Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits. Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him. (ESV)
We see the following:
- The Challenge of Treasures
See Proverbs 10v15, 14v31, Matthew 6v19-21, 5v42 and Luke 16).
Paul identifies how the challenge of treasures can be trouble for the rich and how a lack of riches a source of shame for the poor.
a) Humiliation of the Lowly (v9):
The lowly brother should be encouraged and he must rejoice in his exaltation (the remedy). What is his exaltation? It is the Gospel of Jesus Christ who promises the forgiveness of sins to all who repent and believe.
c) Haughtiness and Humiliation of the Rich (v10):
The Lord is telling us that you cannot take your possessions with you and your time on earth is brief. The rich will pass away like a flower of the grass… The only exaltation for the rich is also the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
- The Challenge of Trials
a) Reality of trials:
It is assumed there will be trials. These include: sickness, financial and relational troubles, persecution, temptation and spiritual oppression. James reminds us that trials will come. Life without trials is a myth. See 1 Peter 4v12.
b) Remedy of Trials:
Ask God for wisdom (v5), which is right thinking in action (first aspect of faith) and remain steadfast (v12). We require fortitude when the trials come and we need to remain steadfast (we do not act in unbelief when the trial comes). You must consider the two Adams: Adam (who took us down) and Jesus, the last Adam (Who lifted us up). Instead of unbelief and transgressing God’s Law we must follow Christ in faith, love and hope along with prudence, temperance and fortitude.
c) Reward of steadfastness in trials:
The crown of life which represents eternal life which is the ultimate reward for remaining steadfast under trials.