Advancing the Conversation of Jesus
GOT A MINUTE? OK, we’re back to the practical book of James.In chapter 1 we learned that pure religion is more than the muttering of prayers and rituals-more than being externally oriented. Pure religion has to do with visiting orphans and widows and keeping oneself unstained by the world. Keeping yourself unstained by the world begins with preventing yourself from being a hearer only (1:19-21), but an effective doer of the word of truth (1:22-25). In other words, being a hearer only tends toward definition without demonstration that leads to the worship of doctrine. But even sound doctrine by itself tends to put people sound asleep! James is appealing to be unstained from the world and the world’s ways by not doing things by lecture, but by a lab that demands definition and demonstration!
Now, James continues his theme of keeping yourself unstained by the world when he turns to the subject of showing partiality. Don’t hold your faith with an attitude of partiality toward others!My brethren, do not hold your faith in Jesus, the Christ, with an attitude ofpersonal favoritism. For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, “You sit here in a good place,” and you say to the poor man, “You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool,”have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives? Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to berich 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?Your systems are false and you practice discrimination. Your behavior fails to honor the poor whom God honors. You practice discrimination to favor the rich. All of this behavior allows you to be stained by this world system. Tomorrow, we’ll discuss a better way to handle your life.