Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.
James had just finished speaking against the wealthy who were in rebellion against God. He then reminds his fellow believers, those who were suffering to be patient. To trust in the Lord and remain steadfast through the trials and thereby build up perseverance. The word used here for “patient” is the Greek word “makrothumeo” and it means to be patient with the actions of others. It means to be long-suffering, enduring the hardships. In this case it refers to remaining steadfast through the suffering caused by those who were mistreating them. James is telling them despite the persecution remain steadfast in the Lord. Just as James was telling the wicked wealthy that the Lord was coming soon, so too he reminds faithful believers that the Lord will soon return. But whereas the wicked will receive wrath, the faithful will receive redemption.
James in his discussion uses the example of the “early” and “latter” rains. In Israel the “early” rains fell in October and November. This softened the soil and allowed the farmers to plant their seeds. Then the “latter” rains would fall the following March and April in time to ripen the fields before harvest. The farmers had to wait patiently for the latter rains to come, in order to harvest their crops. James tells his readers in the same way we are waiting for the return of the Lord, who will punish the wicked and redeem those who follow God through Christ. Therefore, those who wait on the Lord will not be disappointed because Jesus is faithful to those He calls His own. And those who rebel against the Lord will not survive the day of wrath, because God is sovereign. Moreover, their wicked actions serve as a witness against them, thereby condemning those who have not accepted the grace of God through faith in Christ Jesus our Lord.