Friday, January 31, 2014

James 1:9-11

9 Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation, 10 but the rich in his humiliation, because as a flower of the field he will pass away. 11 For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits.

The Apostle James begins here by declaring the lowly brothers exaltation. Now the word James uses here means: humble, lowly, insignificant, weak, poor, abased, afflicted, "bowed down" etc. And here is specifically addressing a social order that is by default contrary to the Kingdom of God, and that is the exaltation of the rich, the strong, the powerful, the mighty etc. Essentially all the attributes and traits that this world admires, honor's, exalts and exonerates. The so called "self made man" whose current state of affairs garners him much worldly admiration and approval, but in reality has only blinded him to his own poverty and true wretchedness (consider Rev. 3:17-20).

And so James says let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation, not because he has exalted himself, no that's the worldly rich mans game, to think so highly of himself and his wealth (consider Prov. 18:11). Rather the Scripture says let the lowly brother or sister glory in their exaltation, because it is the Lord Himself who has exalted him (Luke 1:52). While the rich man is too glory in his humiliation (lit. "reduction"), because as James says here the rich as a flower of the field will pass away, (for his wealth and stature is ultimately transient) and so he will, as James says here, simply fade away in his pursuits (vs. 10, 12). Just as the rich young ruler did who having initially and joyfully sought Jesus, tragically forsakes Christ's call on his life because he wanted to keep his wealth and stature in this life. And thus he is never heard from again. While for the rich man who comes to Christ and forsakes his worldly privileges, treasures and pursuits etc. and instead takes up his cross for the Kingdom of heavens sake and follows Christ there is much for him to glory in and look forward too (consider Jeremiah 9:23-24; Matt 19:27-30; antithesis Psalm 73:12). For though he has been "reduced" in this life, he is going to be highly exalted in the next! And so as James says here let him glory in his humiliation, for he has enduring riches and honor awaiting him. But for the rich man who keeps his life in this life, there is nothing more for him to look forward too. For having sought his reward and place in this world, he will have it, but he will have no more afterwards (consider Mark 8:36-9:1; Luke 6:24-26). And so in the church it's not "the rich" we are to admire and honor. Rather as Jesus did when He looked upon the brethren and He saw down through the ages multitudes of brethren, who from every walk of life and background and culture would take up their own cross and follow Him, and thus would suffer hardships, rejection, persecution, even poverty for His Names sake, for the Gospels sake, He declared to them: “Blessed are you poor, For yours is the kingdom of God. 21 Blessed are you who hunger now, For you shall be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, For you shall laugh. 22 Blessed are you when men hate you, And when they exclude you, And revile you, and cast out your name as evil, For the Son of Man’s sake. 23 Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven, For in like manner their fathers did to the prophets." Luke 6:20-23

Now it's not wrong to be rich, many people down through the ages have come to believe in Jesus Christ who are rich, or as Christians have become rich, but being materially rich is never been, or to be the goal of the Gospel (consider Philippines 3:18-19; 1 Tim 6:5-11; 1 John 2:15-17). Therefore when the rich do come into the household of faith we are to welcome them and treat just as we do all brethren, but we are not too turn the church into place for ministering to them. For wealth and privilege has a very natural tendency to want too maintain itself, to maintain it's "elevated" status. And they yield the finical power to make that happen for themselves, if one yields to it. Therefore instead of showing partiality to them as James will touch on later, we should do as the Apostle Paul commanded when he said: 17 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. 18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, 19 storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life." 1 Tim. 6:17-19

I don't know where you are at today, but if you have not yet made the critical decision to receive the Lord Jesus Christ for yourself you can (John 1:14). By a simple prayer of faith asking Jesus to come into your heart and life to be your Lord and Savior He will. All you have to do is believe Him and receive Him as the Scriptures testifies of Him, and He will save you from your sins and the judgment to come. But not only that He will by His Spirit within you, both sanctify you and transform you making you into a new creation in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). With new Godly desires, passions and drive to both do, and pursue the will of God for you, which will lead into the abundant life Jesus promises to all who follow Him in faith (John 10:10). Therefore if you tired of the old empty and meaningless life come home to Christ, for He is waiting to receive you into His Kingdom, all He needs is for you to first unconditionally receive Him. Therefore simply pray something like this: Dear Lord Jesus I believe that you were crucified for my sins and that Your rose from the dead three days later so that I can have remission of them and have new and everlasting life by faith in You (John 3:16). Therefore I now invite You into my heart and life, to be my Lord and Savior, amen. If you have prayed to receive Jesus Christ believing that He is Lord, that He was crucified for your sins, and that He was raised from the dead the third day then you can be assured He has come into your heart and life, just as He promised when He said, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me." Rev. 3:20

Scripture Citations
The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982




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