James summed up man’s responsibility to his neighbor by urging him to fulfill the “royal law” (James 2:8). He who fulfills this law of Christ will love all men alike and will look with contempt on none. Because he will be concerned about the value of a human soul, he will see no distinction between the rich and the poor.
Observe how serious it is to show respect of persons: “But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors” (v. 9). To respect one person above another is to violate the letter and the spirit of the law of Christ; thus, it is sin. To look with disdain on someone else is to oppose the indwelling Christ and the concern He has for everyone.
The poor become so very rich in Christ, whereas the rich (as the world considers them) have to humble themselves to realize that their riches offer them nothing of eternal value. It is necessary for the rich to come empty-handed and receive salvation as a gift. The poor must come in the same way, but it seems exceedingly difficult for many rich people to humble themselves to this extent.
He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor (Prov. 14:31).