JAMES – Lesson 5 (Part 1): The Faith of Impartiality Toward All

“My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.” (James 2:1 AVRLE)

“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 19:15 AVRLE)

54. The faith of our Lord Jesus Christ was first established with the laws, ordinances and statutes of His Jewish roots. He learned as a young child to respect the poor, and to not automatically honor the person of riches, but to judge each person in righteousness on his own merits.

“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 2:2-4 AVRLE)

55. If you choose one person over another and treat them more special because of their appearance or station in life, then you are guilty of judging with evil thoughts. An example is given of a man entering into the presence of assembled faithful with a gold ring and great looking clothes. A poor man in dirty and shabby clothes enters also into the congregation of believers. James points out that to have respect to the splendid clothes and offer him the best seat in the house, but to the poor and dirty man ordering him to stand or sit at your feet, makes you a judge with evil thoughts.

I thought I did a pretty good job at showing impartiality for people; it is just part of my particular nature to not notice the things of wealth, poverty, race, stature, or station in life. It was nothing I did to not pay attention to these things; the LORD God just made me that way, and it’s never been a big deal to me.

Or so I thought. Several years ago, we celebrated the Jubilee Year, a time when the LORD God’s people forgive debts, and give freely in a dedicated way of all they have to those who need. We committed ourselves to honor our LORD God by accomplishing all that we could in giving to the poor when they came seeking. Our hearts were filled with joy daily, as we offered a hand up in the name of Jesus Christ. We opened our home to many who came and sheltered them, fed them and spoke the messages of Jesus. We would buy food for those who hungered, and gave clothes to those who had none. Anything asked of us during this year, we provided; if that took selling some of our beloved possessions, or spending our last penny, we would give what was asked, faithfully knowing that the LORD God would provide as we needed.

Then something terrible happened that ruined my pure heart. One of the homeless men that we had provided a house to live in, spoke some of the cruelest seven words to me that I have ever heard. These seven words nearly stopped my giving to anybody, ever again. He said:

“You’re a Christian. You have to provide”

I felt like a sap. I felt used. I felt angry inside. From that moment on, every time a poor person would come to me with a hand out, I would look to them with concealed disgust and know that they were not coming because of the grace of the LORD God and Jesus Christ, but merely coming because they knew that “I am a Christian. I have to provide.”

My heart was becoming hardened to the poor. I noticed that every time I gave, that it empowered them, and caused them to have almost an air of superiority over me, as they took more and more from me, with absolutely no interest in the things of Jesus Christ and the LORD God.

Then one day, I was visiting a small church in the Pacific Northwest. The congregation of believers were mostly upper middle class, and the Pastor was well spoken, well groomed and powerful in the local council of churches. As I entered into the church, I noticed a dirty, smelly, mentally challenged man walking in ahead of me. I saw the Pastor stand in front of him, and prevent his entry. The man started crying and pleading with the Pastor to let him in to pray. The pastor refused, and the poor man left cursing the Pastor and the congregation for their wickedness.

The Pastor turned to me, and those cruel words were spoken again. He said, ”He thinks because we’re Christians, that we have to provide. But I am responsible for the families of my congregation, and I cannot allow the dirty riff raff to destroy our good works and disrupt our praises to God.”

The words stung my ears, and brought focus to my hatred of the poor. I left that church, and I left my hatred, I left my self-focus, and I left my judgment of others with evil thoughts, on the steps of that church that day. If the people of the LORD God do not have room for the poor to pray with them, if they do not have the tolerance to allow differences to be in their midst, then they are not followers of Jesus Christ, worshippers of the LORD God, nor adherents to His Word.

I finally got it! There are wicked worldly people among the poor and there are holy, faithful people among the poor. I nearly let a very wicked act by a bad poor person cause me to remove the love of Jesus Christ from many righteous and holy poor people. And I nearly entered into a congregation of truly wicked rich people, who would prevent a poor man from praying in their presence. I suspect the hand of Satan himself was directing this orchestrated attempt to cause me to hate the poor, and I resolved from then on to aggressively prevent his attempts.

The ways of the world have caused many of our Christian brothers and sisters to resent the poor. There is a difference between the wicked worldly poor, and the righteous and holy faithful poor. That difference is the line that Christian brothers and sisters can use to measure their obligations. The LORD God does not want the wicked worldly to prosper, period. It is the righteous and holy poor person that James is speaking of, and it is the righteous and holy poor people that we are obligated and honored to respect and uphold when we are graced with their presence.

The Word of God is clear: “For if there come unto your assembly”… then they are coming into the spiritual realm and faithfully walking toward the LORD God, with a holy walk more righteous than a rich man can ever know!

“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?” (James 2:5 AVRLE)

56. The LORD God has chosen the poor of this world and made them rich in faith, and heirs of His Kingdom which he promised to those that love him.

“But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats?” (James 2:6 AVRLE)

57. If you have been looked down upon and oppressed by rich men who thought themselves better than you, then it would make no sense that you would do the same as a Christian, to the poor.

“Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?” (James 2:7 AVRLE)

58. You are a CHRISTIAN, a follower of Jesus Christ! Do not cause evil to be spoken about those who choose to walk and serve Him!

“If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:” (James 2:8 AVRLE)

59. You will do well to keep the royal law of our King Jesus Christ is his words “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself”.

“9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. 10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” (James 2:9-10 AVRLE)

60. Partiality is more than error in judgment. If you show favor toward some people, and discriminate against others, you are committing a sin. You are a transgressor because of this sin.

“10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. 11 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.” (James 2:10-11 AVRLE)

61. You can be righteous and keep the whole law of God, but if you break one law, you are guilty of all. You are a transgressor of the law regardless if the transgression was one of murder or one of discrimination against a person.

“12 So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. 13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.” (James 2:12-13 AVRLE)

62. The law of liberty gives you the freedom to choose what you will do and what you will speak. If you choose to judge others without mercy, you will be judged without mercy.

Footnotes:

blaspheme – 987. blasfhmew blasphemeo blas-fay-meh’-o; from 989; to vilify; specially, to speak impiously:— (speak) blaspheme(-er, -mously, -my), defame, rail on, revile, speak evil.

respect – 4380. proswpolhptew prosopolepteo pros-o-pol-ape-teh’-o; from 4381; to favor an individual, i.e. show partiality:— have respect to persons.

Worksheet for Lesson 5 (Part 1)

106. What was the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ first established on? James 2:1, Lev 19:15 (54)
A. Practice of the Catholic Religion
B. Laws, ordinances and statutes of His Jewish roots
C. Evangelism of the day
D. Christian Doctrine

107. What human relations lesson did Jesus learn as a child concerning the respect of people? James 2:1, Lev 19:15 (54)
A. Respect the poor
B. Do not honor a person of riches because of the riches
C. Judge each person in righteousness on his own merits
D. All of the above

108. What are you guilty of if you partially choose one person over another because of their riches? James 2:2-4
A. Judging with evil thoughts
B. Lust
C. Coveting
D. All of the above

109. (Let’s Talk)

What examples can you share that illustrates the use of partiality in world affairs?

What examples can you share that illustrates the use of partiality in spiritual affairs?

What is the description of a wicked, worldly poor person?

What is the description of a holy, faithful poor person?

What examples can you share that illustrates the differences between the wicked, worldly poor and the holy, faithful poor?

Where does your line lay in your contempt for the wicked worldly poor and your honor of the holy righteous poor?

Frankly speaking, how can you learn to not have awareness for the things that a poor man brings into your presence (such as unfamiliar odors, clothes and behaviors), and discover the nature of the man through a spiritual and natural process?

Frankly speaking, how can you learn not to be moved toward the rich automatically, desiring their attention and approval for the things that you do?

Frankly speaking, how do you lesson the power a rich man possesses in your congregation, when you are so dependant on his money for your church to survive?

Frankly speaking, how do you increase the participation of a holy and faithful poor person, so the faithful can be honored by his presence and uphold his walk with Jesus Christ?

110. What does the LORD GOD give the poor of this world? James 2:5 (56)
A. Richness in faith
B. Heirs of His Kingdom
C. Privilege of loving Him
D. All of the above

111. If you have ever been looked down upon and oppressed by a rich man, then what would make no sense? James 2:6 (57)
A. That you would feel inferior and lower than him
B. That you would do the same thing to the faithful poor as a Christian
C. That you would feel as if you did not belong in his presence
D. That you would feel that he has power over you

112. What can you do to uphold the name of “Christian”, and “Follower of Jesus Christ”? James 2:7 (58)
A. Give to the poor
B. Preach to the lost
C. Do not cause evil to be spoken about those who choose to walk and serve him
D. Establish ministries

113. (Essay) What is the “royal Law” of our King Jesus Christ that is recorded in scripture? James 2:8 (59)

114. If you show favor toward some people and discriminate against others, what are you guilty of? James 2:9-10 (60)
A. Committing a sin
B. Error in judgment
C. Being a human being
D. Bringing a social order to things

115. What is your spiritual status if you keep the whole law of God, but you break his law against discrimination? James 210-11 (61)
A. You are a transgressor of His Law
B. You are as guilty of breaking His Law as a murderer is
C. You are a sinner and have need for repentance and forgiveness of sin
D. All of the above

116. What law are you exercising if you choose to judge others without mercy? James 2:12-13 (62)
A. Law of sin
B. Law of man
C. Law of liberty
D. All of the above

117. (Essay) What will you receive if you judge others without mercy? James 2:12-13 (62)