In James Chapter 2, we learn about favoritism. We also learn about the correlation of faith and works.
James uses the example of a rich person and a poor person. He says that if you show favoritism on the rich person, then you are judging with evil thoughts. To show favoritism shows that we misunderstand who is important and blessed in the sight of God. When we assume that the rich man is more important to God or more blessed by God, we put too much value in material riches.
He goes on to say that the poor are often rich in faith. This is because they have more opportunity to put their faith in God. Whereas, the rich often oppress others in their pursuit of money. History shows that the rich often do oppress the poor.
James reminds us that favoritism is a sin. He used Leviticus 19:18 to reminds the people that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves.. The poor man is as much our neighbor as a rich person is.
James thought it impossible that someone could genuinely have saving faith with no works. But someone could say he has faith, but fail to show good works. So, the question is valid: Can that kind of faith save him?
If a brother or sister is without clothes and lacks daily food and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, stay warm, and be well fed,” but you don’t give them what the body needs, what good is it? In the same way faith, if it doesn’t have works, is dead by itself.James 2:15-17
It’s simple, faith without works is dead. James goes on to mention to them that even the demons know God is real. This is the fallacy of faith without works. The demons have this type of faith. They acknowledge God is real but don’t do works.
You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.James 2:24
I can be guilty of showing favoritism. Whether it be social status, background, or commonalities… I tend to lean towards some more than others. James makes it clear by quoting Leviticus that everyone is our neighbor, regardless of their background. I need to show the same love to everyone because we are all equal under God.
James also reminds me that a faith without works is a dead faith. He even goes on to compare it to demons, which is hard hitting but true. By believing God is real and doing nothing about it, the kingdom doesn’t grow. God has done an amazing thing for me, so I should be thankful to do works for Him.
God, help me to not show favoritism because you don’t. I don’t deserve the love that you give to me and the salvation you gave to me. Help me to realize we are all equal under you and no one is more important than anyone else.