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My brothers, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism (James 2:1)
James begins, “my brothers” (ἀδελφός adelphos), which could be a reference to them as Jews and Christians. Even though James was offering some strong correction concerning some very unchristian arrogance, he still referred to his readers as, “my brothers.” This evidences that he did not feel that their thinking and actions meant they had fallen away, but that they just had stumbled in their reasoning. Nevertheless, James does not parse words when it comes to those who claim to call themselves Christian, but their conduct belies that claim, as they lack brotherly love.
The foundation of any true Christian is an active faith in Jesus Christ. Thus, the readers of James’ letter had sidestepped or stumbled in that faith, as they ignored the life and times of Jesus Christ’s three- and half-year ministry. They set aside his example of being impartial, as well as his great love for those who were receptive to his message, and his sadness over those that had ignored him.
His next words, “do not hold your faith (πίστις pistis) in our glorious Lord Jesus” draws our attention to their faith, which is the characteristic feature in the Christian life. What he is saying here is that the Christians do not want to hold views of their faith in Christ, so that they begin to display favoritism to others based on their difference of status or outside conditions in life. The use of the phrase “our glorious (δόξα doxa) Lord Jesus” is to show that the faith in Jesus Christ should never be dishonored.
The Greek word (δόξα doxa), which is rendered “our glorious,” is in apposition to Jesus Christ. In other words, Jesus Christ is the one who all Christians should praise. Jesus was “taken up in glory,” and one day ‘the Son of Man will come in his glory, and all the angels with him, and then he will sit on his glorious throne.” (Matt. 24:30; 25:31) James is making the point that Christian’s faith in their glorious Lord Jesus Christ is not accomplished by giving glory and honor to the wealthy and the powerful, victimizing the poor with disdain as though they were not there. This would actually put them at odds with Jesus Christ, the one who truly matters in the equation. It is one’s “faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ,” which truly matters, not in the wealth and power that one possesses.
“An attitude of personal favoritism” means that they were not to have respect, favoring, some persons while disrespecting others over one’s station in life. Favoritism is so dangerous, as it gives a false representation of who God is. Christians, according to Matthew 5:16 are to be a light unto this world regardless of status or ethnicity or any other reason. Favoritism can be dangerous also in the fact that it defines the worth of an individual based on the externals of a person rather than on the internal heart and soul of the individual.
Favoritism most often places emphasis on the possessions, intellect, or station in life. At its core, bias is selfish because one only seeks to give attention to an individual based on what he thinks that individual can do for him. Favoritism often excludes the ones that God wants and includes the ones that God despises. In turn, favoritism does not place the value of a person in the reality of his heart or in the fact that he was made in the image of God. Instead, it sets the value of an individual based on one’s assumption of how that person to whom they show special attention can benefit him. Many of James’ readers should have known from the Mosaic Law that God forbade favoritism. In Leviticus 19:15, Moses writes, “You shall do no injustice in judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor nor defer to the great, but you are to judge your neighbor fairly.”
We can look at the life of Christ and see that he did not play favorites with people. We see Jesus one moment with a high standing synagogue official (John 5), and then the next moment he is ministering to lepers (Matthew 8:3) who can do him no good. After that, we see him spending time with adulterers (John 8), which were despised. In addition, we see Jesus in one instance spending time with the religious elite Pharisees (Luke 18), then offering his love and attention to little children. (Matthew 19) Jesus does not see himself as being better than anyone else is, even though he was/is the Son of God. In fact, his core apostles were lowly fishermen. (Luke 5) Jesus never based someone’s value on what he felt they could do for him. He placed the value of people in the fact that they were created in the image of his Father. Now, we must qualify a couple of comments here to not pass on any misunderstanding. Jesus did not spend time with sinners (adulterers, the religious elite) socially, but rather, to evangelize them and share the good news with them, hoping they would accept the opportunity.
Further evidence from Scripture that God does not show favoritism is recorded in Deuteronomy 10:17-18. It reads, “For the Lord your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality nor take a bribe. He executes justice for the orphan and the widow and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing.” Peter in talking of the Gentiles said in Acts 10:34-35, “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him.” In addition, the apostle Paul said in Romans 2:11, “For there is no partiality with God.”
 Grammar: relationship between noun phrases: the relationship between two usually consecutive nouns or noun phrases that refer to the same person or thing and have the same relationship to other sentence elements. In the sentence “My son, an actor, lives with me,” the phrase “My son, an actor” is an example of apposition.
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