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James 1:12 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
12 Blessed is the man who endures under trial; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love him.
which the Lord has promised to those who love him (James 1:12c)
James makes it clear about the crown of life the Lord has promised to those who love him. (τοῖς ἀγαπῶσιν αὐτόν tois agapōsin auton) Hence, we see the firm assurance of God to his followers. They do not fight the good fight in human imperfection, through a Satanic age and fallen world in hopelessness with a hollow, empty, blind faith. No, instead, they steadfastly endure with determination and resolve with the goal of eternal life under the Kingdom of God, having it in sight. The substantive participle “those loving” (ἀγαπῶσιν agapōsin) refers to a qualifying marker of all true believers. This qualifying statement of who receives the crown of life (eternal life) is clear. God makes this promise, not to the class of people seen as having the most extraordinary power and influence within a society, mainly because of their wealth or privilege. Instead, as we will see later in James’ letter, the crown of life belongs to those who evidence their faith and love of God through many kinds of works. (1 John 5:3; contrast with Romans 1:28-32) If one truly believes, he will be eager to buy out time from Satan’s world for personal Bible study, prepare for Christian meetings, and attend and participate in Christian gatherings. He will also be ready and enthusiastic to share his faith when the opportunity presents itself and making opportunities when he can, and helping those less fortunate than he. Why? First and foremost, the love of God and love of neighbor motivates him to do so, but also because trillions of years into eternal life, what will these mere 70-80 years mean? A true believer’s love for God will be an identifying mark of his whole life. God cannot lie. His word is sure, it is guaranteed that what he has “promised” (ἐπηγγείλατο epēggeilato), he will do.
This would have been an excellent source of encouragement for those believers going through their trials. We can see from the Scriptures that when God promises something, it is as good as done. In Genesis, God promised never to flood the entire earth again, and he never has since. God promised Abraham that he would have a son that would produce many nations, and he allowed Sarah to have Isaac. Numerous times in the Old Testament, God spoke through the prophets promising to send the Messiah into the world. That promise was fulfilled in the New Testament with Jesus Christ. God makes this promise to those that love him because he is in a relationship with them and is their Father. God is always faithful to his promises, and those who endure trials will indeed receive the crown of life. God allows the true believer’s trials because he knows that it will improve, develop, complete the believer if he endures these steadfastly, without grumbling, obediently, thanks to God, all the while showing great happiness and joy at his victory and his achievement down till death. – Romans 8:28; 1 Peter 5:10.