The Sin of Partiality and Faith and Works, James 2:1-24
This is my first post for the Blogger Small Group so I hope this is the format as intended for the group. I too am quite fascinated with the scripture reading for this week, chosen to be James, Chapter 2. My wife and I even discussed part of this chapter without even knowing it on the way home from our service on Sunday a few days ago, then I read it.
Great choice for this week, and I am already looking forward to the next week. If you would like to join in just visit the link above from Vagabond.
From the Book of James, Chapter 2
I made the mistake of reading Vagabond's well thought interpretation and post on James 2 first, I think next time I will write mine out in full, then read everyone else's. His point was on the basis of discrimination we as Christians have against the homosexual lifestyle. Very interesting comments, never equated these verses to homosexuality but that's what makes these groups great, so many different opinions makes you think again.
To read my comments rant on his post, go read Blogger Small Group and you will see mine and everyone else's comments from the Small Group on James 2.
This chapter was broken up into two pieces, The Sin of Partiality and Faith and Works (always a favorite topic among us Believers, huh). I will just take them in two sections. Some I see go verse by verse, I may do that at some point but I like a contextual look sometimes.
The Sin of Partiality
Chapter 2:1-13 This is one of those "sins" we often forget, I think. It is a natural process we try to go through (to be non-partial that is), of choosing who we think is worthy and not worthy. I think in our time, two distinct groups comes to mind. The homeless and family.
With these two groups as the focus, I think the next section fits right in, and it is no coincidence (to me) that the two groups here, are also the focus of the next section. How many times do we as Believers come across the poor, or the homeless type (I say type here because we have drifters around our cities but not many homeless) and we turn a deaf ear to them.
Homeless. I must have a bulls eye on my head because sometimes I feel like I can rarely go to a gas station without being approached by someone asking for money. It isn't like I am dressed like some high falootin' business man, I am usually in a t-shirt and jeans. But, I have to stop and think. How many other times have I talked to the person getting gas in the pump across the way, or someone inside getting a drink?
Family. How about family members. This one is a hard one because it hits home I think, but how often do we see the effects of a home that shows partiality to one sibling or another? I think it has been well documented that this sin has a great effect on the later lives of the ones involved in this type of sin, in the home.
We should not show partiality or favoritism to any group or people. If we talk someone at the gas station, we should be blind to their financial situation, and we certainly shouldn't show favoritism at home.
Faith and Works
This next section is one of my favorites, and one that is used by churches to get people to do something. The key verse in this section to me is verses 24-26, and I love the way the chapter ends.
24 You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone. 25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
The body without the Spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. What a powerful statement. It is important in how we live this life and what we do.
This is probably one of the most mis-interpreted scriptures as well, at least I hear it taken out of context quite often. What I think this verse IS NOT saying is that we are saved by our works. NO. Many non-believers think you can do good in this life and that will get you to heaven. Wrong. If we read the scripture, it is not by works along. Christ must be involved.
I think this section goes right along with the previous section because it talks about the poor, and the family.
v. 15-16 this clearly shows us that a person in need should have his basic needs met first. How can we offer up the Truth if the person is hungry. The less fortunate of our world, goes right back to the first section on partiality.
v. 21 this is the family section... Abraham was doing an unbelievable work of faith
Ok, so there is my run through on James chapter 2. Let me here your comments below and don't forget to link back here if you have a comment you would like to share. Looking forward to next week as well.