Partiality is condemned here. Preferring the rich and affluent is warned against. To God a person's wealth and station in life makes no difference. They are all in need of a savior and all the same in His sight. We are to treat the poor with the same love and compassion as the rich. I will say also that the opposite is true. We are not to despise those that are rich in envy and treat them unkindly either.
In the church this is vital to remember. We must not give preference to those who pay the most tithes and support the church. A little child who has nothing to give is just as important as an adult who pays tithes.
The poor are more likely to see their need for God than the rich and one that is comfortable in this life. The way of salvation is to recognize the need for salvation. The attitude that we are rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing is a worldly attitude. God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. Why did Jesus say that it was hard for a rich man to be saved? The rich man, if he trusts in his own social standing, riches and influence will be less likely to trust in Jesus Christ for salvation. In spite of what the world is teaching today in the USA on self-esteem, it is really the opposite of what the bible teaches. To be self-confident is really not relying on God. Our confidence should be in Him. Jesus said about children, "Of such is the Kingdom of God." Coming to God as a humble dependent child recognizing the need for salvation is the way to salvation.
In Jesus' time, the poor received him gladly, the rich were the ones who oppressed and was quick to bring the believers to the judgment seats. They spoke evil of the way of salvation.
Again, the royal law, love they neighbor as thyself. If we can do this, we would not have to worry about being partial.
Being partial is actually sin.
When Jesus died for our sins, He made the way for us to keep the necessary things contained in the law by the law of faith and love. It is a new and living why whereby we repent of sin, believe in the one who saves us from sin and receive the seal of the Holy Spirit. It is a life of walking in the spirit that is a lot easier than trying to keep the law of Moses by using our will power.
Jesus repeated most of the Ten Commandments in the new. We are to still abide by the words of God, "Thou shalt not steal, kill, etc" The difference is that we can now receive the power to overcome through the Holy Spirit. The new birth brings not only forgiveness for past sins but also power to keep us out of future sins. Yet, if we sin we can repent and renew ourselves to God. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
We live under mercy and truth now. This is not a license to sin though. True love of God and faith in Him produces in us a desire not to sin. If we do commit sin, we immediately despise it and repent of it.
Mercy is shown to those who show mercy.
James does not teach salvation by works here but is saying that true faith will produce the works to follow. If we see someone hungry and have food ourselves and we just lay hands on him and say "Be warmed and filled in the name of Jesus" that is outward religion and it profits nothing. True faith in the Lord will produce the works of compassion, which will feed the hungry.
James is saying that even devils have faith yet they have no salvation. We can believe something for a fact yet not let it enter our hearts and bring forth the fruits of salvation, the new birth. True salvation by faith is inward, bringing in the kingdom of God within our spirit. It will produce an inward change, a new life and a new beginning.
(James 2:21 KJV) Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
It would seem that James contradicts Paul's writings but I don't think so. I think he is saying the very same as Paul did. True faith produces works of love, a desire not to sin, and a desire to seek the Lord. He gives the example of Abraham. Paul said that Abraham believed God and that counted for righteousness. Faith produced works in Abraham. He obeyed what God told him to do. True faith in God will cause us to try to obey God. If we say we love God and are not interested in seeking Him, reading His word or following Him, how can we say we love Him?
Rahab's faith produced action by fearing God and hiding God's people from their enemies. That faith saved her and her household.
James compares faith and works to the body and the spirit. Without the spirit, the body is dead. Faith without the works of faith is dead. I hear lots of people say they believe in God but do their actions show that they do?
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