James 2:1-13

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Text: James 2:1-13


I. It is not right for a saved person to show partiality toward others - 2:1

James 2:1 - 1 My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.

The Lord of glory can be understood in the sense of the glorious Lord, the magnificent Lord, the splendorous Lord, the Lord, i.e. the Glory, the Lord from the Glory, i.e. from God the Father, or the Lord from the Glory, i.e. from heaven. It seems best that our Lord Jesus Christ, (the Lord) of Glory is understood in the sense of our Lord Jesus Christ, the (Shekinah) Glory. In John 1:14 , II Corinthians 4:6 , and Hebrews 1:3 the glory of God the Father is seen in Christ. John 1:14 says,

(14) And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

II Corinthians 4:6 says,

(6) For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 1:3 , speaking of Jesus, says,

(3) Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.

With respect of persons is with partiality.

II. James illustrates this principle by contrasting a church visitor who is dressed in fine clothing and who appears wealthy with a visitor who is dressed in shabby clothing - 2:2

James 2:2 - 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.

Although the term for an adult male is used so that what is stated here is stated specifically of a man, it could also be said of a woman.

In goodly apparel is in bright, shining, or radiant clothing. The same terms are translated gay clothing in verse 3.

A poor man is simply a poor, i.e. a poor (one) or a poor (person). It is not limited to being an adult male. It may be a female or a child. Poor is used in the sense of miserable or beggarly.

In vile raiment is in dirty clothing and addresses his appearance. He is not very presentable.

III. The well-dressed guest is treated better than the poorly-dressed guest - 2:3

James 2:3 - 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.

Him that weareth the gay clothing is the one wearing the clothing, the bright (shining or radiant) (clothing). The same term terms translated gay clothing were translated goodly apparel in verse 2.

The poor guest is told, Stand . . . there. Or gives him an option: sit here under my footstool, which means that he is given the privilege of sitting on the floor. It suggests where I can put my feet or by my feet.

IV. When someone gives preferential treatment, it demonstrates that there is partiality based on wrong motives - 2:4

James 2:4 - 4 Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?

A positive answer is expected

Judges are those who reach decisions or those who pass judgments. It is understood here in the sense of critics.

Of evil thoughts describes judges and is understood in the sense of characterized by evil thoughts, with evil thoughts, or full of evil thoughts.

V. Although God has chosen the poor, James' readers have chosen the rich. They have despised the poor even though the rich oppress them, drag them into court, and blaspheme the Lord's name - 2:5-7

James 2:5-7 - 5 Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? 6 But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? 7 Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?

Hearken means hear, listen, or pay attention.

Hath not God chosen? expects a positive answer.

James' readers have despised the poor and apparently pursued after the rich. Yet, it is the rich who have repeatedly dragged them into court.

Oppress you is exploit (or dominate) you and is understood in the sense of, Are not rich men oppressing (i.e. exploiting or dominating) you? Yes, they are.

(Do not rich men) draw you before the judgment seats? is, Are they themselves not drawing (or dragging) you unto law courts?

VI. Believers do well to love their neighbors as they love themselves, but they commit sin and transgress the law when they show favoritism - 2:8-9

James 2:8-9 - 8 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: 9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.

The Scriptures are not only described by James as teaching the royal law in this verse, but also as the word of truth in 1:18, as the engrafted word in 1:21, as a mirror into which a believer looks while comparing his own life with what God expects of him in 1:23, as the perfect law of liberty in 1:25, and as the law of liberty in 2:12, which produces true freedom.

Law is used in the sense of a principle.

This law or principle is royal because it has been given by the King of the kingdom of God.

The royal law is then specified as being thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Ye commit sin is, You are committing sin.

And are convinced is and are being convinced or and are being convicted.

Of the law, where the law refers to the royal law, is by the law. It is this law which produces the conviction.

As transgressors (or violators) tells how they are convicted of sin. They have broken, violated, or transgressed the royal law.

VII. If someone were to keep the whole law except for only one commandment, he has broken the whole law by breaking this one commandment - 2:10-11

James 2:10-11 - 10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. 11 For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.

Shall keep is will keep and suggests will persist in obedience, will observe, will fulfill, or will pay attention to and refers especially to the law and teaching.

The whole law is referring to the entire law or the complete law.

Offend is stumble, trip, make a mistake, go astray, or sin.

In one point is in one (thing), in one (part), or in one (matter).

Guilty is mostly used as a legal term and is understood in the sense of liable or accountable.

Of all suggests of all (points of the law), of all (parts of the law), or of all (matters found in the law).

It is like having a chain and breaking one link. The whole chain is then broken. It does not mean that someone who has committed adultery is necessarily also guilty of having committed murder.

VIII. One should speak and act as someone who will be judged by the law which produces liberty - 2:12

James 2:12 - 12 So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.

Speak ye is be speaking or be talking.

By the law of liberty is through a law of liberty.

By is through or via and expresses intermediate agency. It is through this law of liberty that God, the direct agent, will judge them.

The law of liberty is the principle which produces liberty (or freedom). It is a reference to the Scriptures, which are not only described by James in this verse as the law of liberty, which produces true freedom, but also as the word of truth in 1:18, as the engrafted word in 1:21, as a mirror into which a believer looks while comparing his own life with what God expects of him in 1:23, as the perfect law of liberty in 1:25, and as teaching the royal law in 2:8. Obedience to the law of liberty results in freedom; whereas, disobedience results in bondage.

IX. Although mercy triumphs over judgment, one who has shown no mercy will have judgment without mercy - 2:13

James 2:13 - 13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.

Verse 13 indicates that one will be judged in the way he has treated others, and one who has been merciful will not be concerned about being judged.

Mercy implies kindness or concern expressed for someone in need in the sense of compassion, pity, or clemency.

Rejoiceth against is triumphs over, and its present tense indicates that this is always the case.

What mercy triumphs over is judgment, which is speaking of condemnation and the sentence that follows. The one who is merciful toward others will be treated with mercy.