THE RICH AND POOR LIVING FOR THE GLORY OF GOD
The rich and poor living for the glory of God
The Apostle James reminds his readers that God has chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith through Jesus Christ and heirs of the Kingdom which He has promised to them that love Him. It is true most true Christians around this world are poor. If I may when James says, to them that love Him this is very comforting to me because that is the main truth Jesus Christ desires to see in our lives.
James makes a deeper point that it is not even logical to despise the poor because rich people are the ones that tend to oppress you and take you to court. The Apostle also explains that they are in more of a position to slander you because they tend to have power in one way or another. James continues on the subject by urging his readers to fulfill the royal law that they should love thy neighbor as thyself. To put on love to the rich and poor is the answer to the question.
James reminds them that if you have respect to persons you are committing a sin. I have a feeling that something of this reality was happening so the Apostle wrote this to his readers.
Then James quotes one of the most popular verses by saying, "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." Let me quote the original text so you can read this passage and perhaps make reference to it in this particular study in the Bible.
(4) "Are you not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? (5) Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the Kingdom which He hath promised to them that love Him? (6) But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? (7) Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called? (8) If ye fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, ye do well: (9) But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. (10) For whosoever shall offend in one point, he is guilty of all." James 2: 4 - 10.
James tries to explain the gravity of this sin to his readers because some were engaging in this transgression. James was concerned that they would be partial in themselves and then he had a question for them which was have you not made a difference. This is a rare way to explain something but in that difference they were judging by a false rule and advancing in the situation with false measures. The respect of people is owing to the sin and injustice of thoughts because the next part says you have become judges of evil thoughts. A person that does this has unrealistic estimations which alters their opinions and was then invented to themselves. Outward hype can change in one day but inward grace will last forever. Rich men are seen when mercy should be the characteristic that is visible.
James mentions our evil thoughts because sin is never seen until the evil of our thoughts comes out in the form of a transgression against God. If we show respect of persons it is contrary to the will of God. If you judge those who are heirs of the kingdom you are against your brothers and sisters in Christ. Many of the poor in this world are chosen by God. In general those with external advantages do not have as much intrinsic worth as the poor but of course there are exceptions to this rule.
If you are poor in this world and rich in faith through the Person of Jesus Christ then you are in the will of God. What I am trying to say is the poorest may be the richest so why the discrimination. Remember there is time, talents and treasures. The rich is only under the category of treasures and the pastor better hope they are not cheap. Another point I would like to make is they may be far more prone to being stingy with their time and talents. It has been my experience that the poor is far more generous than the wealthy with their time and talents. Ideally the wealthy should be rich in giving and good works. The poor should be rich in their faith along with using their time and talents. They can not help with the expenses because --- no money. One more point in that everybody better be doing these things for God with the right motive. If Christians are doing tasks for the Lord with the wrong reasons involving self will rather than the will of God than it will be thrown out for all eternity.
If the rich or poor accepted Jesus Christ into their hearts they are both heirs to the kingdom of God. Both are in a position of divine love but the key is to love Jesus Christ through our faith and obedience in God. The Apostle James tells us in James 1:12 that there is a crown of life for Christians who engage in this practice throughout their life. We serve an everlasting God who directs an everlasting kingdom so isn't it pretty obvious that riches will fade away and die. If we respect the rich over the poor this sin in light of all the facts will make us look foolish because it will bring us down. We as Christians will not be honoring the worthy name of Jesus Christ.
We need to love our neighbors whether they be rich or poor as ourselves because we are to have constant regard for this rule. This is a lifestyle. This is written in the Bible but the real question is it settled in our hearts? This is coming straight from the King of Kings because it is a royal law. It should be honored without partiality because our judgment before Jesus Christ will be impartial. The rich person will not be able to help us at the judgment seat.
As I look back on my life the poor was far more willing to help me in my troubled circumstances. If we follow the golden rule we teach other people by example to have empathy for all people. Granted some individuals are so rebellious before God that they do not want our understanding but for those that do this it is an opportunity to minister to them with the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit working through our hearts.
We can not love our neighbor as ourselves if we are giving special attention to the rich. "For whosoever shall offend in one point, he is guilty of all." James 1:10. This verse is in the context of treating the wealthy with special treatment so if you show partiality in one point then it would be impossible to truly love one another as ourselves to everybody.
I would be lacking if I did not quote this verse the way most Christians do which is if you even sinned one time in your life you broke the whole law. This is how serious God is regarding the subject of sin.
Imagine if you are hanging from a cliff with ten chains but just one breaks. What do you think will happen? You will fall to the ground. If you ever sinned even once in your life you broke the entire law and are a sinner separated from God for all eternity. This is why God sent His Son to planet earth to die on a cross and rise from the dead on the third day. Everybody sinned at least one time so we all need a Savior.
Now may be a good time to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord by repenting of all your sins and inviting the Son of God in your life. I hope and pray that you just made that all important eternal decision.
God bless you,