Key Verses: “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, you shall love your neighbor as yourself, you do well; but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors.”
—James 2:8,9, New King James Version
THE KEY VERSES OF OUR lesson extol the virtue of impartiality in expressing Godly love. As Christians, we fight against prejudice and partiality. Some are obvious such as nationalistic pride, social status, and racial stereotypes. We must dig deeper, however, and work together with God’s spirit to fight our internal war against all partiality. “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. … Do you look at things according to the outward appearance? If anyone is convinced in himself that he is Christ’s, let him again consider this in himself, that just as he is Christ’s, even so we are Christ’s.” (II Cor. 10:3-7, NKJV) By God’s grace, we are to pull down all strongholds of personal prejudice, realizing that they are selfish and false. We also must cast off all inherited bigotry, often expressed as self-entitlement and arrogance.
One of the most beloved Bible statements in this regard is found in these words, “The Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (I Sam. 16:7, NKJV) The Apostle James’ words also are powerful and searching. They speak plainly without further need of explanation.
“My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, ‘You sit here in a good place,’ and say to the poor man, ‘You stand there,’ or, ‘Sit here at my footstool,’ have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts? Do they not blaspheme that noble name by which you are called? If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you do well; but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. … So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.”—James 2:1-13, NKJV
God is impartial. He appointed judges in Israel and said to them, “Take heed to what you are doing, for you do not judge for man but for the Lord, who is with you in the judgment. Now therefore, let the fear of the Lord be upon you; take care and do it, for there is no iniquity with the Lord our God, no partiality, nor taking of bribes.” (II Chron. 19:6,7, NKJV) May we always hold our judgments in integrity with no partiality in the expression of our love.