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Show No Partiality

Weekly Devotionals

Show No Partiality

My brothers and sisters,* do you with your acts of favouritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ?* 2 For if a person with gold rings and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and if a poor person in dirty clothes also comes in, 3 and if you take notice of the one wearing the fine clothes and say, ‘Have a seat here, please’, while to the one who is poor you say, ‘Stand there’, or, ‘Sit at my feet’,* 4 have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters.* Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him? 6 But you have dishonoured the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into court?7 Is it not they who blaspheme the excellent name that was invoked over you?

8 You do well if you really fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ 9 But if you show partiality, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. 11 For the one who said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’, also said, ‘You shall not murder.’ Now if you do not commit adultery but if you murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. 13 For judgement will be without mercy to anyone who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgement.

James 2:1-13

In these verses James reminds us that the gospel message redefines the language of the world. The world places value in wealth, power and status whereas Christianity turns these ideas upside down and tells us that the real gems in life are found amongst the poor, disenfranchised and weak. James also reminds us of the key difference between a religious person and a person of faith. Religiousity focuses on the OUTISDE > IN, or doing things in order to get something. Christianity preaches a message of INSIDE > OUT, God changes and blesses the individual and THEREFORE they obey out of gratitude. To put it more simply: for the religious person, God is useful and for the Christian, God is beautiful.

When we reflect on that beauty and as we experience that internal change we become agents of transformation amongst our family, friends, church community and the larger world. The systems of partiality breakdown and Jesus’ love shines brighter.

To illustrate further how radical this call is here is an exerpt taken from “Seize the Day with Dietrich Bonhoeffer” by Charles Ringma). I think it’s appropriate to our theme today:

THE RADICAL JESUS

“For the working-class world, Christ seems to be settled with the church and bourgeois society.” —CHRISTOLOGY

The Jesus portrayed in the Gospels was neither a middle-class conservative nor a political radical. He did not join the Sadducees or the Zealots. Jesus instead paved the way for a creative alternative to these two positions. His way placed God’s concerns at the center of His activity, and it rejected the man-made rules which encouraged religiosity but did not free people from their sin, hopelessness, and social rejection. Clearly, Jesus does not belong first of all to the church but to the world, and certainly not to those who have it all, but to those who hunger for justice and mercy.

Though Jesus does not belong to the religious establishment, but to those who seek Him in their need.

Blessings.