Patience and Judgment

Patience and JudgmentText: James 5:1-12

This lesson is the ninth in a series on the book of James. In this passage, James explained how we are to show fairness to others and patience in all things since we will be judged by the Lord.

Show Justice toward Others (v. 1-6)

  • James began this section by returning to a topic he discussed previously – the rich and poor (cf. 1:10)
  • He reminded the rich that their riches were temporary (v. 2-3; cf. Proverbs 23:4-5) – understanding this is essential to treating others fairly; we are not to judge people by possessions (Luke 12:15)
  • Those who are rich sometimes cheat or take advantage of the poor (v. 4-6), or any of a “lower” class – life is not about what WE can get out of it (v. 5); gaining the “whole world” profits us nothing (Matthew 16:26); even if we get away with wronging others in this life (v. 6), God knows (v. 4); He will judge righteously (cf. 2 Thessalonians 1:5-7)

Patiently Wait for the Lord (v. 7-8)

  • We are to patiently wait for the return of Christ (v. 7) – promises are inherited through patience (Hebrews 6:12); His reward is far greater than anything in life (Matthew 16:26)
  • James drew a parallel with the farmer (v. 7) – through diligence, patience, and God’s blessing, he makes a living
  • You too…” (v. 8) – there is a spiritual application to be made (diligence, patience, God’s blessing, eternal life); patiently wait for the Lord to return and reward us; “near” (v. 8; cf. Revelation 22:20; Matthew 24:36, 42)

Patiently Endure Sufferings (v. 9-11)

  • We are not to complain about others (v. 9) – annoyance/displeasure over some inconvenience/harm; we do not want that standard of judgment used against us (cf. Matthew 7:1)
  • Remember the examples of the prophets and Job (v. 10-11) – they suffered, yet they endured; no matter what suffering/persecution/opposition we endure, we must remain faithful (Revelation 2:10)
  • The Lord is full of compassion and is merciful” (v. 11) – message of Job (Job 42:12); we may suffer in this life, but God will make it right if we are faithful to Him (1 Peter 1:6-9)

Be Blameless in Speech (v. 12)

  • This last point may seem somewhat unrelated, but it continues in the theme of judgment
  • We must be careful with what we say – do not swear (cf. Matthew 5:33-37); we are to consistently say what is true and keep our word (Ephesians 4:25); this will make oaths unnecessary
  • God will hold us accountable for the words that we use (cf. Matthew 12:36-37) – let us not allow our words to condemn us


  • We must guard against the temptation to judge ourselves and others based upon our possessions
  • Instead, we need to recognize that God is over all and will judge all of us fairly
  • Let us show patience in all things – enduring hardships and waiting for the Lord to return

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