James 1:9-12

James 1:9‑12  •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 9
 
THERE is indeed no excuse for him that confesses the Lord Jesus Christ to be a double-souled man. Without the knowledge of Him a man may easily be unstable in all his ways; and it is no real credit to him if he be firm in the pursuit of self, braving trial instead of bowing to God with profit and joy to his soul. Christ alone is the true measure of all; and such was His manifestation here below in absolute superiority not only to every circumstance but to all evil. He and He only was the Faithful Witness. In Christ is God's secret of steadfastness for man in a world of sin. And there is more, yea all, in Him to fill the heart with joy and give needed wisdom.
“But let the lowly brother glory in his elevation, and the rich in his humiliation, because as flower of grass he will pass away. For the sun arose with its scorching and withered the grass, and its flower fell away, and the comeliness of its look perished: thus also will the rich one fade in his goings. Blest [is] a man who endureth trial; because, having been put to the proof, he shall receive the crown of life which He promised to those that love Him” (vers. 9-12).
Here again it is Christ Who alone sheds the full light of God on the inequalities of position on the earth, and turns them into a ground not of acquiescence only, but of pleasing God in exercising suitably the new nature. In the world covetousness is the universal idolatry, and mammon its idol. And the Jew fell under a similar condition readily, as he looked for blessings on his obedience, in the city and in the field, in the family and in the flock, in the basket and in the kneading trough. But the day is coming when God will put down all evil, stilling the roaring of the seas and the tumult of the peoples, and lifting Israel out of their low estate, when at the feet of Messiah they truly own the God of their salvation. Then will the outgoings of the morning and evening rejoice, when God visits the earth and waters it, when He crowns the years with His goodness, and His paths drop fatness, and the hills are girded with joy, and the valleys, covered over with corn, shout for joy and sing.
For God will have blessed Israel then, and thenceforward will forever bless them, and all the ends of the earth shall fear Him, It will be the day, not of man, but of Jehovah, when a king shall reign in righteousness and princes shall rule in judgment, Jehovah (yet Man) the judge, Jehovah the lawgiver, Jehovah the king, when the inhabitants of His land shall not say, I am sick, for the people dwelling therein shall be forgiven their iniquity. Yea, the wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon. And no wonder: for they shall see the glory of Jehovah, the excellency of our God. And Jehovah will answer the heavens, and they the earth; and the earth the corn and the wine and the oil; and they Jezreel. And Jehovah will sow her to Him in the land, and will have mercy on her that had not obtained mercy, and will say to Lo-Ammi [not My-people], My-people thou, and they shall say, My-God.
But now the Holy Spirit, sent from heaven, is bearing witness to the church in one way, to the world in another. Christ is not ruling, as He will in power and glory during the age to come. It is the present evil age, out of which Christ, having given Himself for our sins, is delivering us who believe and constituting us members of His body for heavenly glory. We shall be displayed with Him on high when that day dawns on the earth. Thus, being called into God's marvelous light, it is our privilege to have the mind of Christ, and judge all things according to God in this scene of confusion.
Hence the lowly brother can glory in his elevation, for the glorified Christ is not ashamed to call him brother; and the rich one can glory in his humiliation, in fellowship with Him Who emptied and humbled Himself to the death of the cross. Whatever our natural place, we are now by grace not of the world as Christ is not. Thus we are enabled to read glory in the humblest believer; the wealthy and honorable can write nothingness on what the flesh values highly. For indeed as the Lord said, That which is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God (Luke 16:1515And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God. (Luke 16:15)). Truly and beautifully is the evanescence of all men think great and stable, here compared to the fleeting bloom of grass, put in the past tense of transiency; as the Lord put his case who abides not in Him (John 15:66If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. (John 15:6)). So certain is the passing away of that which flows not from life in Him. As flower of grass perishes before the scorching heat of the sun, “thus also will the rich one fade in his goings.” What is surer, or sooner forgotten?
From this parenthetical comparison in vers. 9-11 we return to a kind of summary of the previous exhortation; and happy is pronounced a man who endures trial. So it was with men of marked faith of old, Job, Abraham, David, and the prophets; so it is now for every believer, and made plain by Him Who endured more than all, and as He alone could. And what an encouragement in the path of trial for him whom grace has called “Because, having been put to proof [or approved], he shall receive the crown of life, which He promised to those that love Him” Faith receives the word of God that reveals God's holy love in giving us a divine Savior Who died for our sins; and we love Him Who first loved us; but also how sweet while pilgrims and strangers to have so cheering a promise in the trial we endure! The new nature is exercised in trial and drawn out in its affections by God's love, and becomes more conversant with the things above and the coming glory.