Read James 5:1-12
In this final chapter of James, he seems to be touching on all manner of miscellaneous subjects. From the responsibilities of Christians who are wealthy, to persevere in our faith, to the sick, and bringing back those who have strayed from the truth. He begins by addressing the rich. Jesus once said it would be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God (Luke 18:25). Does this mean that wealthy people can’t know Jesus? Not at all! I know many wealthy Christians who serve God humbly, using their money to support missions and the church. But we must remember the culture of the day when reading this chapter.
New believers in the early church came from all walks of life, and some of them were rich. Most of the wealthy were landowners who had people working for them. It would appear that James is talking specifically to them. Whether or not they were believers is unclear, although James 5:9 seems to imply the wealthy were believers. What is clear are their sins, which James addresses in the first six verses. His warnings to the rich are somewhat prophetic because it was the aristocracy who, a few years after this letter was written, were mostly obliterated during the Jewish revolt from Rome.