for submission by 25 February 2014
(a) James 1.3: List the different ways in which the trying of faith produces patience (i.e.: perseverance/endurance).
Genuine faith is always tested. For example, when God called Abraham to live by faith, he tested him in order to increase his faith. According to James chapter 1, God always tests us to bring out our best and Satan tempts us to bring out our worst. In essence, the testing of our faith proves that we are truly born again.
1 Peter 1:7 states that, “the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes”. God’s approval of our faith is precious because it assures us that our faith is genuine. Therefore, trials work for us believers and not against us. Paul reminds us of that in Romans 8:28, “All things work together for good”.
This patience is not merely passive acceptance of the circumstances but rather a courageous perseverance in the face of suffering and difficulty. The immature person is always impatient while the mature believer is patient and persistent.
Typically, unbelief and impatience go together just as faith and patience do. Therefore, God desires to make us patient because this is the key to every other blessing. A little child who does not learn patience, will not learn much of anything else.
Again, scripture teaches us that Abraham ran ahead of the Lord, married Hagar, and brought great sorrow into his home (Genesis 16). Moses was impatient and murdered a man, and had to spend 40 years with the sheep to learn patience (Exodus 2), and even Peter almost killed a man in his impatience (John 18).
We must note that:
1. The patience and longsuffering of God is related to His lovingkindness and truth, Psalm 86:15.
2. Patience and longsuffering is also related to the compassion of our Lord (Psalm 103:8). Therefore, a believer who has the patience and the longsuffering of God will be very compassionate.
3. Patience and longsuffering is also related to the power or omnipotence of God (Nahum 1:3).
4. The patience and longsuffering of God is related to the matter of repentance (Romans 2:4).
5. The patience and longsuffering of God is related to the Lord’s tolerance and endurance with us (1 Timothy 1:16).
The only way the Lord can develop patience and character in our lives is through trials. Endurance cannot be attained by reading a book, taking a seminary class, or by listening to sermons. We may need to go through difficulties in life, such as illness, loneliness, unemployment, interpersonal problems, so that we can trust God to resolve the trial, and obey him until he brings about this resolution. The result will be patience, character, and Christian maturity.
(b) James 1.4: The Christian life has a number of sanctification objectives, and none should be omitted. What are these objectives?
There are three major sanctification objectives.
First, immediate sanctification refers to the sanctification of one’s spirit the moment they are regenerated. In order for the Holy Spirit to be united with the person who exercises faith in Christ, the believer’s sinful, fallen spirit must be made holy. This means that when a person is regenerated, the spirit is sanctified (Rom. 8:10). According to scripture this is an instantaneous and final transaction.
Therefore, it appears that when a person is regenerated, the human spirit is cleansed and made holy. Man can contribute no more to the sanctification of his spirit than he can to his own redemption—which is nothing; it is entirely of God. Because this occurs at the moment of regeneration, it is referred to as “immediate sanctification.”
Secondly, progressive sanctification is the process of God sanctifying the mind and heart over the course of the Christian life. This second aspect of sanctification is not…