1. My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.
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?
A. Have no Favouritism
1. My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons:
Gills Exposition puts it like this:
That is, such as have, and hold, and profess the faith of Christ, ought not along with it to use respect of persons, or to make such a distinction among the saints, as to prefer the rich, to the contempt of the poor; and in this exhortation many things are contained, which are so many arguments why such a practice should not be encouraged;"
This is happening today. Is it not sad? I remember not so long ago. The church building was going to be reasonably packed. Because I could not see i.e. eye problems; I was shuffeled to the back of the church because there were visitors there. I believe some consideration could have been executed because of my problem. But no attempt was made to help out. I am not saying this because of hurt. But, I thought at the time, that their attitude was so wrong.
James is saying here that a distinction of the saints should not even be considered. I asked my self with the seating problem. Was I asking for favouritism? No! was the answer that came back to me. I was asking for consideration and if it were not possible then sitting at the back may have been the only answer. But I saw in their shuffling and attitude, that they had favouritism amongst the church.
Our Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is nothing short of the same,without partiality. We have the same Lord, the same faith, the same law of liberty which I discussed in my last blog. i.e the Law of grazing and having the freedom of Christ.
B. Have no partiality between the poor and the rich.
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:"
This is a comparison of the poor man and a rich man coming into a Church i.e. (A Church is an assembly not a building.) It is a comparison of which is easily noticed by others. A man coming in with a gold ring, coming in lovely clothes to that of a man with vile clothes i.e. Clothes that we just cannot stand. clothes that could be unclean, clothes that are not ironed, clothes that are not a persons best to look at.
And then as verse three points out, that a person says to the person wearing the gay clothing. Woops, hold it, gay clothing? In this context, it does not mean the same thing as todays language.
James points out that the man that comes to the church assembly in (gay or magnificent clothing) ie gay means here magnificent clothing.
Let us continue. We say to this person who wears the magnificent clothing to sit here in this nice place. Then we say to the person with the vile (vile clothing: meaning dirty, cheap or shabby) clothing to sit here or to stand here or sit here under my footstool.
This is favouritsm to the person with the magnificent clothing. This is down grading to the person with the dirty, cheap, and shabby clothing.
C. Do not be Judges
4.Then James asks the question. "Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and become judges of evil thoughts?"
Gill says it like this:
a) Are ye not then partial in yourselves…
"That is, guilty of such partiality as must appear to yourselves, and your own consciences must accuse you of; or do not ye distinguish, or make a difference among yourselves, by such a conduct, towards the rich and the poor:"
b) and are become judges of evil thoughts;or
"are distinguishers by evil thoughts"; that is, make a distinction between the rich and the poor, by an evil way of thinking, that one is better than the other, and to be preferred before him.
Encouragement for today: Question: How will we respond to someone coming to church in clothes, style or grooming different to us?