My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism. For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, “You sit here in a good place,” and you say to the poor man, “You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives? …. If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin. James 2:1-4, 8-9A
It happened that when He went into the house of one of the leaders of the Pharisees on the Sabbath to eat bread, they were watching Him closely …. And He also went on to say to the one who had invited Him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, otherwise they may also invite you in return and that will be your repayment. But when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, since they do not have the means to repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” When one of those who were reclining at the table with Him heard this, he said to Him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” Luke 14:1, 12-15
Today's thoughts from today's verses:
God’s plan for reaching the world through Christ unfolds and succeeds as those who have been reached for Christ reach others for Christ. The impetus for there being a plan at all is seen in the famous words, “For God so loved the world he gave his only begotten Son.” “Love for the world” is the key to our being used to reach the world for Christ. God’s love for the world is a love for all people of the world. We must have a love for all people of the world as well. Unfortunately, Christians fall short at loving all the world.
Today’s James passage speaks of having “an attitude of personal favoritism” and how this is inconsistent with “your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ.” Our passage gives one example of personal favoritism, but every one of us can come up with many examples from our own lives. In theory we love all the world, but in reality we make exceptions routinely. When we do this we are not fulfilling the royal law of “loving your neighbor.” Our passage puts it right out there, that loving the world partially is sin.
When we love the world partially, we are not really offering real love even to those we are partial to. This is because when we don’t love the whole world we only have conditional love to offer, and that’s not the love of the royal law nor is it the love that reaches the world for Christ. May God help us to do well at fulfilling the royal law of Scripture to love all people because when we do, we will do well at reaching the world for Christ. This is very much a part of being led in triumph in Christ as we pursue our goal of becoming the best servants of the new covenant that we can possibly be.
Yesterday’s passage from Luke 13 included words of Jesus about a final banquet where all the redeemed through the ages will gather at a banqueting table for a culminating celebration of the triumph of Christ. In today’s Luke 14 passage Jesus speaks about banquets being held in the here and now. His emphasis is very similar to the emphasis of our James passage. We are being called to involve ourselves with people from all walks of life with all kinds of conditions and circumstances. When we are led in triumph in Christ we will become lovers of all people. We will open up our hearts and homes to those who need our love the most. As servants of the new covenant and its provision of redemption in Christ, we will gladly serve the hurting, sick, poor, down-trodden, and troubled people of this world.
These are the ones who are most responsive to the redemptive love of Christ which we have to offer. We are going to spend eternity with all the redeemed who will gather at God’s banqueting table in his kingdom. You can be sure it will be filled with those who were the hurting, sick, poor, down-trodden, and troubled people of this world. How awkward to spend eternity with those we were not willing to be involved with here. However, God is wonderfully at work and we will become lovers of all people who are triumphant as servants of the new covenant.
Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:
Lord, help me to see clearly the distinctions I make among people that lead me into the sin of personal favoritism and partiality. Help me to love the world the way you love the world. Change my heart so that I may be used more fully to reach others for Christ. As a true lover of all people I choose to open my heart and home to all people. Amen!
Posted on Tue, February 26, 2019
by Ken Hart