James 1:9-11 – Reason for Rejoicing
Rich and poor, affluent and impoverished, influential and insignificant all have reasons for rejoicing in the kingdom of God. The poor in that he is exalted, and the rich in that he is made low. Both have their standing with God on the same basis – a sinner saved by grace.
The Brother of Low Degree
James 1:9 – “Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted.”
The poor, impoverished and seemingly insignificant in the eyes of the world has reason for rejoicing “in that he is exalted.”
He is exalted:
- He is a child of God “But as many as received Him, to them gave he power (the authority) to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name” (John 1:12). You are God’s child, adopted into the family of God. “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19). We are no longer homeless and as those who do not belong “but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God.” We now belong to the family of God. Praise the Lord!
- He has been made a king and priest of the Most High. “And hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (Revelation 1:6). “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). What a reason for rejoicing! We who once beggars and paupers in this world system are now Kings and priest in the kingdom of God. Royalty flows through our veins.
- He is seated in heavenly places. “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6). How awesome is that? We are actually seated in the heavens, far above the trials and battles of this life. God’s intention is that we begin to see with spiritual eyes, seeing ourselves above the things of this life. If somehow we could begin to see the things of this earthly realm from a heavenly perspective, we’d see the victorious outcome God has planned for us. Oh, the joy, excitement and rejoicing that would to fill our hearts.
James 1:10 – “But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.”
The person who is poor, impoverished, and insignificant can rejoice in the he is exalted and the affluent and influential can likewise rejoice in that he has been made low. No matter how successful, affluent, and influential we might be, we still come to God on the same basis, a sinner in need of salvation. We both rejoice in the same standing before God, that He has washed us clean in the blood of Christ and we’ve been declared righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21).
The Uncertainty of Riches
There is a warning in these verses against trusting in riches. It’s easy for those who have an abundance in this life to trust in what they have. It is likewise easy for those who have not to long for and covet what the affluent and influential have. The warning for both is clear. The things of this life and life itself will soon pass away, “because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways” (James 1:10-11). In the end, the only thing that will matter is our relationship with God and what we’ve invested in eternity.
Scriptures Dealing With Riches
- Matthew 6:19-33
- Matthew 19:16-29
- Mark 8:36
- Luke 12:13-21
- Luke 16:1-13
- 1 Timothy 6:5-10; 17-19
Unity in Diversity
Jesus prayed, “That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me” (John 17:21). We are fulfilling Jesus’ prayer when we come together in unity despite our economic, social, cultural or ethnic standing and differences. Unity of this nature has nothing whatsoever to do with programs, legislation, or any man made system and structure. Anything man made is merely a false and fake facade doomed to crumble.
What James is referring to is unity derived solely from our standing in the gospel and in Christ. When all is stripped away, we all stand before God on the same basis, blood washed sinners in need of grace. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). We can add to that rich and poor, affluent and impoverished, influential and insignificant, white, black, Asian, etc. “for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”
True Unity in diversity is found in Jesus alone. He’s our common denominator that brings us together as one. John wrote, “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3). This is true unity in diversity. Any other type of unity is man made and doomed to fail. Authentic unity is when we find our unity in Him and Him alone. Therein is reason for rejoicing!