James 2:4

Monday, 1 July 2019

…have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? James 2:4

James now completes his thoughts concerning “partiality” which began in verse 2:1. The NKJV says, “have you not shown partiality among yourselves.” This makes it sound like he is confirming his idea in 2:1 concerning partiality. However, he gives an entirely different word here than there. In 2:1, he mentioned partiality with the word prosópolémpsia. He now speaks not of partiality, but of division by using the word, diakrinó.

The thought is correctly reflected in the Aramaic Bible with, “are you not divided in your souls.” As Vincent’s Word Studies states, “The meaning here is, therefore, that, in making a distinction between the rich and the poor, they expressed a doubt concerning the faith which they professed, and which abolished such distinctions.”

He is referring not to the partiality of verse 2:1, but of the faith itself. The faith of the people is to say, “We are all one in Christ” (see Galatians 3:28), but by making decisions based on partiality, the faith itself is divided in the mind of the people. How can there be no distinction in Christ if we are making such distinctions? It shows a people who have two minds which are not in agreement.

Understanding this, he then says that this reflects that they have “become judges with evil thoughts.” Christ is one, and those in Christ are one. But in dividing believers as they have, they reflect a mind with evil thoughts concerning dividing the parts of a united whole.

A suitable example of what this is referring to might be displaying this attitude towards one of the fifty states within the United States of America. Each is to have equal representation in the Senate based on statehood – two senators. And each is to have equal representation in the House based on population – 1 representative for a set amount of people within each state.

However, because one state has lots of representatives (equate this to the rich guy with the gold ring and the fancy duds), the president says to a senator representing that state, “You come sit here at my table.” However, another state has only a few representatives (equate this to the guy in dirty clothes), the president says, “You wait over there in the chair by the door.” In so doing, he has shown partiality which is not supposed to exist in dealing with the states, and he has become divided in his mind concerning the intent and purpose of the constitution which frames the government. In this, he has become a judge with evil thoughts.

Life application: Be careful how you look on others and accept them as God’s image-bearers regardless of their status according to the world. Instead of degrading others, let us ever exalt the Lord. We all belong at the same level as we live in His presence and as we worship His glory –

“Let us go into His tabernacle;
Let us worship at His footstool.” Psalm 132:7

Lord Jesus, may we feel the conviction of having shown preference to others based on their position, dress, wealth, and so on over those who are less fortunate in this world. Give us the ability to see others as you see them – looking on the heart and beauty of the inner-man rather than the externals, which are so fading. May You be pleased with how we treat our fellow men. Amen.

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