Partiality - James 2
Partiality - James 2
The Roman world of the first century was very ‘class conscious’. Who you ate with (share table fellowship) was determined selectively according to THEIR status and ‘class’. You associated with those that were ‘on your level’ (or above if you could!), but never with those ‘below you’. The disciples were part of this world. Unfortunately, such baggage was carried with them when they became disciples!
First, God is simply not impressed with your social status or your measly amount of accumulated worldly wealth! Jesus was not concerned about such things, but he WAS concerned about people’s attitude towards such.
James rebukes these disciples for ‘showing partiality’ (James 2:1, 9). He accuses them of having ‘made distinctions’ among each other and that over worldly standards (James 2:4). James has an Interesting choice of words. The noun form of the verb translated “showing partiality” is defined by Strong: “1 respect of persons. 2 partiality. 2a the fault of one who when called on to give judgment has respect of the outward circumstances of man and not to their intrinsic merits, and so prefers, as the more worthy, one who is rich, high born, or powerful, to another who does not have these qualities.” (see under 4382, προσωπολημψία, προσωποληψία).
NONE of those outward things are important to God! We are not accepted because of having or lacking any of them. The rich man was condemned, and poor Lazarus was accepted (Luke 16). The rich young ruler went away sorrowful, but Jesus praised the poor widow.
It is NOT just about money, for there are many things that WE decide to show partiality towards and thus make distinctions among ourselves that God does not: race, education, political ‘power’, let alone size, color of hair, shape of ones nose, etc. We are told that God looks upon the heart – the inner man, the true character, the spiritual quality (1Sam. 16:7). So should we.
Let us put away such partiality and distinctions! Let us not ‘pay attention’ to such (see vs. 3). Let us learn to judge RIGHTEOUS judgment. Let us learn to love what God loves and hate what God hates. Let us learn to accept what (and who) God accepts.
Are you guilty of showing partiality?