Sunday, July 27, 2014

Devotional: James 2

I have a confession to make. Sometimes I have no idea what parts of the Bible I'm supposed to be reading. I just pick it up and flip to somewhere in the new testament and read until I feel as though I understand the passage. Lately, I've been flipping to James.

Guys and gals, James is where it's at.

I'm not sure why I felt connected to this particular passage. Perhaps it was because I've seen it too many times in ways that are less obvious than this piece of scripture speaks. Perhaps it is because we've been thinking a lot lately about what church we should be attending, paying special attention to how the politics of the church body are handled. Whatever the reason I took this group of verses to heart and decided to just share the first half of James 2 with you this morning.

James 2:1-13
My dear brothers and sisters how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others?
For example, suppose someone comes into your meeting dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in dirty clothes. If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, “You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor”—well, doesn’t this discrimination show that your judgments are guided by evil motives?
Listen to me, dear brothers and sisters. Hasn’t God chosen the poor in this world to be rich in faith? Aren’t they the ones who will inherit the Kingdom he promised to those who love him? But you dishonor the poor! Isn’t it the rich who oppress you and drag you into court? Aren’t they the ones who slander Jesus Christ, whose noble name you bear?
Yes indeed, it is good when you obey the royal law as found in the Scriptures: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin. You are guilty of breaking the law.
10 For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws. 11 For the same God who said, “You must not commit adultery,” also said, “You must not murder.” So if you murder someone but do not commit adultery, you have still broken the law.
12 So whatever you say or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law that sets you free. 13 There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you.

For some reason I feel like things haven't changed much since James wrote this letter. It is a good reminder that people are people, no matter what they've been through or what their status is according to men. God loves each the same and wants a body of believers, not a body of those trying to glorify themselves. 

God Bless, 



Imogen said...

What I like about this is the honesty and its relevance today. This is one of the major problems in the world I believe. It would be a much nicer place without favouritism. It’s important to value everyone regardless of what they’ve been through or where they are in life.

Emileigh said...

Yeah, this is good stuff. I especially find the last four verses especially appropriate for reminding Christians how we're to deal with the cultural issues of our day, the ways that culture clashes with our beliefs.
It seems that especially on "hot button issues" like homosexuality, abortion, etc. that sometimes a lot of arrogance is brought to the table by people in the church, bringing condemnation and judgment on struggling people or people who just need to be loved. While it's important to stay true to the standards in the Bible, God doesn't want us to condemn people. His ultimate goal for sinners isn't to condemn them, but to restore them, and that's what we should be doing in relating to our culture, because we've all required that restoration ourselves.