Faith and Works#6. “The Christian Experience.”

Faith and Works#6. “The Christian Experience.”

To suggest that James’ discourse on “Faith and Works” begins at chapter two verse fourteen is to demonstrate a skewed view of the Christian Experience.

From the very beginning of his book, James prepares the church for action. He starts with the reality of trials—those unrelenting everyday circumstances that have moved many a Christian to doubt his faith and fall away.

While some resolve themselves to a miserable existence under the weight of these trials, James’ war cry is “Consider it all joy!” (Jm.1:2).

James’ goal is that of his brother, Jesus, who calls us “to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt.5:48).

Our souls are, here and now, perfectly saved—and that is the source and reason for our joy. However, our journey from baptism to the grave is lived out physically in a spiritual war zone. Satan will use any and every criticism, hardship, sickness, financial setback, and temptation to distract you from maturing into the image of Christ – if you let him!

Test me on this: Ask yourself why many Christians never seem to reach any discernible level of spiritual maturity (but judge with righteous judgement).

James would say that, though it first shows in an obvious lack of joy, its actual cause is a failure in the testing of one’s faith.

An immature faith is a faith that, at its core, sees Jesus and the church as a divine clean up crew, rather than King and fellow soldiers in the fight against Satan and his demons.

“The testing of your faith,” says James, “develops endurance” (James 1:3).

This is faith on the anvil of life. But the blows of the trials cannot destroy a faith willing to be tested. Instead, all trials are joyfully endured…

“And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (Jm.1:4).

That is the Christian Experience – Enjoy!

John Staiger

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