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But if you show favoritism, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. (James 2:9)
In the New Testament, to be convicted (ἐλέγχω elegchō) means that someone is to be or become proven or shown guilty, rebuked, exposed; refuted, shown one’s fault, implying that there is a convincing of that fault (Mt 18:15; John 3:20; 16:8; Eph. 5:11; 1Ti 5:20; 2Ti 4:2; Tit 1:9; Heb 12:5; James 2:9; Jude 15; Rev 3:19; John 8:9; Jude 22, 23). This will make this a transgressor, lawbreaker (Rom. 2:25, 27; Gal. 2:18; James 2:9, 11; Luke 6:4). That is a person who goes beyond or oversteps the moral boundary or limit of God’s Word. So, if a Christian shows thoughtfulness to a rich man, is considerate, gives him attention, showing interest in him, all is good if he also genuinely displays the same ways to the poor man. If he shows favoritism to the rich man, he has sinned. If he obeys the royal law, he will love all his brothers and sisters in the church alike. He will be showing all unbelievers the same respect, regardless of their status in life.
While these brothers were no longer under the Mosaic Law, this “royal Law” was carried over by Jesus’ statements, as well as Paul’s, being now a part of the law of Christ. In fact, the whole of the Old Testament is encompassed in this law. The principles of the law did not allow for any injustice, whether one was rich or poor. (Lev. 19:15) For this reason, a Christian does well if he shows loving-kindness to a rich man, as long as he would have done the same if the person had been poor. Impartiality is sinning. If one is truly obedient to the “royal law,” he will love all of his neighbors. If he fails to do so, he is a sinner in the eyes of God. The primary meaning of sin (ἁμαρτία hamartia) is missing the mark of perfection. In other words, an impartial person is missing the mark of dealing with someone fairly, lovingly, and justly. This very sin or missing the mark of partiality is condemned in Leviticus 19:15 and Deuteronomy 1:17 and 16:19.
It is God’s standard to be impartial in expressions of love. This means the one playing favorites while claiming to walk rightly with God as to the “royal law” has stepped over the line, transgressing against God. Like the original readers of James’ letter, Christians today need to demonstrate that they are genuine Christians, setting aside all partiality toward any class of people.