Focal passage: James 2:1-10
Whether on the news, in our neighborhoods or within our families – people love to draw distinctions based on class or status. Our tendency, if we aren’t careful, is to marginalize those who cannot help us, and selfishly use those who can help us achieve our agenda.
Sadly, this can also be seen in the church. Too many times we give special attention to those that can elevate us or make our ministries look better.
Rather than celebrating unity in the gospel, we divide people based on worldly standards.
James wants his readers to be complete and whole Christians (1:4). By instructing them how to live with others, he is calling them to not only be those who hear the word, but also do what it says (1:22-23). In chapter two, James instructs believers to hold to the true faith and love their neighbor, not showing favoritism to certain people.
By doing this, the “royal law” is fulfilled (v. 8).
In this lesson, we learn to tangibly demonstrate the “royal law” by loving our neighbor and seeing them as God sees them, not how the world sees them. This is the very heart of the passage. Since we have been welcomed in by the gospel, we must turn to others and welcome them into the family of God.
We must have the eyes of Jesus, treating everyone with dignity.
In verses 1-4, James tells the readers they must not show partiality (favoritism) to others but rather hold to the true faith of Jesus.
He then gives a specific example: two men enter the assembly and the rich person is treated like a VIP while the poor man is treated with disrespect.
Faith, not favoritism, must be present among God’s people! Loving our neighbor well is the fruit of a heart that understands the example of our Savior.