Who gets their name on a plaque or the honored seat in the house at church? Sadly, I must admit the inspired directive in James 2:1-9 is often ignored and violated in many churches! And the Bible calls it SIN! Here is what the passage says… I just read it again this morning during “coffee with the Lord”…
“MY BROTHERS, SHOW NO PARTIALITY AS YOU HOLD THE FAITH IN OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, THE LORD OF GLORY. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, ‘You sit here in a good place,’ while you say to the poor man, ‘You stand over there,’ or, ‘Sit down at my feet,’ have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor man… If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing well. BUT IF YOU SHOW PARTIALITY, YOU ARE COMMITTING SIN and are convicted by the law as transgressors.” (James 2:1–9 ESV)
The genius of the gospel is that God loves the whole world and Jesus died for all, offering Himself to provide salvation to all regardless of their race, culture, background, education, social standing, (or lack of it), finances, or where they live!
To show favoritism or partiality is a violation of the very character of God who is “not a respecter of persons” (i.e. He does not look at us first and then decide if He loves us or not).
Furthermore, to show partiality in the church is a direct violation of the 2nd “great commandment” – “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18 and Matthew 22:34-40).
So here is one voice urging us all never to be guilty of violating this command by practicing favoritism or partiality! Instead I want to be part of a church – and I want to be a follower of Jesus; a Christian – who reflects the character of God and obeys both the “first commandment” (loving God with all my heart) and the 2nd commandment (to love my neighbors – regardless of who they are – as I love myself… and as God loves them)!