“Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”
The Greek word for blessed is “makarios”meaning happy. In this context both the rich and the poor can be happy. God has provided happiness for all circumstances of life through the intake and application of Bible doctrine. Happiness is something you can have in prosperity or adversity. For the believer who is sharing the happiness of God no circumstance of life can remove it.
Perseveres comes from two Greek words meaning to abide under. It means to stay under the pressure, to endure the pressure, no matter how much it hurts. So enduring here means to endure under unpleasant circumstances. The unpleasant circumstances are categorized by the Greek word “peirasmos,” which means trial or testing to see what you have stored in your soul. This passage is saying that you can have happiness under the greatest pressures of life. Happiness is a condition of the soul and you can be very happy under great pressure. God has designed it this way for your life, if you are an advancing believer.
For once he has been approved is a reference to being tested for the purpose of approval. Here it is referring to someone who has passed the test. We will receive the crown of life refers to something which happens at the end of the Church Age, at the Judgment Seat of Christ. The reward is stated by the word crown, which is the Greek word “stefanos” sometimes used for a king’s crown but here it is used for a crown given to an athlete who wins an event at the games. The Crown of Life is given for the production of divine good. The production of divine good is motivated by a believer’s love for God under the filling of the Holy Spirit and through the application of Bible doctrine. All divine rewards are based upon a believer’s attitude toward God and His Word.
“Let no man say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.”
The Greek word for tempted is “peirazo.” whichmeans to solicit to evil. Here we have a person who is under the pressure, but this is the pressure of temptation, whether it is from the world system, the sin nature or the devil. It is not wrong to be tempted. It is wrong to say that you are being tempted by God. That would be a false statement. Because of the character of God, He cannot be tempted by evil and He never tempts anyone to commit evil. God is never the source of temptation or evil under any circumstances. Evil comes from Satan’s world system or from your own sin nature.
“But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.”
Temptation is personal and individual. No two people are alike and therefore no two people are tempted in the same way. Each one of us has his own lust pattern, with all of its variations. There are three sources of temptation, and because you are under temptation it does not mean that you have sinned. Temptation is never sin until volition has done something about it. If you become negative then you will find yourself under the power of the sin nature, which means you will produce sin.
The first source of temptation is called “the world” — Romans 12:2; 1 John 2:15-16. That brings up the issue: What is worldliness? Worldliness is not running around having a good time; it is not playing golf on Sunday; it is not sitting around with a bunch of people laughing; it is not ladies having make-up on their faces. Worldliness is dealt with as a principle in the Word of God. It is never something you do; it is always something you think. You do things on the basis of what you think. When you think anything is more important than Bible doctrine, then that is worldliness. Worldliness is a mental attitude.
The second source of temptation is the sin nature, mentioned in Romans 7:15 and in Galatians 5:16-21. Generally speaking most of our temptations come from source one or two, and sometimes a combination. There are three sources of temptation and one source of sin. The source of sin is the sin nature’s area of weakness. There is nothing wrong with being tempted but there is something wrong when you say yes to the temptation. When you succumb to the temptation that immediately puts you under the power of the sin nature, and then you express the sin through your area of weakness. It will fall into one of three categories: mental attitude sins, sins of the tongue, or overt sins. The only way you ever break out of the power of the sin nature is by means of Rebound - 1 John 1:9.
The Bible makes it very clear that we are going to continue to sin as long as we live on this earth. It is important to understand that we do not have a “license to sin.” But as long as you have a sin nature, and as long as you live in Satan’s world, there are going to be times when you are going to sin. The greatest issue in sinning is not overt sin but what goes on in the soul. You are going to have a sin nature until the day you die or until the Rapture, whichever occurs first. That means that as long as you live you are going to be tempted.
The third area of temptation is Satan — Matthew 4:1; James 4:7-8. Satan does not generally solicit people to evil. The cosmic system of Satan is evil but you have to remember that he is trying to produce perfect environment on the earth while he is the ruler of the earth. Therefore, the devil tempts you to become religious, to become legalistic. Religion is the devil’s ace trump and the devil tries to get you to be self-righteous and legalistic and anti-grace. Satan does not personally tempt many people.
“Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.
Then when lust has conceived means to become pregnant. The inevitable result of pregnancy is birth. When lust gets pregnant it bears a child called sin. What causes the pregnancy in lust? Volition! So, it means all categories of sin come out of lust. Once you have the sin, what does the sin do? Whenever you sin it is always considered death to God. Spiritual death means separation from God for all eternity. Temporal death means separation from God in time until a believer uses the Rebound Technique. It is called temporal death because it does not affect the believer’s eternal relationship with God, only his fellowship.
The first time man sinned he was dead to God. The woman sinned first and then the man sinned. They both did exactly the same thing; they ate the forbidden fruit. There was a difference, of course. Adam deliberately sinned; Eve was deceived. But there was lust. The woman longed for the fruit. Therefore she took it and ate the fruit. The longing was lust. Lust became pregnant and gave birth, and when she ate the fruit sin was born, and spiritual death was the result. (Ephesians 2:1; Romans 5:12; 6:23; Proverbs 14:12; Genesis 2:17; I Corinthians 15:22; Romans 8:6, 13; Ephesians 5:14; I Timothy 5:6; James 1:15; Revelation 3:1)
We have studied a number of mental attitude sins. They include arrogance, jealousy, bitterness, hatred and guilt, just to name a few. Remembering past sins is also mental and will normally cause the believer to get out of fellowship. Remembering past sins means that either we don’t believe God has blotted them out or we don’t feel they are blotted out. Remembering your sin after God has blotted it out causes discouragement and will often lead to guilt. Therefore, if we are feeling guilty about anything, we are out of fellowship and we are very unhappy.
As long as we carry guilt about anything that occurred in the past, we will never execute God’s plan for our lives. Guilt also produces self-recrimination or self-torture. And no one can torture you like you can. This torture comes in the form of self-pity. “I don’t feel forgiven”, “I’m being punished for my past failure”, “I’m a failure”, “I’m a loser”, “I’m worthless”, “I’ll never amount to a hill of beans for God”, blah, blah, blah. What are we doing? We’re emoting and we are thinking human viewpoint. (Philippians 2:5) Bitterness is another mental attitude sin that causes a lot of misery.
If you’re bitter, it’s probably because you haven’t recognized and dealt with the sin problem in your life. Therefore, you begin to blame others or even God for your miserable condition. All the time it’s your failure to isolate past sins, forget them and resume your spiritual growth. Remember: If you’re not advancing in your spiritual life, you are retreating. (Hebrews 12:15)
We must remember that even “great” believers in the Bible failed at some time during their lives. One reason they became great is that they learned to isolate their sins. When they confessed them, they knew that God had forgiven and forgotten them. Did they sit around and cry about it? No! They never looked back. They just picked up the pieces and moved forward by the grace of God. They didn’t allow past failure to hold them back in their service to the Lord.
“Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.”
Who is being deceived here? Believers are the ones James was referring to. The devil is a con-man and he is smarter than any human being. One way or another he can con you unless you know Bible doctrine. Your defense against him is Bible doctrine, resident and circulating in your soul. So the command to stop being deceived is a command to learn doctrine. Being deceived comes from the failure of the function of intake and application of doctrine. It means no accurate doctrine in the human spirit and no accurate doctrine in the soul. Our protection in the unseen Angelic Conflict comes from the daily intake of Bible doctrine. So, “stop being deceived” is the same as saying keep taking in Bible doctrine. There are two sides to the coin. “Study to show yourself approved unto God” is one side of the coin. Flip it over and it says, “Stop being deceived.” One is positive and one is negative.
Categories of believers who are going to be deceived:
The word beloved refers to very believer because they are in union with Christ and therefore God the Father loves them with the same amount of love that He has for His Son. Brethren means that every believer is in the family of God and will never get out of the family of God.