“No Such Thing as ‘More Valuable’ in God’s Economy”
2 My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism. 2 Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. 3 If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” 4 have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
5 Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? 6 But you have insulted the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? 7 Are they not the ones who are slandering the noble name of him to whom you belong?
8 If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” a you are doing right. 9 But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11 For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” b also said, “Do not murder.” c If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.
12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!
What is favoritism?
Well, we don’t need a dictionary to define it, do we? We all know what it is.
Again, here is classic James. The command is very simple: don’t show favoritism. Pretty clear, huh? And why are we to not show favoritism? Because we are believers in Jesus Christ. Our faith in Jesus Christ should dictate our actions.
Remember this: orthodoxy produces orthoproxy. In English: what we believe dictates how we act. If we show favoritism, we are not acting like Christ. We are acting like our old selves.
Just to make it clear, James gives us a practical example in verses 2-7.
In verses 8 and 9, James reminds us we are doing right when we keep the law found in Scripture about loving our neighbor as ourselves. He says, however, that if we show favoritism, we are not keeping this law. We break it and we are convicted by our own actions as lawbreakers.
Read Verse 10 and 11: We are all guilty of breaking God’s law. Have you ever wanted something that wasn’t yours? Have you ever told a lie? Ever? Have you take something that wasn’t yours? What about your taxes? Have you committed adultery? Jesus said if you even look at someone else with sexual desire, you have already committed adultery. Have you ever killed anyone? Jesus said if you are angry at someone and call them a fool, you have committed murder in your heart. So, let’s get this strait: we are all self-centered, lieing, stealing, adulterous, murderers. We are sinners.
As a result of this realization, 12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!
We are all valuable to God but not because of anything we have done. Quit the contrary, there’s nothing we can do that will impress God. We are all recipients of His mercy and grace.