10. Riches, Trials, and Oaths

James 5:1-12

As noted throughout this study, Jame’s goal is to present various tests of genuine faith.

  1. James tells the wicked wealthy to examine the true state of their hearts in light of how they feel about wealth. James condemns them not for being wealthy, but for misusing their resources.  After robbing their workers to accumulate their wealth, the rich indulged themselves in an extravagant lifestyle. The Bible does not teach that possessing wealth is sinful in and of itself. What is wrong is to misuse one’s wealth.  Wealth may be a blessing, a gift from God bringing the opportunity to do good. But that can only be true of those who are also rich in faith and rich toward God.  If wealth is to be a source of blessing, it must not be unjustly gained, self-indulgently spent, or ruthlessly acquired. 
  2. He then shifts his focus and instructs the folks who are suffering at the hands of the rich and powerful to be patient and keep perspective. Just as the farmer waits patiently from the early rain to the latter for his crop to ripen, so must Christians patiently wait for the Lord’s return. Knowing that the strain of persecution could lead to grumbling, James cautioned his readers against that sin, lest they forfeit their full reward. James reassured his readers that God had a purpose for their suffering, just as He did for Job’s.
  3. Finally, James encourages believers to speak the truth.  A person’s speech provides the most revealing glimpse of his spiritual condition. James called for straightforward honest, plain speech.

Excerpt from James: Guidelines for a Happy Christian Life by John MacArthur

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