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James 1:10-12 by Robert Dean
Series:James (1998)
Duration:1 hr 1 mins 53 secs

Grace Orientation and Inner Happiness; James 1:10-12

NASB "and the rich man {is to glory} in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass; and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed; so too the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away. Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which {the Lord} has promised to those who love Him."

"because like the flower of the grass, it will pass away" is the correct translation. What we have here in the first phrase is the flower of the grass—ANTHOS CHROTOU [a)nqoj xrotou]. The second word is the genitive noun of CHORTOS [xortoj] which means "grass"; ANTHOS means flower. We have a picture of grass, and out from the grass comes a flower. The grass represents your logistical grace blessings, the basics in life. These you possess because of the perfect righteousness of Christ. The flower represents the beautiful extras that you don't anticipate in life, all of the details of life that God is blessing you with. Then we have the verb PARELEUSETAI [pareleusetai] which is the future middle indicative, third person singular—3rd person singular=he, she, or it. This is not talking about the passing away of the rich man, it says "it will pass away." "It" refers back to the flower of the grass. In other words, at some point in time all of a sudden all of those details in life are going to disappear; those details in life that you are tempted to put your hope and focus on for your happiness.

Then there is the illustration in verse 11: "For the sun rises with a scorching wind." This is adversity in life. All kinds of things can come up and they are like the scorching wind that destroys everything under it. Notice it doesn't kill the grass, it just withers it. The flower falls off and even the logistical grace blessings begin to dry up. You still have logistical grace but it is withered up. In the analogy, "so too the rich man [wealth] in the midst of his [its] pursuits will fade away." This is not talking about the rich man fading away, it is the wealth that he has, that excess. It is not talking about the destruction of the wealthy man, it is the loss of his details of life. All of a sudden, just like the sun that rose up and blew away the flower of the grass, so to there was economic tragedy and the wealthy person lost those details of life that were distracting him from doctrine. So we have to understand at the conclusion here the importance of grace orientation.

Throughout life we are going to face various attacks upon our souls. Those attacks come under the categories of adversity and prosperity. As adversity attacks the soul when the soul is under the control of the sin nature the result is stress in the soul. Remember that adversity happens to everybody but stress is optional. Adversity is the outside pressure of the circumstances on the soul; stress is the internal pressure that comes from the soul that is the result of yielding to the temptation of the sin nature. The solutions are the stress-busters or problem-solving devices. The tens stress-busters: confession, the filling of the Holy Spirit, the faith-rest drill, doctrinal orientation, grace orientation, personal sense of eternal destiny, personal love for God the Father, unconditional love for all mankind, inner happiness, occupation with Christ. As we begin to learn doctrine it begins to flow through these categories. It erects a fortification around the soul that protects it from adversity. As we begin to learn the Word of God then we extrapolate all of these different principles.

Grace orientation

1)  There are two categories of grace in God's policy for mankind. Category # 1 grace is extended to the believer through the saving work of Christ on the cross, Ephesians 2:8, 9. Category # 2 God's grace is extended to the believer through God's plan for the believer's life in the church age. We must align ourselves to the right age in history. Remember, the dispensations are specific periods of time in God's plan for His administration of the human race. The basic divider is the cross. In the Old Testament there were two basic periods, the Gentiles and the Jews/Israel. The age of Israel ended prematurely when Jesus Christ came and died upon the cross. Forty days after that at Pentecost was the beginning of the church age, the unique age of human history. During the church age we have a unique spiritual life that was pioneered by Jesus Christ during His life on the earth, and it is empowered by two means, God the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. The church age will end when Jesus Christ comes in the clouds and raptures the church to be in heaven. That is followed by seven years, the last seven years of the age of Israel—seven years of tribulation, Satan's big temper tantrum—and that ends when Jesus Christ returns bodily to the earth and wins a victory over Satan, the Antichrist and the false prophet at Armageddon. That is the Second Advent and it begins the one thousand-year reign of Jesus Christ on the earth. So the spiritual life in the church age is the unique life based upon the Holy Spirit. It is not based upon morality.

2)  Category # 1, saving grace, is the defined as all that God is free to do for mankind on the basis of the saving work of Christ on the cross. All grace is ultimately grounded in one event in human history: the cross of Christ. All the Old Testament grace of God towards Adam and Eve after the fall, to the various people who lived in the antediluvian period, to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, the Exodus generation, was based on what would happen at the cross. It anticipated the cross. In God's plan He knew what would happen and so on the basis of Christ's provision God's grace was extended antecedently. When Jesus said "It is finished" on the cross, that means that nothing can be added to salvation. Saving grace, therefore, is totally of God and has nothing to do with human merit, human works, religious activities, or any of the other things that people think will impress God or gain His approbation.

3)  Category # 2, post-salvation grace, is all that God is free to do for the believer on the basis of God's plan for the believer's life. Post-salvation grace is divorced from any system of human works, human merit, human ability, human behaviour, talent, emotion or power. It is not up to us; it is not based on us. God's plan is not going to proceed or fail on the basis of who and what we are, it succeeds on the basis of who he is and what He has done. Grace is the function of the attributes of God on behalf of every church age believer as a member of the royal family of God.

4)  Under the divine policy of grace everything depends on who God is and what Jesus Christ did on the cross, never, in even the least little bit, on who you are and what you do.

5)  Under this divine policy of grace God has found a way to bless the worst of all believers as well as the best without any compromise of His attributes. That is what we call logistical grace.

6)  Therefore the beginning point for orientation to both saving grace for the unbeliever and post-salvation grace for the believer is humility—realizing who you are in all honesty. Romans 12:3 NASB "…I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think…" This is not a false humility that runs one's self down but a true humility that looks honestly at yourself.

7)  Grace is all that God is free to do for each believer and be consistent with His own divine attributes.

8)  The integrity of God is composed of the perfect and eternal justice of God, the perfect righteousness of God, and the immeasurable love of God. So we can say that what the righteousness of God demands the justice of God works out or supplies, motivated by the love of God and expressed through the grace of God. So then, what the righteousness of God rejects the justice of God condemns, but the love of God provides a solution as expressed through the grace of God. What the righteousness of God accepts the justice of God blesses, as motivated by the love of God and expressed through the grace of God.

9)  The pattern for grace is established at salvation and remains consistent with all post-salvation spiritual growth in the plan of God.

We have to align ourselves to grace orientation. Grace orientation begins by understanding salvation and the spiritual life. But that is only where it begins. Grace orientation goes on to extend to all of our human relationships and to provide the basis for unconditional love, because the unconditional love of God directed toward you in pre-salvation grace and post-salvation grace is based on His grace, His unconditional love expressed through grace. So we have to understand grace if we are going to have unconditional love for those people who are not very attractive to us, to people who hurt us, to people who have harmed us, to people we don't care too much about and are the kind of people we would not normally have anything to do with. But we can express unconditional love for them and we don't even have to know them very well. Love is always based on knowledge but we can have unconditional love because it is based upon the grace of God, who God is and what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross. Grace orientation, then, becomes a building block for developing the more mature attitude of unconditional love for all mankind.

James 1:12 NASB "Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial [testing]; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which {the Lord} has promised to those who love Him." This idea of blessing is the Greek word MAKARIOS [makarioj]. It is a synonym of CHARA [xara] which is our word for joy in James 1:2. Here we have the dogmatic assertion that blessed or happy is the man who perseveres--this is HUPOMONE [u(pomonh] in the verb form—under testing. Happiness, the inner happiness of God, is not based on external circumstances but is based on the internal dynamics of doctrine that has been learned and assimilated into the soul and is the basis for our thinking and response to every situation in life. This is what MAKARIOS means. The true concept of biblical blessing is based on something that is solid and is immutable and can't ever change. To the degree that we base our happiness on something that changes, to that degree we make our happiness dependent on that object. If that object changes then our happiness changes; if that object goes away then our happiness goes away; if that object comes back our happiness comes back. So one day we are happy, the next day we are not. So we just go back and forth and are totally unstable because our happiness is not based on something that is immutable and unchanging; it is not on God. Biblically speaking, inner happiness is the result of putting our focus on God and not having a change.

It says here, "Blessed is," and there is no "is" in the original language. It just says, "Blessed [happy] the man." The word here for "man" is the Greek word ANER [a)nhr]. This is important. What we normally expect is ANTHROPOS [a)nqrwpoj]. Usually ANER refers to male instead of the female. Sometimes it refers to a human as opposed to an animal and sometimes it refers to an adult instead of a child. The latter is the focus here: "Blessed in the spiritual adult who perseveres under trial." The reason for focusing this on spiritual maturity is because understanding the dynamics of joy and happiness are not something the spiritual infant can understand. It takes time and a certain amount of doctrine in the soul before we begin to realize that we have to put our focus on Jesus Christ, on the plan of God, and the glory of God. When our focus is on that then our circumstances no longer are the issue, your happiness is based on something solid. So there is an element here that this word introduces that is maturity. Spiritual maturity comes as a result of endurance—HUPOMENO [u(pomenw]; MENO = to remain or stay; HUPO = under. That is the basic meaning. When life gets tough you hang in there, you stay under the pressure; you don't try to bail out of the situation. We try to opt out of the situation through the easy solution, which is usually to yield to the sin nature and try to handle it ourselves rather than by waiting on the Lord.