What exaltation can a lowly brother boast about?

Jas 2:5 Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? From this reference it would seem God favors the poor. This cannot be the right understanding, though, because we have specific instructions not to be prejudiced based on social status, and that includes the wealthy (Ro 2:11).

Mt 9:13 Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners. Those who realize they are sinners in need of salvation are the ones who realize their low position. They are the people who humble themselves before God and they appear to be the ones who will be exalted.

Mk 10:31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first. James merely reinforces what Jesus said. The exultation (lifting up) of the lowly is chiefly salvation but extends to understanding and wisdom, receiving the Holy Spirit, and other features and benefits you receive as a part of the body of Christ.

Pr 28:11 A rich man is wise in his own eyes, but a poor man who has understanding will find him out. They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The same can be said of wealth. The man who is rich in his own eyes is near sighted because he doesn’t see beyond his worldly wealth. If a man can see beyond his own wealth to the wealth of God in the form of salvation, which is to say living in the eternal presence of the Lord in Heaven, he would be akin to the man Jesus describes in Mt 13:45-46 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it. Whatever we have in this world is nothing. When we realize this and we allow ourselves to be poor in this world and reckon ourselves as such, then we may be spiritually rich.

This post is an excerpt (Question 9.2) from my book Ask James one.

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About Lance Ponder

Christian author of "Ask James one"; public speaker; husband and father. Available to speak on Creation and the Gospel.
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