THE EPISTLE OF JAMES
** A prerequisite to understanding this teaching and the type of study pattern used makes it necessary for you to first study The Epistle of James Chapter One. Please read at least the first three paragraphs of The Epistle of James Chapter One before proceeding.
1) THE CONSEQUENCES OF SEEKING RICHES INSTEAD OF GOD
2) THE BENEFITS OF PATIENCE
3) THE TRAP OF HYPOCRISY
4) THE BENEFITS OF EFFECTUAL FERVENT PRAYER
1, 2, 3, 4. Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.
Literal: Come now, you rich men, cry out and weep with an outward expression of grief for your hardships, trouble and distress which are coming upon you. Your wealth and riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten (see Matthew 6: 20). Your gold and silver is tarnished with rust and their canker shall be a testimony or witness against you and shall eat and devour your flesh -- your whole body -- as it were fire. You have stored up your treasures in the last days. (‘Last’ meaning the extreme or in reference to time -- that which concludes anything.) Listen up!!! The wages of the workers who have harvested your fields of which you cheated and have not paid, those workers cry out. And the cries for help of them who have gathered in the harvest have entered into the ears of God -- the Lord of Hosts.
5, 6. Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. Ye have condemned and [ye have] killed the just [one]; and he doth not resist you.
Literal: You have lived in luxury on the earth eating and drinking and indulging one's self and been wanton (i.e. unrestrained or undisciplined), living in self-gratification. You nourished (made thick and fat) your hearts as in a day of slaughter (see Jeremiah 12: 3). You have condemned and murdered the just who conform to God's Will (see Chapter 2: 6 and 4: 2 -- condemn/kill). God is tying all of this together from previous chapters in James concerning the moral decay and destiny of the rich man who follows the way of the world and not God. This first part of Chapter 5 stresses the destiny of wicked rich men. Repeating 5: 6a "You have condemned and killed the just..." and he does not oppose or resist you.
7, 8. Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.
Literal: Have much patience, therefore, brethren, till the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Behold, the farmer waits for the valued and prized ripe fruit of the earth, being patient for it, waiting for the early and latter heavy rains. He reaps the fruit of his harvest, but he must wait for all conditions to be right. In the meantime, he takes good care of his field/orchard. Then God brings the rain that the farmer needs for the precious fruit to ripen.
I Thessalonians 2: 19 -- For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?
This should strike a very, very, important principle in every aspect of your life. Never give up on a goal or dream that God has placed in your heart because you are being discouraged by your five senses. Remember, the spiritual realm supersedes the natural realm. Keep doing your very best to renew your mind to God's Word and He must keep His promises to you. If He did not, then He would be a liar, and God is not a man that He should lie. We give up too easily when we're right on the brink of being successful. It's a trick of the world -- a trick of the devil himself.
Literal 2: Be patiently forebearing, slow to anger -- "Be patient". Establish, set fast, and fix firmly the innermost part of your being -- your heart because the coming of the Lord has drawn near.
I Thessalonians 3: 13 -- To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
9. Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.
‘Groan/grudge not’ meaning to groan or sigh or to murmur or mumble a complaint in disapproval possibly from impatience. Groan not against one another, brethren, that you be not condemned or judged against. Behold! The presiding judge, the one who decides, stands fast and still before the door. No one gets missed.
I Peter 4: 5 -- Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead (living and dead).
10. Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.
Take, for an example, my brethren, the prophets who have spoken in the name of the Lord as an example of suffering affliction, of suffering as a result of evil, and as an example of longsuffering, patient forbearance, slowness to anger and of patient endurance to injuries.
Matthew 5: 12 -- Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
11. Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.
Literal: 11a -- Lo, we call them blessed and congratulate them who endure and hold out and remain behind after others have gone.
Matthew 5: 10 -- Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
MATTHEW 10: 22 -- AND YE SHALL BE HATED OF ALL MEN FOR MY NAME'S SAKE: BUT HE THAT ENDURETH TO THE END SHALL BE SAVED. [emphasis added]
Does this sound like the scenario in your life, at times?! Why is this happening? Because you are enduring to the end. God says you will be blessed and filled with joy. The world will never like you because the Word states that friendship with the world is in active opposition to God. You never want to be a friend of the world because then you will be in conflict with God. So don't be surprised if worldly people hate you. It should not surprise you at all but you should prepare for it and adapt to it and continue to keep God first.
Literal: 11b -- You have heard of the endurance of Job. You have seen the fulfillment or completion of the Lord. This word 'end' here denotes strictly, not the ending of a departed state, but, the arrival of a complete or perfect one. Continuing -- "and have seen the end of the Lord" that the Lord is very compassionate and tender-hearted and of tender mercy. (This is a figure of speech where both phrases say almost the same thing -- "very compassionate and of tender mercy".) God feels sorrow for your suffering and misfortune. He wants you to be delivered and is telling you in a simple way, how to go about it. With this newness of lifestyle, look at every day as a journey toward deliverance and new and better things with an exciting surprise around every corner. God will never let you down, just take the necessary action and then have fun living life to its fullest. You know what you must do. God is telling you in His Word. It's exciting to see the Master at work WHEN WE LISTEN.
12. But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.
Literal: But before all things, my brethren, SWEAR NOT -- do not make a solemn promise or vow, neither by heaven or the earth, nor by any other oath. But let your 'yes' be 'yes' and your 'NO' 'NO' that you do not fall into hypocrisy -- a false or pretended show (pretense).
Stick to what you say. Make a decision and stick to it. Don't doubt any of your final decisions once you make them as a result of prayer. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Let your words be salted. When you say "Yes" - mean it and stick with it -- and the opposite for "NO" is true. If not, the Word of God says you will give place to becoming a hypocrite. It is very enlightening to know that this word 'condemnation' ACTUALLY MEANS "HYPOCRISY". What a revelation this is to rightly dividing the Word. ..."lest ye fall into condemnation (HYPOCRISY)". Swearing by any oath paves the way to becoming a hypocrite, a pretender, because the person who swears most likely does not stick to his oath. So he says one thing but yet does another. Remember: DO NOT SWEAR BY ANYTHING EVER AGAIN. It's not hard to do. The Word is simple and the simpler the better. This point is mentioned more than once in the Word.
Matthew 5: 34 – 37 -- But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.
That's TWICE this is mentioned in the Word. That establishes it -- it won't change.
[This also ties in with boasting and the tongue as an unruly evil, studied in previous chapters in James].
13. Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.
Literal: Does anyone among you suffer hardships or afflictions? Let him pray. Is anyone of a cheerful mind? (Interlinear: Let him praise.) (Lexicon: Let him sing psalms with a stringed instrument.)
Ephesians 5: 19 -- Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord:
14. Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
Literal: Is anyone sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church. (These were mature Christians who were rooted and grounded in the Word and were many times in leadership positions.) And let the elders pray to God over him anointing him with (olive) oil for health purposes, in the name of the Lord. (If God tells you to minister healing to somebody, it is not absolutely necessary that you anoint that person with oil.)
15. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
Literal: AND THE PRAYER OF BELIEVING* (*a firmly relying confidence in what we hear from God in His Word) SHALL SAVE, MAKE SOUND OR WHOLE, THE SICK AND EXHAUSTED ONE, and the Lord will awaken or arouse him from his ill state. And if he be one who has habitually committed sins, and he confesses those sins to God, he shall be forgiven (dismissed) of those sins.
But what do you think will happen to this man if he goes out and lives the same type of lifestyle that got him into trouble in the first place? The same or worse thing will happen again. He must change his lifestyle and RENEW his mind by an everyday effort where the Word of God is his center of reference for learning and living.
16. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
Literal: Confess or admit your sins or shortcomings (offences) to one another, and pray for one another that ye may be healed and recover from illness. THE ACTIVE WORKING, INTENSELY DEVOTED SUPPLICATION OF A RIGHTEOUS MAN IS MIGHTY, POWERFUL, AND PREVAILS.
Interlinear: "The operative supplication of a righteous man prevails much."
17. Elias [Elijah] was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.
Literal: Elijah was a man of like or similar passions, affections and conditions as we are and with prayer he prayed for it not to rain. And it did not rain upon the earth for 3 years and 6 months.
I Kings 17: 1 -- And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.
18. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.
Literal: And again he prayed, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.
19, 20. Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
Literal: Brethren, if any of you do stray or wander away from the truth, such as practicing doctrinal error, and one turns him around and brings him back -- converts him, let him know that he who brings back a sinner from the error his way and from the seduction from the truth, shall save a soul from death, and shall cover so that no trace of it shall be seen, a great number or multitude of all forms, phases and movements of sin, whether entertained in thought or consummated in action.
Notice how God closes out this great Epistle of James. All of a sudden, He speaks about saving a sinner from the error of his ways. What good is all this knowledge if we cannot use it to help others? It is still an absolute must to study and renew the mind but when the opportunity arises to tell someone who will listen, the opportunity is more than welcomed. Don't share the Word with the goats. God will let you know who they are. Watch the temptation to do this. It is strong but God in Christ in you is much stronger. God says so.
I John 4: 4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.