WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
JANUARY 11, 2022
TOPIC: PARTIALITY IS A SIN
BY T. O. BANSO
“But if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors” (James 2:9 New King James Version).
The apostle James did not address the book of James to a particular church but to the twelve tribes of the Jews living in all parts of the earth. In other words, he wrote the epistle to Jewish Christians living outside of Palestine. In James 2:1-10, he talked about partiality or favoritism in Christian gatherings. James spoke against partiality to the rich and despise for the poor. However, the principle could also apply to Christians’ interactions outside the church.
James warned his brethren against relating to people based on their appearance. A rich person should not be favoured because of his gold rings and fine clothes while a poor person should not be despised because he is poorly dressed. A rich person should not be given a good place to sit while a poor person should not be ignored or asked to sit on the floor!
James said, “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?” (James 2:1-4 New King James Version).
According to James, there should be no discrimination in the gathering of believers. All believers should be treated not based on their appearance. James said showing partiality makes Christians become “judges with evil thoughts” (verse 4b).
Don’t become a judge with evil thoughts by despising the poor and favouring the rich. It is not your job to judge them. It is your job to love them. It is not your job to judge them based on their financial situation. God made both of them. “The rich and the poor have this in common, the LORD is the maker of them all” (Proverbs 22:2 New King James Version).
When Christians discriminate against the poor either in the church or outside, we show that we are not like our Father, God. Job 34:19 says He is neither partial to princes nor does He regard the rich more than the poor; for they are all the work of His hands. He neither shows partiality nor takes a bribe (Deuteronomy 10:17b; 2 Chronicles 19:7).
The apostle Peter says that God shows no partiality (Acts 10:34). In 1 Peter 1:17, he says the Father, without partiality, judges according to each one’s work. Also, Paul says there is no partiality with God; He shows personal favoritism to no man (Romans 2:11; Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 3:5; Galatians 2:6).
In the world, the poor are often despised and discriminated against but this should not be so in the church. If we despise the poor and favour the rich, in what way then are we different from the world? We should not use the same carnal consideration that they use in the world. And Christians must apply this same principle of nondiscrimination outside the church. Don’t favour the rich and despise the poor.
Hear what Ecclesiastes 9:14-15 says, “There was a little city with few men in it; and a great king came against it, besieged it, and built great snares around it. Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city. Yet no one remembered that same poor man” (New King James Version). Did you see how these ungrateful people despised this wise man after he had saved them just because he was poor? Why didn’t the rich people in that city save them?
James said, “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” (James 2:5-8 New King James Version).
James didn’t say the rich people should be hated because of their riches and the poor people should be favoured because of their poverty. No. He said everyone should be loved and no one should be discriminated against whether rich or poor. Accoding to him, it would be wrong to honour in their assembly the rich people who oppressed the Christians, dragged them to court, and blasphemed the name of the Lord while the poor people were dishonoured.
He said God had chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who loved Him. In other words, a church that favours the rich and despises the poor has a wrong value. It doesn’t value what God values. When you dishonour or despise the poor, you dishonour their Maker.
Partiality is a sin. Unfortunately, many people hardly consider it so. It is a sin against God. “But if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors” (James 2:9 New King James Version). Did you see that? It is not only fornication, adultery, murder, etc. that are sins; partiality is a sin.
James said immediately after verse 9: “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. For He who said, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ also said, ‘Do not murder.’ Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law” (verse 10 New King James Version).
As you run away from other sins, also avoid the sin of partiality whether it is based on socioeconomic status, race, colour, gender, or others. Romans 10:12 says, “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him” (New King James Version). Church leaders must not neglect the poor and pay attention to the rich in the church because of their financial contribution.
We are all brethren in the church and there should be no discrimination. The disciples of the Pharisees and the Herodians, said to Jesus “Teacher, we know that You are true, and teach the way of God in truth; nor do You care about anyone, for You do not regard the person of men” (Matthew 22:16 New King James Version). Take note of the latter part of this scripture: You do not regard the person of men. In other words, Jesus had no respect for a man’s position.
Although they had a wrong motive for commending Jesus – they were hypocrites and came to test Him – what they said about Him was true. Jesus was no respecter of persons. He did not discriminate against the rich or the poor. He was called a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners! (Matthew 11:19; Luke 7:34).
Partiality or favoritism is a sin against God either in church or in the world. Leviticus 19:15 says, “You shall do no injustice in judgment. You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty. In righteousness you shall judge your neighbor” (New King James Version). Also, Exodus 23:3 says, “You shall not show partiality to a poor man in his dispute” (New King James Version).
Other scriptures forbid partiality in judgment (Deuteronomy 1:17; 16:19). Deuteronomy 27:19 says cursed is the one who perverts the justice due to the stranger, the fatherless, and widow. It is wrong to judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked (Psalm 82:2). It is not good to show partiality in judgment (Proverbs 24:23b). Everyone should be equal before the law.
Partiality is a sin. The Bible says whoever is guilty of this is convicted by the law as a transgressor or evildoer (James 2:9). Don’t be partial. Fulfil the royal law which says you shall love your neighbor as yourself (Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 22:39; Romans 13:9; Galatians 5:14). Don’t let your judgment or treatment of people be dependent on their appearance.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, I repent of any way I have violated Your Word and have favoured the rich and despised the poor. Forgive me for discriminating against anyone based on colour, race, gender, economic status, and so. Holy Spirit, help me to love my neighbour as myself and not to despise anyone, especially the vulnerable, either in the church or outside.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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