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About-Him.Com Devotional 11-05-2011
No Discrimination Allowed in the Body of Christ
Text: James 2:1 ¶ My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.
Some scholars hold that this verse should have been translated as a question, as is found in the margin of the Revised Version. Do you in accepting persons, hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of Glory ?
I can’t tell you which interpretation is right but this does bring up an important question. Does the church practice discrimination? More to the point, do I individually discriminate without cause? If I show respect of persons, how can I say I am holding the faith of the Lord Jesus?
Leviticus 19:15 Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: [but] in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.
Leviticus makes it quite clear that in rendering judgment, we are not to respect the person of the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty. We are all equal in God’s eyes. We all, rich and poor alike, stood equally guilty under the curse of sin (Ro. 3:23). It mattered not that we were a poor sinner or a rich sinner, we were all equally in need of God’s grace and saving power. Jesus didn’t save us on our merits, He saved us because He loves us, in spite of who we are or what we were (Ep. 2:8). We were saved because of His goodness, not our own.
2 Corinthians 8:9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.
Jesus became poor for us. He wasn’t born in a palace, He was born in a stable and had a manger for His crib. In later life, He commented that the bird’s had nests and the foxes had holes, but He didn’t have a place to lay His head (Mt. 8:20).
Jesus did not place any special virtue on being poor but He did recognize their struggles. Nor did He condemn the rich, but He spelled out the difficulty of riches (Lu. 18:23-24). One of the proofs of His anointing was that the gospel was being preached to the poor (Mt. 11:5; Lu. 4:18).
1 Timothy 6:17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;
18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;
Text: James 2:2 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;
3 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:
4 Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?
James used the contrast of two men who entered an assembly. One was well dressed and wore a gold ring, which probably signified that he was wealthy and perhaps had a position of importance. The natural instinct of those in the assembly was that this fellow can do something for me, so I’ll show him some favor. The other fellow was wearing vile raiment. No doubt he smelled and needed a bath. It was obvious that he couldn’t do anything for anybody.
Unlike some Christian groups today, James didn’t condemn the rich man for wearing a ring, or wearing nice clothes. God doesn’t look on our outward appearance, He looks on our hearts (1 Sa. 16:7).
1 Samuel 16:7 But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for [the LORD seeth] not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.
Text: James 2:5 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?
This verse is not saying that God has chosen the poor over the rich, but that He has chosen thepoor who are rich in faith and who have become heirs of the kingdom. Thus, there is no basis for discrimination against them.
Text: James 2:6 But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats?
7 Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?
James was writing primarily to Jewish Christians who still attended their local synagogues . The synagogues were also used as courts and corruption was widespread. Naturally it was the rich who had the upper hand in this type of situation.
Things haven’t changed a whole lot, have they? The rich naturally have the upper hand. As we have seen recently, they control markets and feed huge contributions to our lawmakers. The rich are getting richer and the poor, poorer. Presently we see folks worldwide protesting inequities. Things in the world will never be equal until Jesus sits on the throne of David and rules with a rod of iron (Isa. 9:6-7; Re. 2:27, 19:5).
However, the church is not part of the world and should not be following the world’s system.
Text: James 2:8 ¶ If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:
The royal law: Love my neighbor as myself. Whether rich or poor, black or white, Catholic, Baptist or Pentecostal, agreeable or disagreeable, couth or uncouth, doesn’t matter. The royal law says, “love my neighbor as myself.”
In the Parable of the Good Samaritan, the question was asked, Who is my neighbor? The answer was that we are good neighbors when we show mercy to the person in need (Lu. 10:27-28, 35-37).
“God doesn't bless us just to make us happy; He blesses us to make us a blessing.” - Warren Wiersbe
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Don and Marie Spooner
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