When faith is lived out
My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? James 2:1:4 ESV
From the text, James is providing an application from what he previously said regarding helping those who are in need. Authentic Christianity is manifested by living out the truth. It is not just about listening to God’s word, memorizing it, or even talk about it but applying God’s word in the way we relate to others. James provided an example on how faith should be manifested in practical ways. The believers during his time were facing tremendous persecutions. There were those who lost their jobs and were forced out from their families because of their faith. The body of believers should be a place where those who are in need should not be ignored. But the sad reality is that they were showing favoritism and ignoring those who are in need in their midst. We are too easily taken up with the superficial and the impressive. Probably this is the result of our consumer-oriented economic system. We are enamored by the advertisements shown during the Super Bowl game. Commercials of nice and expensive cars can actually get people watching the Super Bowl game into the showroom. We celebrate parades and beauty pageants for the sake of displaying physical appearance. We buy expensive sports apparels endorsed by famous athletes to be recognized by the crowd. Such superficial assessment of people may be highlighted in this society of ours, but it is certainly not new or restricted in this culture. This is probably what James was dealing with during his time where people show favoritism. This is surely the opposite of how the church live out their new life in Christ when it was first started. They see to it that needs of those who are poor are being addressed (see Acts 2:44–47). Faith and favoritism will not go hand in hand. They are mutually exclusive. The Lord Jesus Christ had set for us an example that we need to follow. “‘And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, ‘Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone's opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances’” (Matthew 22:16). The Lord Jesus Christ was not impressed with riches and social status as well as appearance. All that mattered to Him was the heart. We should not live like the world. We should allow the word of God planted in our hearts so we can follow Christ’s example.