James 1:12 – “Blessed is the man who endures temptation (refers to the test of Faith): for when he is tried, he shall receive the Crown of Life (refers to a reward much greater than the price paid), which the Lord has promised to them who love Him. (If we truly love Him, we will truly keep His Commandments [Jn. 14:15], which we can do with the help of the Holy Spirit, Who requires that our Faith ever rest in the Cross [Rom. 6:3-5, 11, 14].)”
THE ASSET OF FAITH
The Christian’s Faith is his greatest asset. It is through Faith and Faith alone that one is granted entrance into Eternal Life. It is through Faith and Faith alone that one is enabled to overcome every obstacle that presents itself in life. Those obstacles may take the form of contrary circumstances. They may also take the form of a desire from within the heart to do evil. While God is in the process of securing our Faith, seeing to it that our Faith is both genuine and pure in quality, Satan has quite a different agenda. His goal is always to destroy or degrade the very fabric of our Faith. If he can eliminate our Faith in what God has revealed to us, he can eliminate the benefits that God can bring to one who believes. This is why James stresses the need to maintain Faith to the end. No one passes through just one trial and is then rewarded with a Crown of Life. It is through many trials, troubles, attacks, and snares that the Believer must pass. We do not gain the Crown of Life through the passing of a singular test. By the same reasoning, neither do we lose the Crown of Life for failing to pass a single test of Faith. We are to hold to our Faith to the end! If, at the end of the day, we still believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died for our sins and rose again, we win!
TEMPTATION IN CIRCUMSTANCES
In James 1:2, we see the exhortation by James to walk through life’s “many colored” situations with joy. We are not joyful because we face a difficult time or issue! We are joyful because we know that despite the present circumstances we are facing, God is still with us and God is faithful. Our Faith resides in the Faithfulness of our God to come through for us. If God be for us then who or what can be against us? These are words of Faith! We believe in God’s Provision, even when we can’t see how it will come! We believe that our Covenant with God in Christ has tied us intrinsically to the care of our Heavenly Father. We believe that He has not forsaken us or forgotten us. We believe that He will come through for us! This is Faith that brings hope. Hope makes us not ashamed as time and time again we see the Faithfulness of God coming through. Some Christians despair during a trial of circumstances. Despair can take us to a place of doubt and fear. Doubt and fear can produce faithlessness, which in the end will produce spiritual death, separation from God. Jesus prayed for Peter that his Faith wouldn’t fail (Lk. 22:32). He’s praying the same for us today. The Believer who holds to his Faith in a trial of circumstances will also hold on to the joy of his Salvation!
TEMPTATION TO DO EVIL
In James 1:14-16, we see a second type of temptation. This attack is a strong forward attack that entices the Believer to commit an act of sin. The problem stems from what is still in the heart of the Believer. Some Believers are taught that after Salvation, we are perfect. Not so! The only perfection ascribed to the Believer is the Perfection of Christ imputed to the Believer’s account. It is true that we are dramatically internally changed and transformed by the “Born-again” experience. If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation! However, some issues of the human heart remain. I believe that God allows these to remain for disciplinary purposes. He wants and expects us to have Victory through what He has provided for us in Christ through Calvary. Therefore, some sinful bents are instantly removed at Salvation, while others are not. We must learn to rely exclusively on Christ, trusting that what He did for us on Calvary is enough to break and remove any sinful bent within us! This too is a fight of Faith. We are to believe that our union with Christ has broken the power of sin’s grip on our hearts. We are to reinforce this truth, buttressing our Faith through the Word of God that tells us this is so.
According to Romans 6:11 we are to reckon ourselves to be dead indeed unto sin (whatever “bent” of the human heart is manifesting) and alive to God (open to the working of the Holy Spirit) which will set us free from sin’s sway. We learn this as truth! We believe this is truth. We reinforce this truth through the written and spoken Word of God! Then, we rest in this truth. We cease from our labors and attempts to overcome sin. Instead we labor to enter into rest. We “sit down” with Christ by Faith and trust that His Power will eliminate the enemy within. Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit saith the Lord of Hosts! This is the true fight of Faith.
If sin continues to dominate or control us, stealing victory from us, the danger that it will lead to faithlessness is great! So many people have just given up and walked away. God holds no man in His Hand against his will. You can walk out of that Omnipotent Hand if you so desire. Once doubt and unbelief has run its ruinous course through the faith in your heart, your soul stands in peril. But, I brethren, think better things of you. Believe to the end and you will receive the Crown of Life. Believe in what Jesus has done for us at Calvary, regardless of trials by circumstances or trials of the heart, and you will have abundant life now! Fight the good fight of Faith! Press on! Keep believing! If you don’t quit, neither will He!
Dec 27, 2011...
I so appreciate these words I just read from Pastor Loren. I have so struggled with pornagraphy, but love the Lord with all my heart. The evil desire to look at porn must still be in my heart, even though I don’t want to look. The pull/draw is sooooo aluring, I get captured time and again. But, I never give up, as I repent, and ask my Lord for forgiveness. The words that I read from Pastor Loren have just made a whole lot of sense, coupled with Pastor Jimmy’s June of 1985 classic sermon in Canada, and how evil porn can be, and how powerful it can be over the person. He spoke of the chemicals within our body that get released to the brain in such a way that it is exponetially more powerful than someone addicted to heroin, or cocaine, and I can attest to that, because I was addicted to cocaine for about 12 years, was an alcholic since I was about 11 or 12 yrs old, and I was a smoker of about a pack and a half of cigs for about 37 yrs, and those things are gone, but the porn addiction has remained. I have been associated to porn since I was approximately 10 yrs old, and I am 57 yrs old now. I don’t want the Lord to leave me, as I love Him so, and I know I must truly walk away from this stuff, but as you can see, I have struggled. I am a media church member, and I would love it if there was a church up here (WA state) that preached the Cross. That way I would have folks to be around who believe as I do. It is lonely, but I am so thankful for SLN, and JSM. Lord bless y’all, and thanks for the words above Pastor Loren. Maybe someone could send me an email in response, and allow me to interact with those who Preach and believe in the Message of The Cross. Thanks, Jim