Last week we learned that we need to be a doer of God’s Word and not hearers only.
Today James will give us an example that will hit home in every place.
*****Jas 2:1 My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.
SO, what is showing partiality?
Being partial is favoring one person more than another to a point where it affects our good judgment. This comes from our own will and our own affections and not from a love of the truth and justice.
Even though James was writing more to Jewish Christians, that term brethren includes all Christians as we are all brothers and sisters in the “Faith”.
We cannot be united to our Saviour if we do not believe with our whole heart and all our mind on Him. We cannot reap the benefits of redemption without our sincere faith in our Lord Jesus.
Remember, because we have been redeemed, we have a new owner and that is the Lord Jesus Christ.
We are to follow in His ways and not the ways of any other!
What thing do we know for sure?
God does not practice partiality!
Rom 2:11 For there is no respect of persons with God.
On the day of judgment God will not look on the outside of the person.
Eph 6:9 And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; “neither is there respect of persons with him”.
We are to do these same things as Our Lord does.
Col 3:25 But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: “and there is no respect of persons”.
When we become judges ourselves, then we will be judged by our own prejudices.
God does not see a difference between the rich and the poor!
God does not see a difference between the slave and the free man!
God does not see a difference between the servant and the master!
God only sees the human race and never sees the color of any man!
God will only do that which is just and right to all who seek Him!
The sin that is being addressed by James in this passage is, “respect of persons”.
Favoritism has no place in the life of anyone to claims to have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ!
1Ti 5:21 I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, “doing nothing by partiality”.
Then James gives us a hypothetical example that we all can relate to.
*****Jas 2:2 For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment;
Jas 2:3 And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:
1) We have our assembly.
The Greek word used here for “assembly” is where we get the word “synagogue” but James is referring more to the Greek word “ecclesia” which means “a called out group”.
These are believers whom God has called to be a special group of His own.
The church is a union of Jews and Gentiles on equal footing as fellow heirs in Christ!
Eph 3:6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:
James was speaking to all those that assemble in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ!
2) We have the man with a “gold ring”.
For the most part a gold ring would signify a person of great importance but rings were a common part of Jewish dress. In reality only a few Jews could afford gold rings but those that did would certainly wear them. There were always a few prosperous people in the early church but for the most part the early church was made up of the poor.
It is the poor that most often are the objects of God’s greatest concern and the reasons are obvious even today!
1Co 1:26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
3) We have the “goodly” apparel, the “gay” clothing.
These clothes would give the appearance of a man of means. These clothes would also be clean, expensive and impressive.
But that term “gay” has a darker meaning, it would mean attention-getting clothing.
This would be a person who was deliberately trying sway the judgment of those that saw him or her!
4) Then we have that poor man.
This gives us a picture of a man who was not only poor but beggarly, unbathed, and in filthy clothes.
5)We have that “vile” raiment the poor man was wearing.
This gives us a picture of absolute filth. Someone who gave the appearance of evil but no one knew him.
Not just wearing rags but foul smelling and dirty rags. This man would have had an odor of filth!
James paints us a picture of stark contrast between these two men.
They are what they are, but it is the “assembly” of God’s people who are wrong and the sinners in our picture and not either of these men.
They say to the poor, we may have a place for you but you will have to stand, there is no seat for you.
They say to the poor, just do as you are told and we may allow you to stay in God’s House.
But they say to the man in the “gay” clothing, sit in the place reserved for those of honor.
Sit in the place reserved for our pastor as he will be at the pulpit and his seat is not taken.
In a synagogue of the Jews, they would have insisted that he sit Moses’ seat!
Mat 23:1 Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,
Mat 23:2 Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat:
Then James explains this sin for us all to understand.
*****Jas 2:4 Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?
It is a fact that we are prone to judge by outward appearance!
It is also a fact that Jesus never did this!
The Lord Jesus never looked on the outward appearance of anyone but will always accept “whosoever” into His family!
Act 2:21 And it shall come to pass, that “whosoever” shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Mat 12:50 For “whosoever” shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.
“Whosoever” still means anyone, any person, from any walk of life!
Showing partiality is then our greatest sin!
To see this more clearly let’s see what happened to Our Lord Jesus.
Isa 53:3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Isa 53:4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
Jesus was a picture of this the poor man and was despised and rejected by His own self-righteous nation.
In this hypothetical story of James, this poor beggar was despised and rejected simply because of the way he looked and smelled, by a self-righteous people.
No one took the time to even get to know him.
If the Lord Jesus would show up in our Church of today, He would go unnoticed or even rejected because their was nothing in His appearance to make us desire Him.
Isa 53:2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
In our assemblies today, we reject those that we say are not our kind of people.
But what did Jesus do?
Mar 2:15 And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him.
Jesus Christ was a friend to sinners though He disapproved of their sins.
Jesus did not compromise with sin, but He had compassion on the sinner!
Mar 2:17 When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
The religious experts in the day of Jesus judged Him by their human standards and He was rejected.
To the religious experts:
Jesus came from the wrong city.
He did not attend the right schools.
He did not have the approval of the people.
He did not meet the requirements of the government.
Jesus had no wealth.
Jesus ran with the wrong crowd.
Jesus lived on the streets because Jesus was homeless. Jesus did not even have a home.
Luk 9:58 And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.
We become “unjust” judges when we judge by appearance and this is a terrible sin in the eyes of God.
To reject a stranger simply for his looks is to reject the Word of God!
Those that cater to those “that appear” to be rich think that there will be some benefit that will come from those people.
It is a fact in America that the richest men support many charities and some of those may do some good but they do not support the spread of the Gospel which brings eternal life.
They do not support the Church!
They do not support missionaries!
So, what would Jesus do?
1) If the visitor is a Christian then we accept him. (The Spirit of God abides in him)
2) If the visitor is not a Christian then we accept him. (Christ Jesus died for all sinners)
Jesus Christ is the link of love for us all!
*****Jas 2:5 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?
It is a fact that the Word of God has held true but the Word of God is alive and is even more valuable, especially in our day!
1Co 1:26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
1Co 1:27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
1Co 1:28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
1Co 1:29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.
We always seem to forget, that this is God’s plan and we need to be involved in His plan, rather than seek ways to change it to suit ourselves.
James cautions the Church to listen to these words.
The poor, as a class of people furnish more believers and more support to the Church than all the rich class. This is a fact!
The rich must first renounce the power of his riches to have any power toward salvation and most of them find this hard to do.
We are all poor in spirit and we must all realize this, to ever become rich in the Spirit of God!
True riches begin with faith!
Luk 12:21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.
We become rich toward God by serving Him.
1Ti 6:18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;
1Ti 6:19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
It is in these things that if we will learn, we will be more like Jesus Christ our Lord!
2Co 8:9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.
We must all become poor before we can become rich in the things of God!
Sometimes those that are already poor in this world understand this in a better way and we can learn from them!
To despise the poor is to reject the ways of the Lord!
For after all, most of our problems in this world come from the rich rather than the poor!
This is also a fact!
*****Jas 2:6 But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats?
Jas 2:7 Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?
When we base our opinions on looks and appearances as seen by our eyes, we seem to always reject those that are lest fortunate than ourselves.
To be honest we see what we do not want to become!
When we see those that are more fortunate than we are, then we see what we want to become.
BUT, we are then judging by the ways of this world!
To “despise”, is to have the lowest of opinion for someone.
To “despise” someone is to have a low opinion of one of God’s created beings.
Pro 22:2 The rich and poor meet together: the LORD is the maker of them all.
These poor that we despise very seldom ever cause us any personal problems.
Pro 18:23 The poor useth intreaties; but the rich answereth roughly.
In this time of James, Christians were being being persecuted from all sides at this time.
Jews were corrupt in their religion and their government and hated the Christians.
The Romans were corrupt in their government and worshipped false gods and hated Christians.
The Christian could not expect justice from anywhere but from God!
It was the rich of this world who would drag the Christians into court.
It was the rich in society who made laws to single out and afflict the Christians.
It was the rich of the Jews who would take away all the possessions of the Christians.
Act 13:50 But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts.
It was these rich in worldly goods who blasphemed the Lord Jesus Christ in all these things.
But by despising those that were poor, but called of God, these Christians were committing the greater sin!
*****Jas 2:8 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:
Jas 2:9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.
What is the “royal law”? The laws of King Jesus.
Mat 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
Mat 22:38 This is the first and great commandment.
Mat 22:39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Mat 22:40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
It is these two laws of Christ that link God to man and man to God!
Love is the fulfilling of the law!
Rom 13:10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: “therefore love is the fulfilling of the law”.
Those that do not know the “royal law” do no not know God!
It is a serious and a grievous sin to show partiality in the Church!
*****Jas 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
The wages of sin is death!
Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
When sin is our commander, we will have death to eat as pay!
Sin must be treated like a person!
In fact when sin rules our lives, then sin becomes our god!
If we would treat sin like the “living enemy” that it is, then the more we are likely to fight against it!
When we treat sin like a simple mistake, or having a bad day, we will over look the seriousness of sin and that in itself is a greater sin!
We already know that the death of our flesh is a fact of life!
But this “death”, the “wages of sin”, is total and complete separation from God, Our Creator and is the Second Death.
Rev 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. “This is the second death”.
Physical death is the separation of body and soul and the separation from this world in which we now live!
“Eternal death” the wages of sin, is the final, ultimate and total separation of the body and soul and from Heaven and God forever!
If there was anyone who could keep every law of God, (613 laws of Moses), and break only one law, that is enough sin to cause a permanent separation from God.
James gives us this example.
*****Jas 2:11 For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.
From the ten moral laws.
Exo 20:14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Adultery is fornication with another man’s wife but like fornication it is also sin against our own bodies as well as before God.
Remember Jesus even said, if we are just think about committing adultery we have committed that sin already.
But fornication is a greater a sin against our own bodies!
1Co 6:18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.
This also the same for incest, sodomy, bestiality, and all other immoral sexual contact “because it is an impure action to our own bodies” that was given to us by the Lord God.
And to murder.
Exo 20:13 Thou shalt not kill.
To take the life of another human being.
God’s plan has always been for all His creation to preserve life.
God is the giver of all life!
It is Satan who had the keys of death!
But it does not matter to God which of the 10 moral laws were broken because God just sees sin!
God sees a people “who have made sin their god” and all these things reflect back to the greatest sin!
Anytime we reject the Word of God, we have rejected our God and made our own selves little “gods”.
This takes us back to the very first commandment!
Exo 20:3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
All sin violates this law of God!
So, what is the remedy?
*****Jas 2:12 So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.
What is the law of liberty? God’s law of love!
The Bible is still our love letter from our Father in Heaven!
When we need man-made laws to keep us from doing wrong, then we do not know the “perfect law of liberty”.
When God’s laws are written in our heart, we will not want to violate the things written in God’s love letter.
That’s what repentance is all about! A change in our direction. A change in our mind. A change in our heart!
It is the “perfect law of liberty” which gives us our freedom from the curse of all man-made laws!
What is the basic law of liberty?
Mat 22:39 And the second is like unto it, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself”.
If we do not practice this law of liberty, then the law of “Grace” will condemn us more heavily than all those man-made laws.
This is the judgment that we will face and that will take place when we face Jesus at the “Judgement Seat of Christ”!
2Co 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
As Christians we will never be again judged for our sin, they are under the Blood of Jesus.
Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
But our works after being saved will be judged and judged without mercy!
Rom 14:12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
1) Our words will be judged:
Mat 12:36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
2) Our deeds will be judged:
Col 3:23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;
Col 3:24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.
Col 3:25 But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.
3) Our attitudes will be judged: Jas 2:13
*****Jas 2:13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.
There will be consequences for treating others without mercy and compassion, and we make it much worse when we show mercy to some and no mercy to others!
God has shown us His Mercy and Grace by saving us from the pits of Hell.
God will not show His Mercy at the “Judgment seat of Christ” for He will have judgment without mercy!
When God finds repentance and faith, then He will show mercy.
When God finds rebellion, then God must show justice!
If our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ does not control our behavior in this world, then we have not only failed in the purpose of God but we have failed our own selves!
We must practice the doctrine that we defend and that is the complete Word of God!
To be a Christian is to be like Christ Jesus in all our ways!
God will not allow discrimination in His Church to go unpunished!