James 5:7-12 — The Error of Impatience

Introduction: The theme of James is avoiding the common errors in the faith. So far James has warned us not to fall into the following errors: The error of misunderstanding God’s purposes in trails, the error of not maintaining born again attitudes, the error of partiality, the error of a dead faith, the error of an uncontrolled and hurtful tongue, the error of lust that is fed by our friendship with the world, the error of pride, the error of willful disobedience, and the error of not understanding the end of the ungodly rich. In today’s passage James confronts us with the common error of impatience.

Proposition: As we wait for the Lord’s coming, we must be patient with others (James 5:7a).

Explanation: Discerning the Greek synonyms used by James that are translated as the word patience  in many translations:


 “The patient ability to bear up in all circumstances”

James 1:3-4 “Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”

James 5:11 “Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.”

Longsuffering – Makrothumesate

“A patient attitude toward others regardless of what they have done”

James 5:7-8  “Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.”


I. The examples placed before us that demonstrate patience:

 A.  The husbandman (vs.7-8)

• “Establish your heart” – Strengthen so as to stand firm – Unmovable-

• Pro 4:23 ‘Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”

 B.  The prophets (vs.10) Example – Jeremiah

 C.  Job (vs.11) Job 42:10b “And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also he the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.

 II. The warnings placed before us that try our patience:

 A. People try our patience (vs.9) —

  • Don’t hold grudges – grumble against other
  • The incentive – the judge – Jesus Christ is watching

“The warning is against the human tendency – when subjected to oppression and injustice – to give way to our vexations by unjustly lashing out against those near and dear to us” Hiebert p.301

 To walk in love with saints above
Will be a wondrous glory
To walk below with saints we know
Well, that’s another story

B. Pledges (commitments) try our patience (vs.12): Don’t swear (back up your word by making promises based on things of this earth or things in heaven).

  •  See Matt. 5:33-37 – An echo of the teaching of our Lord
  •  Be truthful – total honesty in speech – The incentive – condemnation

 “James has in view the self-serving attempt to hide the truth by appearing to appeal to God to establish the truth. Such duplicity is totally inconsistent with Christian honesty” (Hiebert p.308).

Psalm 15:1-5,  “LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.  He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.  In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the LORD. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not. He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved.”

  • Remember the context is about the LORD’S return.

– The Lord’s coming should be both a comfort and a concern to us.

 III. The nature of God placed before us that encourages our patience (vs.11c):

A.  God is pitiful – “intense inner yearnings of the heart”

Heb 4:15 For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

B.  God is merciful – Psalm 145:8 “The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.”

Conclusion: The LORD is coming, may He not only find us waiting patiently for Him but being patient with our brothers in Christ.


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