James 2:1-12. Honor Faith Among God’s People – 5-11-19 devotional

James 2:1-12. Honor Faith Among God’s People – 5-11-19 devotional

James 2:1-12   Kevin E. Jesmer

Key Verse: 2:1   5-11-19

“My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.” ESV (1)

Dear Lord God Almighty. Thank you for steadfast love. Though this world and our lives are filled with uncertainty, you are a steadfast rock on which we can stand. I find security in you, even though we have been placed in an insecure position. We trust in you. Help me to grow spiritually today through this passage. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen!

Part 1: Those Whom God Has Chosen (1-7)

Verses 1-7, “My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. 2 For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, 3 and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” 4 have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? 7 Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?” (ESV)

Apparently, there were people in the church who were showing partiality to people and giving honor to them based on their wealth and subsequent position in society. They were looking down on the poor people and separating them from the rich in church gatherings. They were making distinctions based on “human” criteria and not on God’s criteria. This is not right for the people of God to do. But sadly, it happens. It happened 2,000 years ago and it happens today. The standards of the world, leach into the fellowship of believers.

As believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, we must learn to see people as he does. Jesus does not look at wealth or standing in society. He looks at Gospel faith and those living out that faith. Therefore, as the people of God, we must put highest priority on spiritual values. Those who are rich in faith, (materially rich or poor) should be honored for their faith, definitely more than those who have no faith but are rich in worldly things. If we treat rich, worldly people with deference, elevating them in the church simply because of their wealth, and treat people who are poor with indifference, we become judges with evil thoughts.

This teaching about not showing partiality was revolutionary in the Roman world. People were honored because of their wealth. The poor were dishonored. Many of the poor were slaves. They might have been nobodies in the world, but within the church they were precious children of God and servants of God. They were held in high esteem. Christianity was very appealing to the poor. It brought hope and respect and honor to them. Many of the first believers were from among the poor.


I thank God for our congregation at Kishwaukee Bible Church. There are people who are richer than others. Some have professional careers. Some are business owners. Some are not. But people are honored because of their faith and their service to Christ. That is the way it must be. Our relationships with each other must reflect the priorities that we have as citizens of the Kingdom of God.

This does not mean that I disrespect those with lucrative careers and who are business owners. They pay taxes. They build up the infrastructures of our communities. Rich Christians can use their wealth and their business opportunities to serve the church body, and the rich people I know do just that. But we all know, rich and poor, that the greatest honor is to have faith in Christ. If we are to glory in anything, we must glory in that.

As an add on, I see here a Biblical definition of evil. People think evil involves heinous and violent crimes. But according to this passage, showing deference to the rich and disrespecting the poor, within the church, is evil. That would be a shocker for some people. I need to accept God’s definition of evil and not the world’s definition.

Part 2: Love Others Equally Regardless of Wealth and Standing (8-12)

Verses 8-12, “8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. 9 But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it. 11 For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty.” (ESV)

The Royal Law is: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Showing partiality, based on wealth and standing, is negating the law of love. Choosing the rich over the poor is not loving your neighbor as yourself.

How is showing partiality to people within the church not an act of love? When a person does this then they are discriminating against the poor. They hurt their feelings in an untruthful way. They are shut out of fellowship. They may be overlooked for positions of leadership in the church. They are made to feel inadequate, when they are not. They might not receive resources that would be due them.

Think about Jesus. He did not show partiality. He did not pour out his blessings only on those with high paying jobs and a good income and high social standing. He came to lepers and the poor. There were a few rich people he went to, like the tax collector and Zacchaeus. But mostly Jesus came to those who knew that they were spiritually sick and in need of the Spiritual Doctor, Jesus Christ. Jesus honored his twelve disciples and not the Pharisees. The disciples were ordinary men and yet they are the ones that God worked through to change the course of history by bringing the message of salvation to the world. The Old Testament echoes this truth. Deuteronomy 10:7, “For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe.” (ESV) His people reflect his character.

When the scribe in Luke 10 asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus answered with the parable of the Good Samaritan. My neighbor is whoever needs my help. The Ten Commandments were given as guidelines for loving our neighbors. We become lawbreakers if we break even one. If we show mercy and kindness to some neighbors but withhold it from others, we break the Royal Law of love and become judges with evil thoughts. But always remember, we must be strict in applying the law to ourselves, and generous in applying it to others.

This is serious business. We may be good church members, serving in the church and offering up money and prayers. We may serve the needy. But if we show partiality to the rich and those with higher social standing, then we are sinning against God and against God’s people. We need to be humble and set our hearts on obeying Christ in our relationships. God’s glory is at stake.

Prayer: Lord, help me to see people as you see them. Help me to honor faith and not just wealth and social standing. Help me to love my neighbor, whoever they may be, rich or poor.”

One Word: See people with Christ’s eyes and relate to them equally with God’s love.

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