I am intrigued how James ends this letter that has focused so much on what we are to do in our faith.
So be patient, my brothers and sisters, for the appearing of the Lord. . . . the appearing of the Lord is near at hand. (5:7-8)
Three more times in four verses James uses the words “patient” or “patience.”
All letter long James has focused on our actions — all the while avoiding the legalism and self-reliance of the Judaizers — and at the end he closes by drawing the readers’ attention back to Jesus. And not just Jesus, but the return of Jesus to this world to set it right with judgment and re-creation.
Lest we turn the book of James into justification for salvation by works, he reminds us that the most important work of all comes solely from God, not us. All we can do is be patient as we wait for God through Christ to restore this world to the just, loving, and faithful kingdom it was meant to be. As we do faith and do love and do wisdom, James reminds us it is God’s role to do the redemption of this world and our very souls.