James Smith, 1860
"Blessed is the man who is patient under trial and stands up under temptation, for when he has stood the test and been approved, he will receive the crown of life which God has promised to those who love Him!" James 1:12 (Amplified Bible)
Trials are for time, and are intended to do us good. We do not, we cannot like them — but God has ordained them, our circumstances require them, and, if sanctified, our characters will be perfected by them. It is not every professor that will bear trying. Many faint and fall in the day of adversity. But the pure gold, the more it is tried, the brighter it shines — so the genuine Christian, the more he is tried, the more his excellency appears.
THE BELIEVER'S LOT.
To be tried.
Satan tries him . . .
by suggesting evil thoughts,
by soliciting him to commit sin, and
by misrepresenting God's nature, character, and Word.
Providence tries him . . .
by frustrating his plans,
by disappointing his hopes, and
sometimes by prospering his efforts.
Enemies try him, they persecute him for his consistency, or try to coax him to do evil.
Friends try him, sometimes by flattering him, and sometimes by forsaking him.
His own heart tries him, by its fickleness or falseness, and its corruptions.
Trials meet him from every quarter. Trials come upon
him almost constantly. "The Lord tries the righteous," and tries him
often severely, though always for good.
THE TRIED BELIEVER'S COMMENDATION
He endures trials. He is not carried away by it. He stands the test. Knowing that it is his lot below, he endures trials with patience, with resignation, persuaded that it ordained and overruled by God — and with anticipation, looking to the end, and expecting a glorious result. He is tried, and proved to be a genuine character, possessing precious faith, determined courage, and a divine nature. He holds fast by the word of God, he trusts in the promised grace of God, and so proves his saving relationship to God. He endures to the end, and according to the Savior's promise, he is saved.
He is blessed. Blessed by God his Father. Blessed in Christ. Blessed with Christ. Blessed like Christ. Blessed with grace from God. Blessed with union to God. Blessed with the assurance of being forever with the Lord.
"He shall receive a crown of life" He loves Jesus. Loves his person. Loves his word. Loves his people. Loves his ways. Loves him for his infinite love. Loves him for his perfect work. Loves him for his unparalleled loveliness.
A crown is promised to all such. A crown of life. A crown of glory. A crown of righteousness. It will be conferred on all who love the Savior. Grace devised it. Grace promised it. Grace will confer it. It is to adorn the believer, testify the Lord's approval, and be the reward of our labors and sufferings below.
Trial is the common lot of all professors. All will be put into the furnace for refinement. All will, sooner or later, be brought to the test. Many endure for a while, but in times of temptation fall away.
Trying times are testing times. Trials distinguish between the true and the false. When the gardener threshes, he separates the wheat from the chaff, the one lies at his feet, the other is carried away by the wind. So when God brings trials upon professors, those who are approved are made manifest, the rest fall away and disappear.
Enduring trial secures a blessing. It proves that
we are blessed, otherwise we would not stand the test. But it secures a
blessing too, the commendation of God now — and the crown of life
forever. Those who are blessed now, will be crowned at the end.
The righteous judge will award a crown unto all who love his appearing.
What a contrast:
rags will be exchanged for royal robes,
sighs will be exchanged for songs of triumph,
a dunghill will be exchanged for a throne, and
thorns will be exchanged for a diadem of glory.
Lost sinner, you are tried by the gospel. That . . .
tries whether you will believe God or not,
whether you will be reconciled to God or not,
whether you will accept of his mercy, or refuse to have him to reign over you.
The gospel brings you to the test, and by your
treatment of it, you show how you treat . . .
God who is its author,
the Lord Jesus who is its subject,
and the glory of God which is its end.
By your treatment of the gospel you will be judged!
If you neglect it, or despise it, or disbelieve it — you will be
punished, not only for breaking God's law — but for neglecting,
despising, and disbelieving God's most gracious and loving message to
you! Take heed, therefore, lest your hard and impenitent heart, lead you
to reject . . .
the only remedy for your misery,
the only method of salvation,
the only way of escape from the wrath to come
— for if you do, you perish eternally!