James 5:5 Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.
6 Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.
7 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.
8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.
James was directed to continue to condemn the rich brethren for their greed and unjust dealings. We do not like to be condemned. We like to be praised. Jesus Christ did not come to condemn people. He stated that those who love darkness are condemned already. It is sad when God has to rebuke His children, but because He loves us, He corrects us. If we listen to Him, we will not need to be rebuked.
It was common during the feast days in Israel, that there would be extra animals slaughtered in order for people to eat more than they would otherwise eat. It might be compared to a thanksgiving meal when there is generally more food prepared than would be prepared for a normal meal. The problem was that the rich were indulging in the “good life” while they were cheating the poor of their agreed upon wages.
In verse 6 we see that the just were being taken to court with trumped up charges. The courts were taking the side of the rich and condemning the just. The just had no recourse. They did not have the money to fight this, and if they were truly just, they would understand that it is wrong to take a brother to court. True Christians have a just Judge Who knows all things and He will take care of His children. His children may suffer at the hands of unjust people here, but God will take care of it all.
It is a sad thing when brethren become carnal and justify their evil ways. It is a sad thing when the brethren follow the pattern of the world, which is corrupt and at enmity with God. What the rich were ignoring is that their actions were not hidden from God. God directed James to address them publicly. All those who would receive this letter would know what was going on. This letter was also preserved by the Lord and we can study it and we can be warned of the importance of dealing justly with others.
In verse 7 the faithful brethren are being encouraged to be patient. James began his letter speaking of the importance of patience in the life of the brethren. Here he reminds them again that God is not asleep. The Lord is coming back. We are almost two thousand years past the time of the writing of this epistle. The Lord is coming back. It does not matter that it has been a long time, humanly speaking, since these offences were first mentioned. God keeps accurate records. Those who committed the original offences here have already discovered that their efforts did not pay off. They already know they were foolish in taking liberties that were actually not liberties at all. It is foolish to assume that because God does not bring severe judgment immediately, that He will not judge at all.
We have God’s Word. God does not operate according to situational ethics. God gives us His Word and He keeps His Word. He tells us what justice looks like. He tells us how saints need to live. He warns us as well of what happens when saints think they can twist and corrupt His Word.
James was directed by God to use the illustration of the husbandman. The ultimate husbandman is Jesus Christ. However, James is also speaking of the common farmer. He plants a crop and he expects a harvest. However, he knows the harvest does not come the day after he plants the crop. He needs to have patience. He waits for the crop to receive the early rains that are necessary to get the crop started. He also waits for the latter rain which is needed to fill out the crop in preparation for the harvest. The good farmer knows it takes time and he is willing to give the crop the needed time so that it will produce a good harvest.
In the same manner, saints need to understand that patience is required in life. The saints are called upon to work on that which they can work on. Every saved person can grow in the Lord. Every saved person can “stablish” their heart. The Greek word translated as “stablish” means to “make stable.” The saints should not be shaken in their faith because of the injustices they face on this earth. They should not assume that God has missed something. They should not doubt God’s Word and assume they must have misunderstood what seemed to be so clear.
True saints need to be students of the Word and they need to stand upon the Word of God, regardless of what carnal brethren say or do. Man is not the final authority, God is. Trust Him and patiently walk with Him.
James again reminds us that the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. Every day it is a little closer. We are not told exactly when the Lord will return. We do not need to know the day. We know He is coming. We know that the average life span of man is seventy years and some live to be eighty. A small minority live past eighty. Again we do not assume that because a person lives a long life, they must be living faithfully for the Lord. There are some older people who are quite miserable and they wish they could die. The government is trying to encourage older and younger people to choose medically assisted death (murder). The government says that some people are costing the system too much money. That is the problem with government funded health care. It was brought in because it was supposed to level the playing field so that everybody could get good healthcare. That was a good goal.
We are living in a time when governments are extremely wicked and they are wasting so much money and they want more. We know that healthcare costs are quite high. If the government can convince people to die and get out of the way, there will be less money spent on healthcare and they will have more to waste on their foolish plans.
The saints need to be patient. The Lord is coming back. When a saint dies, they go straight to heaven. One day soon, their bodies will be resurrected and they will dwell in God’s heaven for all eternity. There is no injustice in heaven. There will be no injustice in the new heavens and the new earth. We can trust God on this.
We need to be mindful of the importance of living according to God’s will if we are saved. We need to preach and teach the truth without reservation in each generation. We need to have constant reminders of how God expects His children to live. If you are truly being cheated, be patient. Keep praying for patience and for humility to serve God faithfully. Continue to grow in the Lord. Continue to serve Him. He will straighten it all out very soon.