| || |The Berean Expositor Volume 49 - Page 25 of 179 Index | Zoom | |
Another important fact is now brought out by the writer of the epistle:
"But let the brother of low degree glory in his high estate: and the rich, in that he is
made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away" (1: 9, 10).
God is a great leveler. Money speaks loudly in human affairs but in God's estimation
it is less than nothing. James has quite a lot to say about money and the lack of it. Here
he refers to the poor and the rich, encouraging the poor believer, because in his new
relationship to the Lord as His child, he is exalted to true wealth in Jesus Christ. At the
same time he warns the rich of the transitory and unsatisfying nature of riches and the
need for a totally different evaluation of material things than that obtaining in the world
Human life, with its weakness and short-lived character, is often compared to grass in
the Bible. Isaiah compared the frailty of `all flesh' to the grass that withers and whose
flower fades (Isa. 40: 6-8), contrasting it to the unchanging and eternal Word of God.
Peter quotes the same words (I Pet. 1: 23-25), showing the difference between the abiding
life of those newly born again by the seed of the Word and the emptiness of the natural
life dominated by sin and death. James draws attention to the almost instantaneous
wilting of the grass from the burning heat of the sun and the scorching wind (1: 11).
The Lord Jesus Himself made a comment about this. He said "When ye see the south
wind blow, ye say, There will be heat; and it cometh to pass" (Luke 12: 55). The lesson
that James draws is that the one who is living just for money and material things will
`fade away' just like the scorched grass and of what use then is his wealth?
The writer now returns to the theme of trial of faith and looks towards its reward by
"Blessed is the man that endureth temptation (trial): for when he hath been approved,
he shall received the crown of life, which the Lord promised to them that love Him"
(R.V., 1: 12).
It has already been shown that such tests are the means God uses to develop faith and
Christian character and without them, faith cannot reach maturity. James now points out
that only those who are experiencing and enduring such trials are really happy (blessed),
paradoxical as this may seem, for then theory is exchanged for real experience and reality
of what the Lord can achieve for those who fully trust Him. It is clear that inward trial
and not outward temptation is uppermost in James' mind for it has been truly said, inner
enticement to evil would have to be resisted not endured. This abiding joy looks forward
to the future when the Lord will give `the crown of life' which He has `promised to those
that love Him' (1: 12). Crowns in Scripture are always the symbol of reward given by the
Lord to the faithful, and the writers of the N.T. use the word with varying expressions.
Here it does not mean that eternal life is the crown, but this crown is associated with
endless life, showing the approval of the divine Giver.