The Sins of the Rich
- The rich addressed here acquire their wealth by fraud, by not paying their workers enough or promptly.
- The unpaid wages cry against the rich because God hears/knows about them just as Abel’s blood cried from the ground after his murder. It is possible the injustice also cries in the conscience of the rich as in the case of Zacchaeus.
- The Lord Sabaoth means Lord of hosts, Lord of the army of angels and his church, sovereign King, Saviour and Protector of all of them. See Psalm 46:7, 24:10.
- Pleasure is something in God’s creation that pleases people but in this case it refers to pure hedonism, pleasure for its own sake, wallowing in excess wine, food, sex and luxury without any reference to God (in thankfulness). See also I Tim.6:6-8, 17, Amos 6:4-6, Luke 16:19, 25. Wanton means wanting more, discontentedness, inordinate desire (especially sexual). See I Tim.5:6. Wanton may also be an adjective to describe wicked behaviour e.g. wanton cruelty or destruction. E.g. I.S.I.S.
- He sees the rich in their greed laying down fat around their heart unaware that at any minute they could be dead like a slaughtered beast. See Isaiah 6:10 and Deut.32:15.
- Condemned implies judgment or punishment, in this case unjust just as with Christ. They may be condemned to starve. We believe this portion of Scripture is written to comfort the suffering poor and confront the wicked rich whether believers or hypocrites in the church.
- The murder could be both literal or figurative (i.e. hate), the former in the case of Naboth and the latter with Laban and Jacob.
- The actions of the rich are made even more sinful by the fact they are given power by God and they actually take advantage of their righteous peaceful compliant Christian workers. But Matthew 25:41-46.
- Patience is longsuffering under their corrupt bosses, waiting for justice for themselves and the rich. Similar to the cry from beneath the altar in Rev.6:10. See also Rom.12:19-21, Deut. 32:35 and Ps.73:18.
- James admonishes patience because they need to know their trouble is working salvation (character and dependence upon God) and the opposite would be to fight back and rebel.
- James speaks of the coming of the Lord as the time of justice being done and all wrongs made right.
- James uses the illustration of the farmer with his crops, waiting for the rains (the early was Oct/Nov and late March/April) and then the ripening of his harvest.
- Stablish the heart means a settled faith, acceptance of one’s situation and God’s promises as opposed to complaining and fretting.
- The second coming is near in God’s time where a thousand years are like a day but also his coming for us (after our short lives) is near. The fact it is near should encourage us to wait and believe the promises.
- To grudge means complain or groan to others and we are not to do it because it is sinful. To do so invites God’s chastisement c.f., James 1:2-4. It displays lack of submission and contentment under God’s mighty hand. By the way both verbs “standeth” (at the door) and “draweth” (near) are in the present perfect tense meaning they refer to things that have happened and are on-going. E.g. I Have worked here since I left school. She has been living in Liverpool all her life. The’ve been married for nearly 50 years.
Next study (D.V.) January 14th (Sat.) James 5:10-12.