The Perfect Work Of Patience

Do you have patience? Patience is forbearance, having a longsuffering attitude. James speaks of this patience in his epistle, chapter 1:3, 4. There he writes, "Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing."

Here, instead of the word "temptation," he uses the word "trying," or, if you will, the "proving" of our faith. That is what temptations do. They prove that we have faith, or are not living by faith. Our God reveals to us our faith through temptations. He purifies us, even as pointed out yesterday, as silver is purified by fire.

That is how we should evaluate and understand the temptations that according to God's counsel come upon us. No, God does not tempt us in the sense that Satan and his host do. Satan tries to get us to sin. Our God uses temptations to strengthen us in our faith and enable us to flee from sin. All our temptations were eternally decreed by God. Nothing happens that is not in His eternal counsel. But, as James writes, the trying of our faith worketh patience. Temptations by God's grace strengthen us in our faith, as He gives us the ability to refuse to do what we are tempted by Satan to do.

In verse 13 James tells us that God does not tempt us; but the point here is that God uses temptations by the devil and ungodly to make us stronger in our faith by fighting against these temptations.

Consider once that if Satan had not tempted Adam, we would be in a very beautiful creation. But we would not be in that more blessed kingdom which Christ by His cross earned for us. We need temptations so that we may become more perfect and stronger in our faith.

Read: Psalm 66

Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:

1 Kings 18:1-46 
Acts 11:1-30 
Psalm 135:1-21 
Proverbs 17:12-13

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Quote for Reflection:
"This work of conversion is most beautifully and accurately described in the Canons of Dordrecht, III, IV, 10-12, part of which we already quoted before. In Article 10 we read: "But that others who are called by the gospel, obey the call, and are converted, is not to be ascribed to the proper exercise of free will, whereby one distinguishes himself above others, equally furnished with grace sufficient for faith and conversations, as the proud heresy of Pelagius maintains; but it must be wholly ascribed to God, who as he has chosen his own from eternity in Christ, so he confers upon them faith and repentance, rescues them from the power of darkness, and translates them in to the kingdom of his own Son, that they may show forth the praises of him, who hath called them out of darkness into his marvelous light; and may glory not in themselves, but in the Lord, according to the testimony of the apostles in various places." We may note here that the article ascribes the whole of conversation to God. There is nothing of man in it. To say that conversion is the work of man, or partly the work of man, is Pelagianism. We may note that while the article emphatically speaks of conversion as the work of God, nevertheless also speaks of the fruit of that work in us, the fruit being the same as the purpose for which God works conversion in His people, namely, that they may show forth the praises of Him who hath called them out of darkness into His marvelous light, and may glory not in themselves, but in the Lord. Further, it is also evident from this article that this work of conversion by God is rooted in, or based upon, eternal election. God chose them whom He converts. And none but the elect are ever converted. It is a work of God's sovereign grace, bestowed only upon those whom He has chosen in Christ. It consists in this, that God bestows upon His elect both faith and repentance, and that He translates them from the power of darkness into the kingdom of His dear Son.  An Excerpt from "The Triple Knowledge"  in Lord's Day 33 by Rev. Herman Hoeksema

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