Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
Here, James is wrapping up his discourse on trials for the time being. After this, he takes off in another direction which we will explore later. At this point, the use of the word “temptation” is still referring to the idea of trials or testings; he will, as we will see, later change to a differing use of the word.
The crown referred to here is a crown such as the victor in an athletic contest would win for his feats of athletics. So, what is James telling us here? First, let’s discuss what he is NOT telling us.
In light of the overall context of this passage, it is clear James is not telling us that eternal life, or a crown of life or salvation is the reward for enduring the tests and trials of life. James was speaking to people who were already believers. So, we do not earn our salvation by enduring.
On the other hand, endurance of life’s tests and trial is clear evidence of our salvation and relationship with God. The worldly man is likely to cave in and be defeated by these tests, but the man of God has the power of the Holy Spirit in him to persevere and endure them.
However, even among believers, not all will truly show this evidence of their relationship with God. Even believers can cave in and become defeated. James is simply teaching us that there is a special reward on the future for those who trust in God through whatever life may toss at them.