“Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days.”
James continues to argue against the believer who does not use his assets for God’s glory but for himself. This argument began in 4:13.
James discusses the second and third categories of wealth in this verse (garments, gold, and silver).
Your gold and silver are corroded,
Neither gold nor silver can rust, but they can corrode. Rust is the result of slow oxidation of metals. Oxidation of pure gold in our day does not corrode that gold significantly, but the gold of the first century, for the most part, was not pure. Metaphorically, the idea is that gold and silver will end in ruin.
The process is the same for greed as it is for metals. As corrosion destroys the value of the metal, so hoarding tarnishes God’s purpose for wealth. Both gold and silver can corrode God’s economy.
and their corrosion will be a witness against you
The temporal, instrumental value of wealth will witness against people who place their terminal values into hoarding money. The soul that operates on temporal values is a soul in a state of corrosion. God will use this corroded state of the soul as evidence against the believer who uses wealth as a terminal value for life at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
This evidence of blunting of the soul puts the believer under divine discipline. God will use this evidence to convict our souls for being out of fellowship with God. God will discipline us with the very thing that corroded our soul. “The mills of God’s justice may grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine.”
Hoarding transitory things is foolish because they are indeed transitory.
The failure of wealth to satisfy us in time and eternity is a witness against the attitude that if we gain great possessions, we will be happy. This witness to the fact that our wealth will perish as an intrinsic value. What is in a man’s soul makes him rich, not what he has in the bank. He is rich according to what he is, not according to what he has.
Spiritual Christians cannot walk at once in a transitory value system and an eternal value system. If we have all the beautiful gold and silver objects that we can imagine, but we have not grown in the Lord, then we do not have the capacity to put these things in perspective. It is not what you have that counts in God’s eyes, but what is in your soul. Material things are temporary; spiritual things are eternal.
Pr. 23:4-5, “Do not overwork to be rich;
Because of your own understanding, cease!
5 Will you set your eyes on that which is not?
For riches certainly make themselves wings.
They fly away like an eagle toward heaven.”
We cannot solve our problems with material objects such as silver or gold or the stock market. Acquiring women, success, drugs, or wealth cannot expand our souls. Development of the soul must operate as a transcending value over any earthly object. We never meet our ultimate needs with sex, money, or power. The acquisition of things will not help us at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
PRAISE THE LORD
My name is Fredrick Dsouza,residing in India.
I am reading your bible commentary section.It is very useful and fruitful to me.It has helped me to gain knowledge about the word of god.
Your verse to verse commentary is helping me in gaining knowledge.
What i like about your commentary section that it also includes section like ”Principle and Application’ of every verse in our day living.
I am also suggested it to 2 of my friends.
I cannot give u suggestion as i am not worthy to give as i don’t have enough knowledge as u have reg the bible,butwhat i feel is that it would be better if u also provide commentaries for old testament books.
i am thankful and grateful to you because of you i am understanding the bible much better.
PRAISE THE LORD,Keep the good work,may god pour out his blessings over u.Take care.
Fredrick, thanks for your comments; they are a blessing to me. I have done Old Testament books. If you look on the main page of versebyversecommentary.com and then go to books, or go to the right column and hit “Select a book,” you will find the Old Testament books that I have done so far.
Dear Dr. Richison,
A few days ago I received you e mail. I was planning to change my
e mail address and as result you sent that e mail and suggested two
things I should maybe do. However, I lost your e mail, therefore I would like to know again what this suggestion was.
You also asked me if I am in Canada. To this question I can give an
affirmative answer.I came to Canada 56 years ago at the age of 28.
I am a widower now and residing in a Assisted Living Center here in
Elmira. — That I lost your e mail may have something to do with my
I love to receive your verse by verse daily Devotions and I thank
you profoundly for sending these to me!!
I pastored Grant Memorial Baptist Church in Winnipeg MB for 20 years (1973-1993) and in a number of roles including the Interim President of Campus Crusade for Christ of Canada (1993-2003). That is why I asked if you were in Canada.
Regarding your email:
1. Go to http://www.versebyversecommentary.com 2. In the right column go to “register”
3. Put in your information
4. On the next page choose that you want to receive the daily emails
Hope this helps,
You are addressing these verses as if they were to believers. Other commentaries have stated this portion on the rich was not directed to believers, but to rich people in general. Could you explain your reasoning that this is addressing believers? If he is addressing believers, he is certainly not speaking to them as if they were, i.e. no real grace or compassion or tone that indicates he is speaking from a viewpoint of one brother to another. On the other hand, the letter as a whole is addressed to the 12 tribes which would give some indication that this was addressed to rich Christians.
Steve, the entire book of James was written to believers. See “Read Introduction” toward the top of the page. Grace and love are often expressed in rebuke or correction in the Bible. It is not loving to let people go down the road of materialism. We correct our children because we love them.
Thanks for clarifying this! God bless in your continued work for the Gospel!
Dear Pastor –
Glory to God.
I was searching for the meaning of the word "corrossion" in the context of James 5:3.