Our journey in James continues again this morning. It is good to welcome one of our own to share God’s word with us this morning in Brett Lee-Price. James 2 is written in two sections which is very similar to other chapters in his letter. The first section centres on the issues of favouritism and the damage this can cause to both individuals and the church alike. James claims that favouritism is a great sin – in fact he forbids it in the lives of Christians! Sadly, we are all guilty of favouritism at times. I know that I have and if I am truthful I find it a real struggle at times. Favouritism causes heartache and division. People are left out! People feel hurt! People are isolated when favouritism is allowed to exist.
Tragically, favouritism is often shown to those people who in the world’s eyes have ‘made it’. We want to associate ourselves with those who seem to have it all. James confronts this head on and asks the question, “have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?” James attempts to bring us back to whom the Lord God thinks is important… God has chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world! Perhaps we need to take a good hard look at who we desire to spend our time with and ask the question ‘is our church open to all socioeconomic groups? Is our church a hospital for the sick and lowly?
The second half of James 2 looks at the issue of faith and deeds. This section is hard hitting! James does not mince words when he challenges those who way they have faith but do not put it into action! He is quite condemning to those who say they are Christian but fail to live out the Christian life in serving their Lord! He even suggests that faith without action is dead faith! He takes it one step further when he says that even demons believe that there is one God! There are some wonderful quotes from James concerning faith in these verses. He concludes this section of teaching with the words, “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead!” This is a timely reminder for each one of us as we embark on a new year! Happy new year and may this be a time of great adventure for you as you serve the Living God in ways that will bring glory to Him and joy to your heart!