The following is from OBC’s daily devotional for today:
In verses 1-12 James encourages Christians who experienced pressure and persecution from unbelieving wealthy landowners. James wrote this for Christians to hear and not so much for their persecutors (OT prophets spoke of God’s judgment on ungodly nations oppressing Israel to encourage Israel that God would judge such). Also, verse 12 begins with “therefore…,” showing that verses 1-6 was written for James’ Christian readers.
In verses 1-6 James helps Christians see their situation from God’s perspective: He will completely ruin ungodly oppressors (vv. 1-3) as he sees all their deeds (vv. 4-6). In verses 7-12 James encourages Christians to persevere in the faith.
Those who have a living faith must look to the Lord in every circumstance of life (vv. 13-18). The “anointing with oil” (v. 14) could refer to medicine; it does not refer to a church sacrament; it was most likely done as a symbolic act, showing that the church really prayed for the sick Christian.
James closes his letter urging Christians to help, strength, and rescue doubting, wandering Christians with weak faith (vv. 19-20).
Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On
- Faith is not a leap in the dark or just “believing.” True, living faith knows, loves, and submits to God’s truth in the Bible.
- A living faith believes that Jesus is coming again (vv. 7-8). Such faith is eager and patient, knowing that when Christ returns he will justly judge evil doers and establish his people.
- God “works” when godly Christians truly believe in and depend on him through prayer (vv. 16-18). Don’t let sin affect your relationship with other Christians, live a godly life, and pray!
- Christians are responsible for one another’s perseverance in the faith (vv. 19-20). God uses such efforts to help believers continue in the faith and thus avoid eternity in hell. How are you involved in your brothers’ and sisters’ lives?