we become oblivious to the grace of God, and think that our worrying will do some good. But God will not bless us while we remain in a distressed state. We need to recognise His will and His power and bring ourselves into a peaceable state before God. He will bless us as we trust in Him.
This does not mean we cannot cry out to God in our troubles. He sees our need and He will answer our prayers as we express heartfelt love for others. But we leave it all with Him.
“O Lord, my heart isn’t haughty, nor my eyes lofty; nor do I concern myself with great matters, or things too wonderful for me.
Surely I have stilled and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with his mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.
Israel, hope in God, from this time forth and forevermore.”
As we calm our hearts and quieten our souls, He makes our minds and hearts firm in faith, love and joy in His purposes. This is a blessed place and the resting point of every saint of God. As time progresses, our hearts are further made secure in God. We learn to go to God and leave our whole day with Him. We leave our moments too and find in the resting place to be the place of comfort and life.
“But I trust in your loving kindness. My heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because he has been good to me.”
Psalm 13: 5-6
We progress in the Christian life, and our final goal is the expectation that Jesus is coming back for His people. We will all go to be with Him. At that point we will be finally delivered from sin, self and the temptations that are all around us. We rejoice in that time that is coming when we will be delivered. Sometimes we can still retain thoughts about our loved ones who are not ready for that day. It is the same principle as other stresses. Leave it all with God and He will answer our prayers and He will not leave any of His people behind.
“…the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, because the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its lamp. By its light the nations will walk, and into it the kings of the earth will bring their glory. It’s gates will never be shut at the end of the day, because there will be no night there. And into the city will be brought the glory and honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who practices an abomination or a lie, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.”
Revelation 21: 23-27
Trust in God at all times. He is the author of all things and He will bring all things to their final conclusion.
V9 Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.
There is only one Judge and He is waiting at the threshold of eternity to return to our planets atmosphere and take His people home forever. He will judge the living and the dead and every eye will see Him and very knee will bow and give glory to Him. The Lord Jesus Christ will prevail. He has already vanquished death and hell and paid the price for sin. We must always remember this reality and remember where we are going. We must fight the battles of this life so that we can enter into that eternal place, and know that Jesus the Saviour has the keys to death and hell, and He will bring all His people home to heaven.
In all our wisdom and evaluation of life, behaviour and attitudes, we must remember that we are not judges of each other, and have no right to demand other people be exactly like us. It is easy to become a judge and a tyrant. We think our way is best and the only good way, but God has His people in all sorts of places and doing all sorts of service for Him. We can think we know who Christians are and type cast people by their outward behaviour and what church they go to. The further down the way of life we go and the greater our understanding of the Word of God, we realise it is not that straightforward.
We must not relate to each other in a grudging way, but we must be generous in our speech and behaviour toward other people. When other people succeed and are lifted up, we must not be inwardly jealous or be resentful toward each other, but rejoice when other people do well. This is a skill we must learn and ask God to give us renewed hearts every day.
Resentment against another person is destructive, as it undermines our true- hearted relationship with them, and drives a wedge between them and us and sincerity of word and deed. We certainly must not complain about them, or put them in a bad light to other people. This can break up so many relationships and cause the person we resent deep trouble and hurt.
God will condemn all those who show bad feeling towards others and there will be no blessing on family or church where this is the atmosphere. We think correctness is the key, but it is a cover up for bad attitudes and covetous desires for acclaim and recognition. We must remember, the Judge waits at the door. Jesus could return at any time, and we must be ready for Him.
For those who are side-lined and suffer the effects of jealous people, they must not be cast down, for the judge will rule for them. God will not allow His people to suffer unnecessarily, but will provide a way out.
Those who are weak and jealousy has overtaken their hearts and motivations, we must cast it all on the Lord. Only the power of the Holy Spirit can give us the strength to overcome this strong inclination.
“For as much then as Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind; for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin; that you no longer should live the rest of your time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.”
1 Peter 4: 1-2
Let us be vigilant about our attitudes and deal strictly with ourselves about our feeling and motives, and God will help us to be over-comers too. Let us think of that great day and rejoice to know that soon all rights will be established and all wrongs rubbed out forever.
V10 Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.
The most persecuted people among the people of God, were the Prophets. These are people called out by God to proclaim the Word of God to God’s people and make sure they understood God’s ways and followed them. They did not just outline the future plans of God, but interpreted the times and seasons so that God’s people would walk obediently and wisely in the right way.
The words these Prophets said were spoken in the name of the Lord. This was not a trivial calling but required that these women and men walked closely with God and were very careful about their lives and speaking.
The Prophets were set apart for the glory of God and the blessing of His work on earth among His people and to other people too. They are used here as an example of forbearance, patience in suffering, and enduring affliction.
These are the hallmarks of a servant of God. There is no holiness without suffering. As Christ suffered to show Himself a great Saviour, so those who love God and seek usefulness and courage to speak, must endure hardship.
“You therefore must endure hardship, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier on duty entangles himself in the affairs of life, that he may please him who enrolled him as a soldier.”
2 Timothy 2:3-4
These Prophets endured trouble in this life and even persecution at the hands of God’s people, but they were faithful to their calling and spoke the Word of God truly and boldly. Many were killed and tortured and left to die in terrible circumstances. When we follow God and obey Him, we will also feel the pressure to go our own way. Some will tell us we must look after ourselves, but God says we must trust Him and obey Him.
Jesus regaled the people around Him in Jerusalem. They were following falsehoods and had turned their back on their true God. Jesus was deeply affected by their state…
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that kills the prophets, and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, like a hen gathers her own brood under her wings, and you refused! Behold, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!'”
So many people find themselves in this position. We will not seek the Lord, or walk with Him. This caused Jesus to weep tears of sorrow for such people. We avoid the difficulties and we get something worse.
Jesus uses the example of the Prophets to be people who persevere under trials and although they were treated badly by the society they found themselves in, they are kept by the power of God and give the strength to live and speak for Him.
This is not just for “special” servants, but is the way every Christian walks in this life and follows their Master in the pathway to heaven. We should not be ashamed, or surprised at the opposition we receive, but we will follow our God and enjoy His personal fellowship with us every day.
“Don’t be deceived. God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption. But he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not be weary in doing good, for we will reap in due season, if we don’t give up.”
Whatever kind of life we have, it must be for God. If we only have the things of this life, we will have no spiritual fruit for eternity. God orders our ways and will show us the right way to go for our good, our families good, and the work of Jesus Christ in this world.
V11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. You 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.
Here is a verse that brings every Christian comfort and hope. We all, who trust in the love of God and the forgiveness that is in Christ, regard these precious people, like the character Job, as the servants of God, and as “happy” that they have endured. This is the mark of true faith – it lasts to the very end of our lives. Some, all of us in some way, may fall away, but every true believer will repent and will be brought back to God.
Whatever our lot in this life, we will endure and be faithful to our heavenly calling in Jesus our Saviour and Lord. Christians may count other believers happy to endure, even though the people of this world do not. Those who follow God with a whole heart, are often misinterpreted and misunderstood. But God and those who love Him, do not.
God here, bring to our minds the patience of Job. How much and how long he suffered as he bore the pain of sickness, and rejection. He lost family, home, belongings, work, health, and everything he held dear. He was able to cope with fake friends and very bad advice from people who purported to be faithful to God. He was able to process their words in the light of his faith in God, and endure to the end of his trouble.
Job’s famous statement of pure and solid faith..
“Behold, he will kill me. I have no hope. Nevertheless, I will maintain my ways before him. This also shall be my salvation, that a godless man shall not come before him. Hear diligently my speech. Let my declaration be in your ears. See now, I have set my cause in order. I know that I am righteous.”
Job promises a faithful walk with God, even if God’s purpose for his life should be death. He recognises he is not a Godless man and knows he will stand before God. Job purposes that his words will never be false and he has set his mind and heart in order and therefore is “righteous.”
Surely we must be able to say these things also. Our faith will show us the work of God in our lives and we will see God’s power as God has changed us and taught us from His Word.
The end for Job was a double portion of what he had before. God repaid him everything and extra besides. God is no-ones debtor. God replenished the life of Job with such riches and Job saw, even in this life, the pouring out of blessing on those who remain faithful.
This is the prospect of all who follow Jesus Christ and obey Him. Jesus Himself, entered into His glory after His sacrifice for sin, and received the inheritance of His beloved people as His eternal reward. We are these such and we follow Him in the heavenly pathway and bring our fruits with us.
The Lord our God may require us to enter into sufferings and trials, but He is pitiful of us and we will not be burdened beyond what we can bear.
“No temptation has taken you except what is common to man. God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able, but will with the temptation also make the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.’
1 Corinthians 10:13
God is in His nature – love, and He is kind towards us and full of tender mercy. All tenderness comes for Him and He will love and guard and guide His people always. We can have full confidence in Him in every situation of our lives.
“because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the dawn from on high will visit us, to shine on those who sitin darkness and the shadow of death; to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
God will give His people light, so that we do not sit in the dark and He will guide us through that light, to peace. This is true love.
V12 But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.
In this verse we are revisiting the basic premise for this teaching in this chapter. The Christian woman or man, rests entirely on the promises of God and trusts completely in His perfect and holy character. There is no other resting place for the Christian. So what we say and how we say it, is of prime importance. We do not need to swear on anything to reinforce our point of view or belief set.
Things that appear bigger than us, we tend to apportion importance, for instance, heaven. Heaven is the ultimate resting point of the Christian, and we know very little about it. We believe in faith that the forgiveness of God will bring us there. Heaven is far above our view and so best to leave that place to the realm of the glorious God. We should not swear by it, because it is not our realm, as yet,and we ave no authority as to who will get there.
Making our point and swearing on the planet we live on, is equally foolish. We live here, but we know so little about it, still after the exploration and investigations that humans have carried out on it. We are minuscule compared to earth, and to swear by it, again it brings the creation of God down to a mediocre level, and takes integrity away from what we are saying. Even earth is not in our control.
We try other oaths. People swear on family graves, their own health, and the lives of people important to them. Often the use of an oath, trivialises the very thing we swear on. All these things are actually out of our control, and so we have no right or authority to use their gravitas to back up our promises or words.
God is saying that we must leave oaths and swearing our of our mindset, and to make a point of saying what we mean and being honest about what we think. We can build around our selves a kudos, and people get an opinion of what we are like and can expect certain types of behaviour and speaking which may not be helpful. If we speak plainly without hyperbole, or exaggeration, we show we can be trusted. What we say is the plain truth that we honestly think. Any kind of swearing or false promising or oath taking, only undermines us and our character in the view of other people.
So, when we express ourselves, our opinion, beliefs, point of view, outlook, personal preference, it is clear and it is plain. Yes, is yes, No is no. Anything else is too much of ourselves in the statements we make. When we promise to do something, it is best to just say we will. When we are saying what we think about something, we just say what we think. When we feel we need to back up what we say by swearing, don’t. The people around you should know you well enough to know that you speak plainly and truthfully.
If we fall into other kinds of expressions, we are falling into temptation and the realm of being condemned. It’s very easy to become lazy about our speech, and we must keep a guard on your lips. It’s really a case of building our Christian character by watching what we say. Exaggeration is a common problem, and very quickly people will apportion that skill to all we fins ourselves saying. Flattery also is a common device that people use to make a point or get a reaction.
“Set a watch, Lord, before my mouth. Keep the door of my lips.”
We share more than we realise in our speaking. That is why James previews the verse with “above all things.” The things that come out from our lips are really the judges of our character.
“The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings out that which is good, and the evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings out that which is evil, for out of the abundance of the heart, his mouth speaks.”
What comes out as speech, is the revelation of our personality and the intent of our hearts.
We descend into profanity very quickly and undermine our character and integrity, and we become unreliable and ungodly. Fostering a good character makes us reliable and trustworthy, as God our Father is trustworthy.
V13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.
Our attitude toward each other must be a mirror image of the mercy of God, which we have personally known from Him. We should be sensitive to each other and insightful about what we each go through. If our sister or brother are suffering any kind of illness, we must teach them to pray and pour out their troubles and pains to the Lord, the great Healer.
Prayer is the great balm for the suffering. It bring us into the presence of God and we can talk directly to Him. If the illness affects the person in a profound way, they may not be able to pray for themselves. Christian sisters and brothers can pray for each other so that the sufferer can learn from the prayer and lean on the Saviour and Lord. Prayer binds God’s people together in a profoundest of fellowship and to pray and see answers, is the delight of redeemed souls.
If, on the other hand, the Christian is happy and full of joy, they are in the right place to sing praises to God. These are two states of mind and body, and God gives a remedy for both. We minister to each other as we find each other and teach and pray as minister to suffering Christians and those who rejoice.
The book of Psalms is particularly mentioned.
This book of the Bible, in particular, is a whole series of comforts for suffering people. Many turn to these words to find spiritual comfort from God, and to find unchanging promised that can be taken to heart, mind and soul.
“I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise will always be in my mouth. My soul shall boast in the Lord. The humble shall hear of it, and be glad. Oh magnify the Lord with me. Let us exalt his name together. I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked to him, and were radiant. Their faces shall never be covered with shame.”
Psalm 34: 1-5
“…you are my hope, Lord my God; my confidence from my youth. I have relied on you from the womb. You are he who took me out of my mother’s womb. I will always praise you. I am a marvel to many, but you are my strong refuge. My mouth shall be filled with your praise, with your honor all the day. Don’t reject me in my old age. Don’t forsake me when my strength fails. For my enemies talk about me. Those who watch for my soul conspire together, Saying, “God has forsaken him. Pursue and take him, for no one will rescue him.” God, don’t be far from me. My God, hurry to help me. Let my accusers be disappointed and consumed. Let them be covered with disgrace and scorn who want to harm me. But I will always hope, and will add to all of your praise.”
Psalm 71: 5-14
“How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more in number than the sand. When I wake up, I am still with you.”
Psalm 139: 17-18
Those who know God through many trials, and have imbibed the certain comforts from God, can find comfort in trouble through praise. To learn the way to worship, praise and thanks is the way of Christ and the mode of walk for the mature Christian. The Scriptures are our comfort and to be able to grasp them, talk them and even sing them in our times of trouble.
So, may we minister to each other, as the Holy Spirit teaches us and prompts us speak.
V14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
When Christians are sick we can find ourselves unable to minister to ourselves and to not be able to keep or eyes fixed on the Lord Jesus. When suffering on our bed of sickness and feeling many weaknesses, we can be unable to ask God rightly, or just not be able to focus to the words we need to say. We easily become discouraged and our minds can become negative in aspects of our lives, because of the trial we are going through. There is a remedy provided for our benefit and God instructs us and the church leaders to express this manifestation of the grace of God. The prayer of a godly person has the blessing of God with it and healing can ensue.
“If you remain in me, and my words remain in you, you will ask whatever you desire, and it will be done for you.”
The suffering saint can let it be known that they are finding the way of life difficult to walk. We can call to the church leaders to come and minister to us. This involves the meeting together, praying over the sick person for strength to recover and that the illness will be abated, in the will of God. The will of God is paramount, as it is He who decides our sicknesses and times of suffering. There are times when He requires us to prove His love through protracted periods for sickness. We pray in His name and according to His will. Solomon prays this prayer at the dedication of the temple, and it rings true for us too, as we depend entirely on the perfect will of God.
“Listen to the petitions of your servant, and of your people Israel, when they shall pray toward this place: yes, hear from your dwelling place, even from heaven; and when you hear, forgive.”
2 Chronicles 6:21
The suffering Christian is then anointed with oil. This is not necessarily an anointing for healing, but a testimony of the willingness of God to bless and keep, and that He may heal, but all according to His will. As the oil was poured as a blessing on the sick person, it was the reminder that they have the oil of purification from the Holy Spirit, as one of God’s children.
“Therefore I tell you, all things whatever you pray and ask for, believe that you have received them, and you shall have them..”
The anointing is in the name of the Lord, so is not valueless or ineffective. It symbolises the grace poured out for all of us by the sacrificial death of Jesus our Saviour. The poured oil must not be forgotten and the implication that we are Queens and Kings of heaven and as such, the future is certain for us, wether we live or die.
“The Almighty will be your treasure, and precious silver to you. For then you will delight yourself in the Almighty, and shall lift up your face to God. You shall make your prayer to him, and he will hear you. You shall pay your vows. You shall also decree a thing, and it shall be established to you. Light shall shine on your ways. When they cast down, you shall say, ‘be lifted up.’ He will save the humble person. He will even deliver him who is not innocent. Yes, he shall be delivered through the cleanness of your hands.”
God’s power is given to His people. The spirit resides within, and those who seriously seek God, will enjoy that full treasure. Those who are blessed will pray and their prayers will be answered. This should be Christian leaders, but very often, it is not. We can get defensive rather than concerned about our state before God. We justify ourselves and play down the messenger, so that we can carry on in the way we are used to. We will be no help to the suffering, and God will not be seen in what we do.
Are sisters and brothers sick? Are you encouraging them, and pouring oil on troubled lives? This is a measure of our own spirituality. Ministering to each other is part of the life, even the main part, of our Christian walk with God. We comfort, teach, admonish each other in the ways of God.
God intimates that many Christians are sick and even die, due to lack of respect and solemnity at the Lord’s Table. (Communion) Our attitude to God’s ways is crucial and we obey Him with humility and contrition. We have nothing in ourselves, and must constantly readjust our attitudes to become more like Jesus our Lord. This is not easy, but we bring comfort and encouragement to each other, as we suffer in this pilgrim way.
‘You ask, and don’t receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it for your pleasures..’
Gods blessing and healing in sickness, is according to His will and our ultimate good, which we may not recognise. The Christian trusts God’s ways and enjoys His closeness and power. God’s ultimate good for us, may not be according to our own wishes, because there are times of suffering, which God allows for the good of our character and souls. Faith is the key grace, and love for our God.
V15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
When Christians are ill and concerned about health, physical and spiritual, we can call church leaders, or Christians of long-standing faith and powerful in prayer. These experienced people, in the Word and prayerful petitions, and called upon to exercise their gifts and to minister God’s grace. God is more than willing to heal, forgive and raise up the sick out of the illness and back into a fruitful life.
To be ill is debilitating and affects every part of our person. It is good to receive spiritual support from Christian friends. God will heal the sick through the prayer of faith. This is the powerful prayer of the godly people and also the prayer of the sick person who is seeking help and healing. The prayer and the outcome is subject to God’s will for that person, and He alone can decide the best thing for any sufferer. God is willing to heal, and does heal, but it may not be in the way or at the time that we might request from Him. God is not a health machine that churns out healing every time we pray. God is in the business of building faith in all His people.
God does heal. Maybe that sound obvious, but there are Christians who would rule out healing along with all the New Testament gifts that were poured out on God’s
people. There are many testimonies to His goodness in lifting people out of sickness to complete health, but there are also testimonies of those who have had suffering as a feature in their lives. Of the two types, the Christian who has suffered repeatedly and profoundly can be such a witness to other sufferers, and those who are afraid of suffering. To see the power of God worked out in the life of a believer, is a clear example of what God can do.
Both these testimonies are valid to show the grace of God and the victory of the Christian over sickness, pain and death. We can all be too slow to verbally express our victory and share what God has done for us.
Similarly with our sins, which we commit every day. Facing up is crucial to our forgiveness and growth in the ways of God. When we commit sins, we confess them straight away, and we are forgiven. We do not return to that sin ever again. We have such a glorious access to forgiveness and the power to overcome in our own lives.
Some equate sin with sickness. This is not something we should be trying to decipher. God does teach us through hardship, and in His purposes. He at times uses sickness to teach us about Himself, and our need to be like Him. As His children, He causes us to think about our position before Him. Serious illness is the prerogative of God and we should not be judging people according to their illness, or the severity of it. God is merciful and so we also must be merciful. Judging is not what we should be indulging in, because we are instructed not to pass such judgments on other people’s lives. God sends suffering to strengthen faith and teach us dependence on His love and power. God allows some to suffer for the benefit of other people, and to show faith, love and even joy, in the lives of His people.
God forgives, and so do we. To oppress people by continually following their sickness and sins with judgment, is not godly. To measure spirituality with illness, is not how God sees things. The greater our pain, the more closely we walk with our God. Our lack of understanding in this regard, says more about our state, than the person we are judging.
V16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
Here is a difficult command that has been wrenched out of the context to suit certain kinds of church leader. Cults have caused a lot of damage to individual Christians and their personal walk with God, and also groups of people who gave been brought into bondage of will and life. There are leaders who set themselves up as citadels of holiness and allow the people they are supposed to lead, into thinking more highly of them than they should. People who want total acclaim and want to have a kind of Pope style position over others, so that their followers will listen to them and obey what they teach. This can even be on the guise of teaching the Word of God.
There are people who want to have an earthly authority figure to relate to and be able to rely on them for direction and advice. We are often very bound by sight and the need to relate in the physical, which we prefer to the spiritual and relating to God through His Word and in prayer. This attitude toward leaders, who are sinners as much as anyone else, will undermine the individuals relationship with God and open the mind to error, mistakes and a dependency on human sources.
No Christian is above another. This command is a two-way street. We confess to each other- not one person taking confessionals from others. It is a deeply trusting situation and there needs to be a holy faith between both parties that are confessing. The confessing is the means of keeping each other in the love of God. When we wrong another person, we must be able to confess it to them as we ask for forgiveness. It is accompanied by prayer for each other and a mutual seeking after God for holiness. This goes along with the prayer to be healed. The sacred trust between believers brings deep sharing and heart-felt prayer and intercession for each other, and the healing of mind, soul and body, as we live for our Saviour Jesus.
This should be the way. Too often it is not. The absence of grace and faith also dismisses love from our relationships and we become judges with wicked hearts. We must foster good relationships with Christian sisters and brothers so that the love of Christ can be seen.
If we walk worthy of Christ and are earnestly seeking His ways, we will be righteous before God. When that kind of person prays, God hears and the fervency of the request is so in-step with the will of God, that prayer has power with God. He will answer it, and everyone will be blessed.
V17 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.
The power of prayer. This is not for one woman or man, or even the mighty Prophet Elijah. This is recorded here to show us what is possible through prayer.
Firstly, Elijah was a holy man who obeyed God and who was kept alive by God, to show God’s power and holiness. He was not “special” or without weaknesses and certainly sins and sinful tendencies, but He was lifted up as the mouthpiece of God.
Some express his life as “set apart.” This certainly does not mean, free from temptation and sin, or being shielded by God from suffering and heartache. God develops His sweetest and strongest saints, through great troubles. Elijah was a sinful person just like us, but he learned from his pains and trusted God and listened to Him.
King Ahab hated him, because God told Elijah all the kings intentions. When Elijah prayed, and prayed with fervency, it stopped raining. Elijah was able to control the weather and therefore the crops, food, climate, in fact, everything to do with life. He had to run and hide from Ahab, and God sustained him.
Elijah’s prayer plunged the enemies of God unto deep trouble. There was no rain for three years six months. This powerful and fervent prayed, prayed by this righteous man, Elijah, was powerful and effective.
Elijah was just a person like us, so how could he be listened to by God?
Elijah was careful in his life to obey God, and had total faith in God’s word, so when he prayed it happened. This is the lifestyle of every true Christian. We must live experimental lives for God. We must know power and true desires. When we are like Jesus our Lord, we can ask and it will be given.
V18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.
Here we have Elijah, the Prophet of Prophets, pray again and praying large in the will of God. After three and a half years of drought he prayed again for life-giving rains. The rain falls showing the wicked and unbelieving people and evil king Ahab that God is in control. God sends the rain at the request of His servant Elijah and the earth brings forth its fruit to feed the hungry people.
It makes us wonder why our prayers have little purchase in heaven’s court. Elijah lived so close to God that his prayers were in tune with the will of God for the whole nation. Elijah had God’s thoughts on his mind. He lived for the presence of God rather than his own affairs. God kept him, protected him, fed him so he could be a blessing to the nation.
If we were to live such a way and pray so earnestly, there would be fruit for us also.
We pray for the wrong things, and we pray for little things. If we are going to bear fruit, we must put our lives on the altar of sacrifice and pray for the things of God’s will. The salvation of souls is paramount and requires miracles of heart so that people without God, will find Him. Praying for growth of fellow Christians and that they would magnify God in their lives. Praying for family to be saved from certain punishment, should be with us always.
As Elijah’s prayer brought fruit for the people, so we pray for blessing on our land and fellow citizens in this world. We pray salvation will come like a flood, and the Holy Spirit will fill the lives of people who are seeking Him.
V19 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;
The Apostle James is now coming to a close in this letter to God’s people. He has set out the way to live and what our desires should be.
Brothers and sisters, here are the closing remarks. If a Christian sister or brother should get a false idea about the Christian life and wanders away from the truth set out in the Word of God, we should correct them and teach them again the right way.
The word used is “convert” this is a complete turn around. Bring the person back into God’s way so that they are living rightly. The turn is a complete turn-around because when we get a false idea about God, it contaminates all other views of the Christian life. We need to be clear about who God is and our place before Him,
This is a complete turn around. Three hundred and eighty degrees around. We must swap our old human way, for God’s holy way. We will become completely different when our lives belong to God. This affects all we do and say, and we seek salvation for those we love, and those who we don’t know.
In our Christian groups, we must not let people just wander away. They are in Christ, just as we are and we have bonds between us that are eternal. We all support each other and show each other how to live for God. We really must care in deed, a well as word.
V20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
What a blessed thought and fitting ending to this amazing letter. We help our fellow Christians when things go wrong. We convert them, we bring them fully back to God and help them to turn away from the error they have followed.
When we do this, we are saving their souls from a messy and unproductive life and ultimately from death. Perhaps this person claimed to be a Christian, but their lives did not follow the way set down for us.
When people repent, it saves their souls and in the process, the sins of their life are covered over. No need to share or spend time analysing everything. The Christian who has wandered away, is brought back and the sins they could have committed are covered over by the lifeline stretched out to them, by the sister or brother in Christ.
We often do more than we know or imagine. If we are sowing the good seed, we can save many lives without even knowing it. Let us not become weary in well doing because our words many convert a lost soul or stop a proliferation of sins in the life of a Christian.
It is blessed to be a secret blessing, and to build up our store of treasures for the heavenly kingdom. Then, when we get there we will see all that God has done for us and in us and through us. This protects us from pride and self-seeking, which is a state all too easy to fall into. As we serve Him humbly and truly, He will protect us from sin and give us such peace and joy, that we become more and more useful and more and more like Jesus Christ or Lord.
This last verse, is the summary of what we should be doing in our life with God. Our mission is to turn lives around, bring people too repentance for their sins, and forgiveness through the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross, and to cover over a whole life of sins, through that exercise fo faith, that we must all have.
We are “Life-savers” and “Soul-winners” and “Burden-bearers” in this world of sin and death. Let us rise up and speak up and witness miracles of God, as He brings outsiders into His kingdom. It’s easy to be over concerned about our own troubles, and regard other people’s failure and needs as their own business, but Christ healed all and comforted the sorrowing. We model ourselves on Him, and give our lives as a sacrifice to other people, who God puts in our way. perhaps we need to practice this lifestyle and learn the skills we need to obey this instruction. If we do, we will be mightily blessed and will see the Lord in our own lives and those people around us.
The rewards for the Christian could not be greater. They will gain heaven and a pace of glory with Christ forever.
”Those who are wise shall shine as the brightness of the expanse; and those who turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever.”
Daniel 12 :3