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James 2:5

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Hath not God chosen the poor of this world - This seems to refer to Matthew 11:5; : And the poor have the Gospel preached to them. These believed on the Lord Jesus, and found his salvation; while the rich despised, neglected, and persecuted him. These had that faith in Christ which put them in possession of the choicest spiritual blessings, and gave them a right to the kingdom of heaven. While, therefore, they were despised of men, they were highly prized of God.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Hearken, my beloved brethren - The apostle now proceeds to show that the rich, as such, had no special claim on their favor, and that the poor in fact might be made more entitled to esteem than they were. For a view of the arguments by which he does this, compare the analysis of the chapter.

Hath not God chosen the poor of this world? - Those who are poor so far as this world is concerned, or those who have not wealth. This is the first argument which the apostle suggests why the poor should not be treated with neglect. It is, that God has had special reference to them in choosing those who should be his children. The meaning is not that he is not as willing to save the rich as the poor, for he has no partiality; but that there are circumstances in the condition of the poor which make it more likely that they will embrace the offers of the gospel than the rich; and that in fact the great mass of believers is taken from those who are in comparatively humble life. Compare the notes at 1 Corinthians 1:26-28. The fact that God has chosen one to be an “heir of the kingdom” is as good a reason now why he should not be treated with neglect, as it was in the times of the apostles.

Rich in faith - Though poor in this world‘s goods, they are rich in a higher and more important sense. They have faith in God their Saviour; and in this world of trial and of sin, that is a more valuable possession than piles of hoarded silver or gold. A man who has that is sure that he will have all that is truly needful for him in this world and the next; a man who has it not, though he may have the wealth of Croesus, will be utterly without resources in respect to the great wants of his existence.

“Give what thou wilt, without thee we are poor;

And with thee rich, take what thou wilt away.”

Faith in God the Saviour will answer more purposes, and accomplish more valuable ends for man, than the wealth of the Indies could: and this the poor may have as well as the rich. Compare Revelation 2:9.

And heirs of the kingdom … - Margin, “that.” Compare the notes at Matthew 5:3.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Those who profess faith in Christ as the Lord of glory, must not respect persons on account of mere outward circumstances and appearances, in a manner not agreeing with their profession of being disciples of the lowly Jesus. St. James does not here encourage rudeness or disorder: civil respect must be paid; but never such as to influence the proceedings of Christians in disposing of the offices of the church of Christ, or in passing the censures of the church, or in any matter of religion. Questioning ourselves is of great use in every part of the holy life. Let us be more frequent in this, and in every thing take occasion to discourse with our souls. As places of worship cannot be built or maintained without expense, it may be proper that those who contribute thereto should be accommodated accordingly; but were all persons more spiritually-minded, the poor would be treated with more attention that usually is the case in worshipping congregations. A lowly state is most favourable for inward peace and for growth in holiness. God would give to all believers riches and honours of this world, if these would do them good, seeing that he has chosen them to be rich in faith, and made them heirs of his kingdom, which he promised to bestow on all who love him. Consider how often riches lead to vice and mischief, and what great reproaches are thrown upon God and religion, by men of wealth, power, and worldly greatness; and it will make this sin appear very sinful and foolish. The Scripture gives as a law, to love our neighbour as ourselves. This law is a royal law, it comes from the King of kings; and if Christians act unjustly, they are convicted by the law as transgressors. To think that our good deeds will atone for our bad deeds, plainly puts us upon looking for another atonement. According to the covenant of works, one breach of any one command brings a man under condemnation, from which no obedience, past, present, or future, can deliver him. This shows us the happiness of those that are in Christ. We may serve him without slavish fear. God's restraints are not a bondage, but our own corruptions are so. The doom passed upon impenitent sinners at last, will be judgment without mercy. But God deems it his glory and joy, to pardon and bless those who might justly be condemned at his tribunal; and his grace teaches those who partake of his mercy, to copy it in their conduct.
Ellen G. White
This Day With God, 183

Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? James 2:5. TDG 183.1

In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, the great Teacher rolls back the curtain, showing that God is the foundation of all faith, all goodness, all mercy.—Manuscript 81, June 23, 1898, “The Rich Man and Lazarus.” TDG 183.2

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Ellen G. White
Evangelism, 565

Christ Met Their Minds—We may do much in a short time if we will work as Christ worked. We may reflect with profit upon His manner of teaching. He sought to meet the minds of the common people. His style was plain, simple, comprehensive. He took His illustrations from the scenes with which His hearers were most familiar. By the things of nature He illustrated truths of eternal importance, thus connecting heaven and earth.—Manuscript 24, 1903. Ev 565.1

Study Christ's Simplicity—The Saviour came “to preach the gospel to the poor.” In His teaching He used the simplest terms and the plainest symbols. And it is said that “the common people heard Him gladly.” Those who are seeking to do His work for this time need a deeper insight into the lessons He has given.—The Ministry of Healing, 443 (1905). Ev 565.2

Lord's People Mainly Common People—The Lord's people are mainly made up of the poor of this world, the common people. Not many wise, not many mighty, not many noble are called. God hath “chosen the poor of this world.” “The poor have the gospel preached to them.” The wealthy are called, in one sense; they are invited, but they do not accept the invitation. But in these wicked cities the Lord has many who are humble and yet trustful.—Manuscript 17, 1898. Ev 565.3

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Ellen G. White
Counsels on Health, 424

If the rush of work is allowed to drive us from our purpose of seeking the Lord daily, we shall make the greatest mistakes; we shall incur losses, for the Lord is not with us; we have closed the door so that He cannot find access to our souls. But if we pray even when our hands are employed, the Saviour's ear is open to hear our petitions. If we are determined not to be separated from the Source of our strength, Jesus will be just as determined to be at our right hand to help us, that we may not be put to shame before our enemies. The grace of Christ can accomplish for us that which all our efforts will fail to do. Those who love and fear God may be surrounded with a multitude of cares, and yet not falter or make crooked paths for their feet. God takes care of you in the place where it is your duty to be. But be sure, as often as possible, to go where prayer is wont to be made. The Saviour says, “Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white: for they are worthy.” Revelation 3:4. These souls overcame by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony. Amid the moral pollution that prevailed on every hand, they held fast their integrity. And why? They were partakers of the divine nature, and thus they escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. They became rich in faith, heirs to an inheritance of more value than the gold of Ophir. Only a life of constant dependence upon the Saviour is a life of holiness. CH 424.1

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Ellen G. White
Counsels on Stewardship, 151

The faithful, trusting poor man becomes rich toward God by judiciously using the little he has in blessing others with his means. He feels that his neighbor has claims upon him that he cannot disregard and yet obey the command of God, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” He considers the salvation of his fellow men of greater importance than all the gold and silver the world contains. CS 151.1

Christ points out the way in which those who have wealth, and yet are not rich toward God, may secure the true riches. He says: “Sell that ye have and give alms;” and lay up treasure in heaven. The remedy He proposes is a transfer of their affections to the eternal inheritance. By investing their means in the cause of God to aid in the salvation of souls, and by relieving the needy, they become rich in good works, and are “laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” This will prove a safe investment. CS 151.2

But many show by their works that they dare not trust the bank of heaven. They choose to trust their means in the earth, rather than to send it before them to heaven. These have a great work to do to overcome covetousness and love of the world. Rich poor men, professing to serve God, are objects of pity. While they profess to know God, in works they deny Him. How great is the darkness of such! They profess faith in the truth, but their works do not correspond with their profession. The love of riches makes men selfish, exacting, and overbearing.—The Review and Herald, January 15, 1880. CS 151.3

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