“My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called? If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.” (James 2:1–13, KJV)
BG chunk of Scripture today! Almost seems like one of my old articles! Yet, this verse is violated by many, many churches around the country. I’ve been to a church where the floor section (!) is roped off, and you have to be (essentially) wealthy to sit there.
There’s supposedly a story of a church that was waiting for the new pastor their denomination was sending to start at a new church. The pastor was late, and a homeless man, reeking of booze and needing a shave, came inside and started panhandling as they waited for the new pastor. The people in the church had many harsh words for the bum. Until he finally dropped the act, walked up behind the pulpit, and began to oreach from James.
It’s not a true story at all – pastors don’t just arrive at a church with never speaking there before. The congregation would recognize him. And it’s professional suicide to do something like that, because your first impression of your new pastor is a man reeking of whisky. It’s not good. I wish it was a true story, but it’s not.
Do not be partial. Do not judge the person with fine clothes as better than you. It’s hard, because the wealthy tithe, and the pastor is reluctant to kill that cash cow.
But the Bible is really clear on this. I cannot emphasize this enough… everyone in a church is of equal importance. The poor are no less important. It’s very distressing to me, because Christianity is overrun with scoundrels that prey on the poor.
Give to the poor.
James 2:1(KJV) 2:1. A transition to a new consideration is evident by James’ use of my brothers. By “brothers” he meant fellow believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ. The niv has done well in showing that it is the faith in Christ, not the faith of Christ, that is here considered, and in taking the word “glorious” (doxēs) in apposition to, and therefore descriptive of, Christ. The key command is likewise clear: don’t show favoritism. God shows no favoritism (Rom. 2:11; Eph. 6:9; Col. 3:25); therefore neither should Christians. James condemned prejudice and preferential treatment.
The Bible Knowledge Commentary, John Walvoord