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Easy to understand commentary on the book of James chapter 5
By John Chopores
Jas 5:1 ¶ Come, you rich men, weep aloud and howl for your sorrows which will soon be upon you.
Money is good; when it is used in the work of God!
Otherwise, it can make us think too highly of our own selves. Cf. Pr ¶ He who trusts in his riches will fall,
But the righteous will flourish like foliage. (NKJV)
2 Your treasures have rotted, and your piles of clothing are moth-eaten;
If your treasure is in Heaven; it will be fine. Cf. Mt But amass wealth for yourselves in
Heaven, where neither the moth nor wear-and-tear destroys, and where
thieves do not break in and steal. (WNT)
3 your gold and your silver have become covered with rust, and the rust on them will give evidence against you, and will eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded up wealth in these last days.
Gold and silver cannot really rust, or become oxidized, but if they are keep and a damn place for a longtime, they will acquire a dark color that resembles rust in appearance.
Cf. Ro 2:5 The fact is that in the stubbornness of your impenitent heart you are treasuring up against yourself anger on the day of Anger--the day when the righteousness of God's judgements will stand revealed.
4 I tell you that the pay of the labourers who have gathered in your crops--pay which you are keeping back--is calling out against you; and the outcries of those who have been your reapers have entered into the ears of the Lord of the armies of Heaven.
To not pay someone who has worked for you is robbery! In fact, to not pay him on time: is to cheat and rob him: for he is losing interest on the money, while you keep it. Cf. Le 'You shall not cheat your neighbor, nor rob him. The wages of him who is hired shall not remain with you all night until morning.
Wages are to be paid when due; not when the boss feels like doing it! Cf. De 24:15 "Each day you shall give him his wages, and not let the sun go down on it, for he is poor and has set his heart on it; lest he cry out against you to the LORD, and it be sin to you.
5 Here on earth you have lived self-indulgent and profligate lives. You have stupefied yourselves with gross feeding; but a day of slaughter has come.
Probably they have “lived-it-up” on their workers pay: which they have kept back!
Who is like Christ here: the rich or the worker? Cf. Mt 5:5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Mt 5:7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
6 You have condemned--you have murdered-- the righteous man: he offers no resistance.
This may be referring to the righteous in general: and the lord Jesus in particular. Cf. Isa 53:7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
7 Be patient therefore, brethren, until the Coming of the Lord. Notice how eagerly a farmer waits for a valuable crop! He is patient over it till it has received the early and the later rain.
Patience is a grace that is overlooked sometimes. But it is needed, to grow and bring forth spiritual and Physical fruit. Cf. Lu 8:15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.
Some things take time, character is one of them! Cf. Lu 8:15 "But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.
8 So you also must be patient: keeping up your courage; for the Coming of the Lord is now close at hand.
This “courage” comes through patient faith in God and His Word! Cf. Ps 27:14 Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!
Because the coming of the Lord is near we should:
9 Do not cry out in condemnation of one another, brethren, lest you come under judgement. I tell you that the Judge is standing at the door.
When we grumble; we are also, judging at the same time! Cf. 1Co 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one's praise will come from God.
God’s loves grateful joy in His children. Cf. 2Co 9:7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.
10 In illustration, brethren, of persecution patiently endured take the Prophets who have spoken as messengers from the Lord.
Be sure of this: that anyone who will: follow, talk about, and preach about the Lord Jesus; will be mocked! Cf. 2Ch 36:16 But they mocked the messengers of God, despised His words, and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against His people, till there was no remedy.
Mt "Blessed are you when they revile
and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.
11 Remember that we call those blessed who endured what they did. You have also heard of Job's patient endurance, and have seen the issue of the Lord's dealings with him--how full of tenderness and pity the Lord is.
Not only do we call such, blessed: but so does the Lord Jesus! Cf. Mt Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Jas 5:12 ¶ But above all things, my brethren, do not swear, either by Heaven or by the earth, or with any other oath. Let your `yes' be simply `yes,' and your `no' be simply `no;' that you may not come under condemnation.
The reasons why, are made clear in Matthew chapter five. Cf. Mt ¶ "Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.'
34 "But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God's throne;
35 "nor by the earth, for it is His
footstool; nor by
36 "Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black.
37 "But let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No.' For whatever is more than these is from the evil one
13 Is one of you suffering? Let him pray. Is any one in good spirits? Let him sing a psalm.
We pray; because we know that He is a God Who cares, and can hear His children. Cf. Ps 18:6 In my distress I called upon the LORD, And cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, And my cry came before Him, even to His ears.
Why pray in such a case? Because prayer works! Cf. 2Ch 33:12 Now when he was in affliction, he implored the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers,
13 and prayed to Him; and He received
his entreaty, heard his supplication, and brought him back to
Singing to the Lord;
is something that we should do often. Cf. 1Co ¶ How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together,
each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a
revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done
14 Is any one ill? Let him send for the Elders of the Church, and let them pray over him, after anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.
The “Elders” of the church; would be older, more mature, and faith guided believers who have the calling of “Elder”.
15 And the prayer of faith will restore the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up to health; and if he has committed sins, they shall be forgiven.
The “prayer of faith will”. I cannot say it any better!
The prayer must be in faith. Cf. Jas 1:6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.
Remember, it is the “Lord” that will raise him up, not any man!
Holiness is important to health. Cf. Joh Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, "See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you."
16 Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be cured. The heartfelt supplication of a righteous man exerts a mighty influence.
Confession is part
of the walk of faith. Cf. Ac And many who had believed
came confessing and telling their deeds.
James 5: 17 Elijah was a man with a nature similar to ours, and he earnestly prayed that there might be no rain: and no rain fell on the land for three years and six months.
Elijah was not a "super saint", for there are none! But he had faith, in God, in the power of true prayer, and he kept at it!
The power of prayer, the greatest power ever put in the hands of men! But not in the hands of all men, for to use this power, you must believe that God cares and will answer! Cf. Hebrews 11:6 But where there is no faith it is impossible truly to please Him; for the man who draws near to God must believe that there is a God and that He proves Himself a rewarder of those who earnestly try to find Him.
James Again he prayed, and the sky gave rain and the land yielded its crops.
The power of faith is only as strong as the One that we have it in! Cf. Mt But Jesus looked at them and said to them, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
James My brethren, if one of you strays from the truth and some one brings him back,
20 let him know that he who brings a sinner back from his evil ways will save the man's soul from death and throw a veil over a multitude of sins.
We are to always watch out, for each other.
Caring for the welfare of others is a major part of the Gospel. As Jesus Cf. Luke give, and gifts shall be bestowed on you. Full measure, pressed, shaken down, and running over, shall they pour into your laps; for with the same measure that you use they shall measure to you in return." John This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
Also Paul makes clear! Cf. Galatians ¶ For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
1 Timothy Be on your guard as to yourself and your teaching. Persevere in these things; for by doing this you will make certain your own salvation and that of your hearers.
[Please note that all main New Testament text use in this page, are from the Weymouth New Testament, unless other wise noted.].