The Understanding of Endurance
James 1:3, “knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.”
The value of knowledge and understanding in any endeavor is tremendous. To endure we must understand the importance that trials play in our lives as Christians. “Endurance” is in fact one of the marks of true salvation.
The word “knowing” that is used here in verse 3 is from the Greek word ginosko and it carries with it the idea of the full understanding of something that is beyond just an understanding of facts. Often this only comes through personal experience.
As Christians we know from our own personal experience and from God’s Word “that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” When we have endured suffering, afflictions, or trials, we then discover that our trust is not only intact but often it is stronger than before.
The word “testing” is translated from the Greek word dokimion, it is very similar to the word for trials, both words carry much the same meaning. Both have the idea of testing something to see or to prove its worth or to discover whether it is valid.
The word “endurance” is translated from the Greek word hupmone and it was frequently translated as patience. This is translated to mean something that is more a product or consequence of something. So, patience leads to the product of “endurance” through faithfulness in trials. Being patient during difficulties produces endurance. Trusting God and His Word develops in us endurance. Patience is needed during the trial and only as long as you are going through the trial. “Endurance” however, is a permanent inner quality of strength. Your endurance increases each time you patiently go through a trial.
David understood endurance. In Psalm 40:1-2 he wrote, “I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.” Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” The Lord does not allow His children to face anything that we cannot, in His power and provision, endure. I think of every time in my life when I faced a temptation, God was always there and He always provided a way out, in His power and His provision.
What is it that we must understand then about “endurance”? We must understand that if we are saved, we will always be saved. We are not going to “lose” God. This is also called the eternal security or the perseverance of the saints. You see, no person who comes to God in saving faith will ever be separated from Him. There are three reasons for this. First, we are secure because of the power of God. IF you believe that you can lose your salvation then you do not believe in a very powerful God. John 10:27-28 says, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.” In John 6:39 Jesus said, “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.”
Secondly, we are secure because of the promise and prayers of Christ. In John 17:12 in the High Priestly Prayer Jesus prayed, “While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled.”
Thirdly, we are secure because of the presence of the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 1:13-14 says, “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation – having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.” Ephesians 4:30 says, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
Eternal security enables the believer to endure and persevere. In Matthew 24:13 Jesus said, “But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.” Saving faith is a permanent faith. “Endurance” or perseverance is a way by which the security of salvation is manifested. On the other hand, if a person renounces their faith in Jesus Christ, they were never saved to begin with. 1 John 2:19 says, “They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that if would be shown that they all are not of us.”
“Endurance” is inseparable from holiness. This means that the person who claims to be a Christian and yet consistently lives an immoral and unspiritual life cannot possibly endure because they do not belong to God, they do not therefore enjoy His protection, and they have no desire to endure anyway. They are lost. We endure because we are saved. We are not saved because we endure. Trials while undeniably unpleasant, produce in us the increasing strength to endure to the end.