Sunday, March 17, 2013

James 1.9-12 Poor and Rich - Carpenter Flock - 130317

tation” - Strong's G3986 - peirasmos:  : proving, the test of man's fidelity, temptation
“patience, steadfastness, endurance” - Strong's G5281 - hypomonÄ“: (lit. to remain under) steadfastness, constancy, endurance
“lowly” -  Strong's G5011 - tapeinos:  (lit. that which is low, and does not rise far from the ground), (metaphorically: as a condition, lowly, of low degree)  also used in Luke 1:52; Rom. 12:16; 2Cor. 7:6; James 4:6

9    [But]                      10    But   
      let the lowly                  let the rich
      brother                            _______  
      boast                               ______   
      in his exaltation             in his humiliation

1. Who are the “rich” in verse ten?
  • Unbelievers: 1) The idea of grass withering would fit the unsaved better; 2) Rich elsewhere in context of unbelievers (Luke 6:23-24;  James 2.1-6; 5.1-6)
  • Believers: 1) syntactical structure (boast has to carry over from vs. 9 to vs. 10, so it would be natural to also carry over brother; 2) What is there in eternal condemnation for the unbelieving rich to glory in?; 3) James mentions wealthy business men as believers (4.13-17)
2. Old Testament cross reference.
  • Jeremiah 9.23-24  “...let him who glories glory in this…”
  • “James is enjoining both the rich and the poor to evaluate themselves by spiritual rather than material standards.”  —Bloomberg/Kammel in E.C.N.T.
3. The Great Reversal.
  • In what sense does the Gospel exalt the lowly?
  • In what sense does the Gospel humble the rich?
  • What is an indication that we have lost this perspective?  (James 2.1-6)
4. “fade away in his pursuits…”
  • “fade” Isaiah 40.6b-8The material wealth in this world is temporary and of limited value.  It is the path to spiritual indifference and insignificance.
  • What makes you fade away in your pursuits?
5. Inclusio?
              Verse 2-4                                                          Verse 12
               Joy                                                                   Blessed 
               trials                                                                 temptations/trials
               patience/endurance                                       patience/endurance      
               complete [faith], lacking nothing                approved
The parallels between the beginning of this section and verse 12 are remarkable.  It seems that verses2-4 speak to a call to patience/endurance in trials and verse 12 points toward the reward, "the crown of life," and the driving motivation, love for Christ.  Douglas Moo also acknowledges that this is a reasonable approach in his Pillar commentary on James.

6.  APPLICATION: How does loving Christ affect my trials, wisdom, and material possessions?
TBC affirms the following values to glorify God as a body of believers:
1.  We value love for Jesus Christ above all.
Love for Jesus Christ is the defining mark of a Christian, the driving motivation for godly living, and the source of our love for others. 
(Others include : The Bible, prayer, discipleship, personal relationship, missions and evangelism.)