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God’s Word for You

James 5:9 Groaning

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Friday, August 28, 2020

9 Stop groaning against each other, brothers, so that you will not be judged. Look! The Judge is standing at the door.

“Groaning” is a word that comes up out of emotions of pain and grief. Paul describes “groans that words cannot express” that come from the Holy Spirit when he prays for us to the Father out of compassion for us (Romans 8:26). The Spirit dwells in us and is intimately aware of our individual pains. The groans of the Jews enslaved to Pharaoh were heard by God (Acts 7:34), and also the groans of those enslaved in Babylon (Lamentations 1:22). God still hears the groans of Christians waiting for the redemption of our bodies in the resurrection (Romans 8:23).

James coaches us not to lay our groans at one another’s feet, as if someone else is responsible for everything from my public and private sins to my secret unhappiness. It is unreasonable and unchristian to blame each other for our troubles. So many of us hurt one another as we simply go about our business that the older we get, the more we appreciate seemingly simple things like traffic laws and generally accepted politeness. James wants each of us to think: What would Christ our Judge think if he came now, today, only to find each of us grumbling and complaining about one another?

On the one hand, we are grateful that our sins, even these sins, are covered by the blood of Jesus shed on the painful cross of our punishment. When we are called home to heaven and our flesh rises from the grave, “gladness and joy will overtake us, and sorrow and groaning will fly away” (Isaiah 35:10).

On the other hand, we also live today under the careful coaching of James. We live eager to show our trust in Christ with our lives. I want to give myself up, to give myself over to him, so that my passions and imperfections are erased, and I become more and more like him day by day. Let this be how I show my faith: That he must become greater; I must become less (John 3:30).

  Sun and moon shall darkened be;
  Stars shall fall, the heav’ns flee.
  Christ will then like lightning shine;
  All will see his glorious sign.
  All will then the trumpet hear;
  All will see the judge appear.
  You by all will be confessed,
  God in man made manifest.

  Grant us grace to see you Lord,
  Mirrored in your holy word.
  May our lives and all we do
  Imitate and honor you
  That we all like you may be
  At your great epiphany
  And may praise you, ever blest,
  God in man made manifest. (Christian Worship 82:4-5)

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim Smith

About Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.


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