James 2:1: “Don’t Play Favorites”

James 2:1

“My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism.”
Obviously the recipients of this letter were guilty of showing favoritism (vs6).

James 2:6: “But you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you and personally drag you into court?”

This kind of discrimination is inconsistent with true faith in Christ Jesus. This type of discriminating favoritism makes biased judgments based on external appearances such as rank, wealth, or race. This attitude is completely inconsistent with the faith that we have been called to in God’s Word (Eph 4:1-3).

Ephesians 4:1-3: “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

In fact, the only other times that this word, translated as favoritism, occurs are all references to God’s impartiality (Rom 2:11; Eph 6:9; Col 3:25).

Romans 2:11: “For there is no partiality with God.”Ephesians 6:9: “And, masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.”

Colossians 3:25: “For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality.”

God’s impartiality is seen particularly in the line of Christ (Matt 1:5).

Matthew 1:5: “and to Salmon was born Boaz by Rahab; and to Boaz was born Obed by Ruth; and to Obed, Jesse”

God allowed Ruth, the Moabitess, to be a part of the line of Christ. God did not judge her based on her race; God was concerned with her heart.
What James is saying is that when we accept the outside surface for the inner reality we are doing the opposite of what God would do. A just judge, such as God, must not be influenced by personal prejudices, hopes, or fears, but by the single motivation of justice. When we judge based on what a person looks like, how much money they have, or their race we are disobeying what God’s word commands us here in these verses.

When we show favoritism we are not reflecting the character of God, and we are putting something above our glorious Lord Jesus Christ. Our faith is centered around the Lord Jesus Christ. During his incarnation Christ was the glory and the image of God in human form (2 Cor 3:18, 9:4; Phil 2:6). John, in John 1:14, tells us that in Christ we see “the glory of the Father full of Grace and truth.”

John 1:14: “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Christ is our glorious savior and to show favoritism to men based on their appearance or standing would be to take our focus off of our glorious savior. When the pageantry of this world becomes the churches focus it hides who Christ is, and makes it evident that our faith is weak.

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