James 5:7-12 Be Patient And Persevere.

James wrote, “therefore be patient,” because he just finished writing that the actions of some rich who were denying the wages of their labourers, had “reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth” (or hosts) (5:4). In other words, using anthropomorphic language, speaking of the ears of the Lord, his readers could be patient because there will come a moment when judgment will fall from the Lord of hosts. This patience is like that of a farmer who waits for the early and latter rain, that they might obtain a bountiful harvest (v. 7). This knowledge should be ample grounds for his readers to establish their hearts, that is, establish them to their core (v. 8a). What is also interesting about these verses is the fact that James qualifies what he meant by “the last days,” indicating that the coming of the Lord he is writing about “is at hand,” or “has drawn near” (v. 8b and NGSB p. 1965).

Given that this coming of the Lord in judgment is at hand, James warns his readers to “not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned.” Again he makes the point of it being at hand. “Behold, the Judge is standing at the door” (v. 9). Therefore it is clear that “the last days” must refer to the last days of the old covenant era. Peter was convinced this was the case, because he saw those days, and in particular the phenomena of the outpouring of the Spirit and speaking in other languages, as being fulfilled with the activity at Pentecost (Acts 2:14-21). The writer to the Hebrews also placed the emphasis of the final revelation in Christ as the time of the “last days” (Heb. 1:1-4). In addition to admonishing his readers to be patient, he also adds that they also should not “grumble against one another,” again for fear of condemnation because “the Judge is standing at the door” (v. 9).

James notes a couple of examples that we all can follow with respect to “suffering and patience,” where we are being wrongly treated and where we need to know that the Lord will one day judge all (v. 10b). One example is the prophets, “who spoke in the name of the Lord” (v. 10a). So they suffered because they were ambassadors for the Lord, declaring His word. James is able to write that, “indeed we count them blessed who endure,” because Jesus Himself taught this (Cf. Mt. 5:10-12). Those who do the will of God live life in the promise of vengeance and life eternal in the Lord (Cf. 1:12). This leads James to refer to the example of Job, who persevered because he understood that “the Lord is very compassionate and merciful” (v. 11 Cf. Job 1:21-22; 2:10; 42:10). But James, again repeating what was taught by the Lord Himself, wrote that above all we must let our ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and our ‘no’ be ‘no’ (v. 12 Cf. Mt. 5:34-37).

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