Bible Reading: James 2.5-9
Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you and personally drag you into court? Do they not blaspheme the fair name by which you have been called? If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. James 2:5-9
It is telling that Jesus, the King of Kings, was born not into privilege but into poverty. Throughout His ministry, Jesus sought out the poor in spirit and reserved his deepest anger for the Pharisees who used religion to put themselves above others.
Yesterday we began to look at the sin of partiality, whether taking the form of favoritism or prejudice against others. The early church was born in a historical context where one’s heritage and position was fundamental to identity. God turned this upside down and chose in His grace to reveal the gospel to Jews, Gentiles, slaves and free. This diversity created many conflicts in the church around practices such as food laws and circumcision. James was an elder in the Christian church in Jerusalem, and was a key leader in affirming that believers are all one in Christ Jesus (Acts 15; Galatians 3:28).
Jesus told the Pharisee that to be saved we must love the Lord with all we are and love our neighbors as ourselves. When the Pharisee asked, Who is my neighbor, Jesus shared the parable of the Good Samaritan, honoring one who broke cultural tradition in the name of love (Luke 10:25-37).
Two thousand years later we still struggle with partiality within the church because we struggle with the sin of pride. We are most proud when we lose sight of our own great sin, which dishonors the gift we have been given. Charles Spurgeon said, If your sin is small, your Savior will be small also. But if your sin is great than your Savior must be great also.
Today, consider, are there sins in your own life that you take lightly. Why? How can you practice humility and love so that others see your Savior in your actions today?
Weekly Memory Verse: And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12.2