Brad Libolt continuing through the book of James. He spoke on James 1:12-15, focusing on the desires of our sin and the sacrifice of Christ. Knowing that Adam’s sin brought death into the world, but Jesus’ death brought life.
In the movie Act of Valor, there is a grenade that has the potential to kill many people. One guy jumps on the grenade and sacrifices himself to make sure the others get to live. This is a really sweet picture of the gospel. We all deserve to die, but Jesus died in our place so that we could have life and live eternally when our physical bodies die.
12 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.
Blessed means happy, and blessed is the man who stands strong under trial and remains steadfast.
Steadfastness is endurance, the ability to keep going even when circumstances are tough. When we are steadfast in the midst of our trials, the reward is the crown of life, which is eternal life. So if we stand the test, the trial, if we make it to the end, we will receive eternal life.
God has promised the crown of life to those who love him, so there is a direct connection between loving God and remaining steadfast under trial. We cannot withstand trials and testing unless we love God. And we cannot love God unless he first loved us, which he does. So it is God who gets us through trials, and once we are in Christ we can never be separate from him.
God gives us the ability to be steadfast, because he loves us, and if you truly love God you will endure trials and tests.
13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.
Some people won’t withstand the trials, because they don’t truly love God. And when they don’t endure, they will be tempted to blame God, but God isn’t the one tempting or testing his people.
God is in control of everything, and allows us to be tested just like he allowed Job to be tested, but he doesn’t directly tempt us. The Israelites also tried to blame God in the wilderness when they were being tested but in reality it was their own sin that was to blame.
14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.
James is saying that each person is not tempted by God or even Satan, but they are tempted by their own desires. This should make a lot of sense.
Think about the last time you sinned. There was something you desired, something your flesh wanted and you were tempted, but you knew it was sin. In that moment when you recognize that sinful desire, you have the choice to give in or say no. Paul talks about this tension a lot in Romans, and we talked about it last term.
Our flesh wants to sin, our flesh has desires, but our mind knows what is right. So we have a choice, are we going to choose the desires of our flesh, or choose to obey the spirit of God convicting us of what is right and wrong? This language is very sinister. Our desire is luring us, enticing us, tempting us to give in.
Think of freshly baked cookies right out of the oven. You can smell them, see them, and taste them in your mouth. They are enticing you, luring you in to get you to take a bite. That is what our desire does, it lures us in, entices us, looks, smells, and feels attractive and we want to give in, but we can’t! We are to fight that desire, to combat our flesh and we do that by knowing the promises of the gospel. When you fill yourself with God’s word, with the Spirit, prayer, worship, and anything that glorifies God, you are more enticed by the joy of obeying God rather than giving into your own desires. You should fill your senses with the joy of the Lord, and the sinful desires of your flesh will become less attractive.
15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
If we don’t fight this sin and combat this desire, then it will result in death. That is what sin produces, death. The wages of sin is death. Sin is evil and destructive, all it wants is to kill you. It wants to kill your body and your soul. It wants to utterly destroy you.
If we don’t fight our sin, it will. I know I have seen the destructive power of sin, and while I am still alive physically I have at times let my desire turn into sin, and when that sin is left unchecked death happens in my relationship with people and with God. The sole purpose of sin is to put you to death, and that is something we should take very seriously.
Romans 5:12, 18-19
12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned
18 Therefore as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.
Adam’s sin brought death into the world, but Jesus’ death brought life. The sin that is trying to kill you killed Jesus so you don’t have to die. Jesus took the punishment for sin, he let our sin destroy him, put him to death, so that we could receive the crown of life.
He took our place on the cross, letting sin take its full effect and kill him. He did that so you and I could be steadfast, so we could love God and endure through whatever trials come our way. He did that so we could receive the crown of life, and live in eternity with our father.
Sin causes a lot of death and destruction in our lives and in the lives around us, but sin doesn’t have the last word. Sin will be defeated, death will be no more, and we will have life eternal with our Creator.