Guided Bible Studies for Hungry Christians
James - The Pillar of Working Faithful Lesson 5
The Faith of Impartiality toward All
The ways of the world have caused many of our Christian brothers and sisters to resent the poor. There is a difference between the wicked worldly poor, and the righteous and holy faithful poor. That difference is the line that Christian brothers and sisters can use to measure their obligations. The LORD GOD does not want the wicked worldly to prosper, period. It is the righteous and holy poor person that James is speaking of, and it is the righteous and holy poor people that we are obligated and honored to respect and uphold when we are graced with their presence.
“My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.” (James 2:1 AV)
“Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.” (Leviticus 19:15 AV)54. The faith of our Lord Jesus Christ was first established with the laws, ordinances and statutes of His Jewish roots. He learned as a young child to respect the poor, and to not automatically honor the person of riches, but to judge each person in righteousness on his own merits.
“2 For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; 3 And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: 4 Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?” (James 2:2-4 AV)55. If you choose one person over another and treat them more special because of their appearance or station in life, then you are guilty of judging with evil thoughts. An example is given of a man entering into the presence of assembled faithful with a gold ring and great looking clothes. A poor man in dirty and shabby clothes enters also into the congregation of believers. James points out that to have respect to the splendid clothes and offer him the best seat in the house, but to the poor and dirty man ordering him to stand or sit at your feet.
I thought I did a pretty good job at showing impartiality for people....it is just part of my particular nature to not notice the things of wealth, poverty, race, stature, or station in life. It was nothing I did to not pay attention to these things...the LORD GOD just made me that way, and it’s never been a big deal to me.
“Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?” (James 2:5 AV)56. The LORD GOD has chosen the poor of this world and made them rich in faith, and heirs of His Kingdom which he promised to those that love him.
“But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats?” (James 2:6 AV)57. If you have been looked down upon and oppressed by rich men who thought themselves better than you, then it would make no sense that you would do the same as a Christian, to the poor.
“Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?” (James 2:7 AV)58. You are a CHRISTIAN, a follower of Jesus Christ! Do not cause evil to be spoken about those who choose to walk and serve Him!
“If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:” (James 2:8 AV)59. You will do well to keep the royal law of our King Jesus Christ is his words “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself”.
“9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. 10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” (James 2:9-10 AV)60. Partiality is more than error in judgment. If you show favor toward some people, and discriminate against others, you are committing a sin. You are a transgressor because of this sin.
“10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. 11 For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.” (James 2:10-11 AV)61. You can be righteous and keep the whole law of God, but if you break one law, you are guilty of all. You are a transgressor of the law, irregardless if the transgression was one of murder or one of discrimination against a person.
“12 So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. 13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.” (James 2:12-13 AV)62. The law of liberty gives you the freedom to choose what you will do and what you will speak. If you choose to judge others without mercy, you will be judged without mercy.
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About the Author
Kathy L. McFarland is a Becker Bible Studies Teacher and Author of Guided Bible Studies for Hungry Christians. She has received her Bachelor of Science degree in Religious Studies from Liberty University, and is currently seeking her Master of Divinity (Professional Ministries Track) degree from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary & Graduate School. Kathy is a noted expert on Old Testament exegesis, Christian apologetics, and Bible typology and mysteries.