The use of money
Look here, you rich people: Weep and groan with anguish because of all the terrible troubles ahead of you. Your wealth is rotting away, and your fine clothes are moth-eaten rags. Your gold and silver are corroded. The very wealth you were counting on will eat away your flesh like fire. This corroded treasure you have hoarded will testify against you on the day of judgment. For listen! Hear the cries of the field workers whom you have cheated of their pay. The cries of those who harvest your fields have reached the ears of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. You have spent your years on earth in luxury, satisfying your every desire. You have fattened yourselves for the day of slaughter. You have condemned and killed innocent people, who do not resist you. James 5:1-6 NIV
There is an age old war between rich and poor. It seemed that the rich are taking advantage of the poor by not providing them their proper wages. In the process, the rich people are persecuting the poor. James is not saying that to be rich is a sin. One example of a rich person in the Bible is Abraham. What James is addressing from the text is when the rich becomes selfish and will exploit those who are underprivileged. This is why he is calling them to “Weep and groan with anguish.” There is nothing in the Bible that tells the believers that it is wrong to acquire wealth. In fact, the Lord Jesus Christ in the parables respected those who owned fields. There is nothing in the Epistles that expressed disagreement for private ownership. What the Bible condemns is the acquisition of wealth in a dirty manner or the use of riches for selfish gains. God gave definite warnings from the Old Testament addressing greediness. “Woe to him who builds his palace by unrighteousness, his upper rooms by injustice, making his own people work for nothing, not paying them for their labor” (Jeremiah 22:13 NIV). Not only that there are those who are rich that takes advantage of the poor people, James also rebuked those that use their riches in wanton display of misusing their wealth for worldly pleasures. “You have spent your years on earth in luxury, satisfying your every desire” (James 5:5). James also admonished the rich who used their wealth to wield political power in courts of justice over those who are powerless. All are called to repent but in this section of James, the rich who will not repent will face “the day of judgment,” where they will be undergoing “terrible troubles,” and will face “the day of slaughter.” Their wealth will not be able to save them. All are called by God to repent; whether rich or poor. And those who truly repented will use whatever material blessings God provided for them for His glory.