My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. James 2:1 (NIV)
In James chapter 2, James argues against favoritism and for the necessity of good deeds. He presents three principles of faith: (1) Commitment as an essential part of faith. You cannot be a Christ-Follower by affirming the right doctrines or agreeing with biblical facts. You must commit your mind and heart to Christ. (2) Right actions are the natural by-products of true faith. A genuine Christ-Follower will have a changed live. (3) Faith without good deeds doesn’t do anybody any good – it is useless. James’s teachings are consistent with Paul’s teaching that we receive salvation by faith alone. Paul emphasizes the purpose of faith – to bring salvation. James emphasizes the results of faith – a changed life.
James condemns acts of favoritism. Often we treat a well-dressed, impressive-looking person better than someone who looks shabby. We do this because we would rather identify with successful people than with apparent failures. The irony, as James reminds us, is that the supposed winners may have gained their impressive lifestyle at our expense. In addition, the rich find it difficult to identify with the Lord Jesus, who came as a humble servant.
Are you easily impressed by status, wealth, or fame? Are your partial to the “haves” while ignoring the “have nots”?
This attitude is sinful. God views all people as equals, and if he favors anyone it is the poor and the powerless. We should follow His example.
Why is it wrong to show favoritism?
- It is inconsistent with Christ’s teachings.
- It results from evil thoughts.
- It insults people made in God’s image.
- It is a by-product of selfish motives.
- It goes against the biblical definition of love.
- It shows a lack of mercy.
- It is hypocritical.
- It is sin.
If we say Christ is our Lord, then we must live as He requires, showing no favoritism and loving all people regardless of whether they are rich or poor.
Love God – Love People!