Summary: The imminency of Christ’s return should motivate us to remain steadfast in our faith.
The dictionary defines Imminent as “Coming or likely to happen very soon.” http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/imminent
James teaches us that the imminency of Christ’s return should motivate us to remain steadfast in our faith.
“Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.” (James 5:7–11, ESV)
There are three predominant commands that guide the thought of these verses.
Be Patient (5:7),
Establish your hearts (5:8b),
Do not grumble (5:9).
Mixed in with these three commands are three illustrations demonstrating that the Lord’s return is imminent, thus motivating believers to obey these commands. The illustrations are that of a farmer waiting patiently for rain (5:7), the Old Testament prophets who remained faithful to the Lord through persecution and suffering (5:10), and Job who also remained faithful through suffering (5:11).
Our study today will focus on how knowledge of the imminent return of Christ motiviates Christians today to obey these three commands.
Christ’s Imminent Return Motivates us to Remain Faithful in the Trials of Life. James 5:7-8a. The main command in these verses is “be patient.”
James is returning to his initial theme of trials. James 1:2
He returns to the theme of “steadfastness” that we saw in the opening of the book.
“for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:3–4, ESV)
“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12, ESV)
“But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” (James 1:25, ESV)
“My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.” (James 2:1, ESV)
“Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.” (James 5:11, ESV)
Here, “be patient” means to be “long tempered, ” to have a long fuse. James is encouraging these wavering Christians to think about the entire game and not quit in the third quarter because the opposition is tough. He encourages a marathon mentality toward life.