Meditations on James 5:7-12

Jesus expects his disciples to “Bear fruit with patience”, Luke 8:15, which may seem odd, since patience is actually part of the fruit of the Spirit. But if you look closely at what Jesus is saying, we find out that patience comes from holding the promises of His Word in a good and honest heart, then patience grows! So if we think that getting better at being patient is only gained by life experiences, Jesus gives better direction. If our heart desires His word, and our heart has insight into His word which leads us to experience His commands then this experience really develops patience. The more a human heart holds His word with integrity, the more we see our patience turn into perseverance! The time it takes to do this with God in everyday life, is why patience is called His fruit, fruit takes time to grow.

v8 repeats the “coming of the Lord” in the context of Harvest. Fruit of the earth yielding its valuable crop is an image of harvest, referencing judgment; which is good for the church, but bad for those who reject Christ (Matt. 13:29-30).

v9, The Judge and “last days,” is a reference to Christ’s second coming and the judgment (Rom. 13:12; Heb. 10:25; 1 Pet. 4:7; Rev. 22:20). This can also convey the idea that our life is short and our time to judgment is near, so we need to “wise up” in Him.

v10, what amazes me about the ancient Jewish prophets and Job himself is their obvious perseverance in painful persecution, yet they often had no example to follow, Christ wasn’t leading them. God’s word through the law and God’s word in their visions is all they had. Job didn’t even see a single miracle, and his life remains righteous, unlike the horrific sins of David. Our advantage is that we have access to the mind of Christ and the presence of his Spirit to teach us God’s message. That is a “blessed” life and why Jesus proclaimed the beatitudes, Matthew 5:3-11. 

v11, “the purpose of the Lord”, They had seen, “truth & grace came by Jesus Christ”, John 1:14-17. That’s what patience as a Christian will get for you!

v12, Swear…oaths. In the Greek, swear means to grasp something hard for support. Here, it refers to a verbal agreement witnessed by an object that represents God. An example would be swearing by the Temple that manipulates God as a witness to our promises, and dealings (Gen. 24: 1-9; Ezra 10:5; Neh. 5:12; Acts 23:12; Heb. 6:13-17). They would go through these long, elaborate oaths, then not live up to them. The OT Law forbids irreverent oaths, especially the misuse of God’s name. It breaks the third commandment (Ex. 20:7; Lev. 19:12; Num. 30:2; Duet. 5:11; 6:3; 22:21-33) Without integrity in our words of promise, we are left condemned by our own conscience if we used an oath in a way that left us a loophole.

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