THE BOOK OF JAMES
CHAPTER FIVE (5:13-18)
(5:1-12 studied as part of Chapter Four)

"The Six Tests of Faith"
based on an outline by D. Edmond Hiebert, found in "The Unifying Theme of the Epistle of James," Bibliotheca Sacra Vol 135, #539

J. Deering, AncientPath.net


TEST NUMBER SIX: James 5:13-18
"FAITH TESTED BY ITS RESORT TO PRAYER"
 

13  Is anyone among you suffering? Let (Imperative: You, do not hinder ... ) him pray. 

Will God ease your suffering if you pray? Verse 10 gives the answer. Suffering and patience those who endure will be called blessed. Job regained his life, but also lost his family and his former way of life. God has his purposes, prayer is part of His purposes for your life you are commanded to pray! Remembering that there are three possible answers to every prayer: YES, NO, NOT NOW. " the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful." James 5:10b 

Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing (Imperative: You, do not hinder him from singing ... ) praises. 

The antithesis of being sick and sorrowful where the answer is found in prayer. When the heart is cheerful the answer is found in singing praises to Him. It's easy to sing praises when you are cheerful, but make sure that your praises in song are to HIM. 

14  Is anyone among you sick? Let him call (You, do not hinder him from calling ... ) for the elders of the church, and let them pray (Imperative: You, do not hinder them from praying ... ) over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; 15  and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him.

16  Therefore, confess (Imperative: You, CONFESS ... ) your sins to one another, and pray (Imperative: You, PRAY ... ) for one another, so that you may be healed. 

We're still in the Test of Faith as a resort to prayer. That's important to note because WHO you go to in times of trouble, heartache, pain, and sickness demonstrates your faith. Do you go to your neighbor, your psychologist, your doctor, and pour your heart out about this trouble? James says that the first place you should go it to PRAYER. 

Note that the process for calling upon the church elders for prayer and anointing is always ONLY at the request of the person who needs it. This process is not a process to get God to heal you. This is the process of demonstrating that God has the Authority and Power in your life, and that you are publicly demonstrating to God, that you are willing to be in complete submission to Him in this matter. 

Physical healing is not assured or promised through this process, only that the Lord will "Raise" you "Up" and forgive sins (fellowship not salvation) based upon YOUR FAITHFULNESS IN COMING TO HIM IN COMPLETE SUBMISSION. This is an inner-healing, a healing of relationship with God. You cannot force His hand through RITUAL.

AND REMEMBER: The confession of sins one to another should only be done between those who are RIGHTEOUS AND FRIENDS OF GOD. Gathering together and telling your sins to one another, in general, will only bring heart ache and pain, for the human heart is evil and desperately wicked. When the need arises to share in your confession to God the content of your sins, make sure that person is a trusted FRIEND OF GOD, like Abraham or Moses, not just anyone. There are those in the local church who are trustworthy and confidential and can pray for you and your sins. When you have the need, seek one of these. The process here, that James speak of, is that of true confession of your sins directly to God - and if you have the need to have a personal helper with that process, find a confidential, trusted, born-again, filled with the Holy Spirit, friend of God to share with - AND NO ONE ELSE! That is why James finishes the verse with the words that follow.

The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. 17  Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain; and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. 18  And he prayed again, and the sky poured rain, and the earth produced its fruit. 

19  My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth, and one turns him back, 20  let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death, and will cover a multitude of sins. 

James ends his epistle with words of assurance to the one who continues his journey with Christ in RIGHTEOUSNESS. Throughout the Old Testament great men of God have been called "Friends of God." This appellation (the giving of a name) only happens when these men had a FAITH THAT RESULTED IN RIGHTEOUSNESS. There are those who are righteous, just by being covered by the Blood of Jesus Christ, and there are those who are RIGHTEOUS because they not only are covered in the Blood of Jesus Christ, but LIVE A LIFE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS THROUGH FAITH. 

God can accomplish much through the life of one Righteous person, as James indicates with the reference to Elijah. So YOU: Live a life of Righteousness, Accomplish much through it, be a "Friend of God," and turn many sinners from the error of their ways, saving them from the second death, and covering over a multitude of your own sins because of your relationship to Him.


2012-11-23