“My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.” James 2:1
Have you ever felt like people were treating you different from others? Have you ever felt like you were mistreated because of a belief that you had or for the clothes you were wearing or because of something you said?
Most of us have had this experience, and for most of us, it hurts.
James tells us that God hates this type of behavior. He uses the word “partiality.” To be partial to someone means to show them special favor. This isn’t always bad: A father might show special favor to his son in ways that he wouldn’t to his son’s friends. A husband might rightly show special favor to his wife that he would never show to other women.
But in the context of the book of James, he is exhorting his hearers to stop showing special favor to certain groups of people and to start treating everyone the same. In James’ day, there were groups of people who were tempted to mistreat other groups of people, and James wants them to know that this does not honor God. Everyone should have equal value because all are valuable in the sight of God.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
What does God creating humans in his image have to do with this verse?
Are you tempted to be partial to certain types of people?
Father, help us to love as you love. Help us to see your image in each person you have made. We are tempted to be selfish and unloving. Forgive us for this because of Jesus. May the world know that we are your children by the way we love one another. May you use our love as a witness to the truth of who you are. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love (Eph. 6:24). I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first (Rev. 2:4). I have loved you with an everlasting love (Jer. 31:3)
Dear Lord Jesus, I need this closing verse of Ephesians as much as I need air and water, for it calls us to focus of the most important thing in life—to love you with everything we have and are. Don’t let me ever forget, even for one nanosecond, that we love you only because you first loved us and gave yourself for us on the cross.
You didn’t lay down your life for deserving friends, but for rebels, fools, and idolaters—likeme. You love us, you’ve freed us from our sins by your blood, and you’ve made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God and Father forever (Rev. 1:5-6). Now, Jesus, please make the familiar sound of these words come alive with renewed passion and fresh delight.
Even as we first needed grace to respond to your love (Eph. 2:8-10), so we need grace to stay alive to your love, and to grow even deeper in our affection for you. Your love for us is the one constant in our lives—for you love us with everlasting, unwavering, unabated affection. Everything else changes—everything else is subject to whim and fancy. But, unfortunately, our love for you does ebb and flow.
Jesus, give us fresh grace to love you with an undying love. May the cooling of our affections for you bother us more than the fragile economy, our broken relationships, political upheaval in the world, concerns about our health, getting older, or anythingelse. Jesus, don’t let us get used to status quo, middle-class, business-as-usual love for you.
If, by the Holy Spirit, we hear you saying to us this morning, “I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first” (Rev. 2:4), may we welcome it as a great gift, and respond with humility, gratitude and repentance.
For it means you are pursing us, and that you delight in us; it means your banner over us is love and your jealousy is current. That you are jealous for our love, Lord Jesus, is the greatest compliment you could possibly pay us. So very Amen we pray, in your glorious and grace-full name.
For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! Rom. 7:22-25
For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other. Gal. 5:17
Dear Lord Jesus, though I’m conflict avoidant by nature and choice, this is one conflict about which I am actually excited. The very fact that there’s a war going on inside of me is a good thing, especially since the combatants are the gospel and residual sin. For this means the outcome of this war has already been secured. The gospel will prevail! Yet I’m not naïve about the “mop-up” operation. Growing in grace is great, but it gets messy and intense.
The only reason I now delight in God’s law is because the law drove me to you, Jesus. I needed a substitute and a Savior, not a model and a coach. You perfectly met all the demands of law, and you exhausted its judgment against us. Hallelujah, many times over.
The messy part of this war involves your commitment to make us like yourself. Sanctification is certain, and certainly painful at times. You’re more committed to getting “heaven” into us than getting us into heaven. There’s great joy and peace in knowing that, one Day, I’ll be as loving and as lovely as you, for the Father will complete his work in each of his children.
Lord Jesus, now that I’m robed in your righteousness, and free of all guilt and condemnation, let me fearlessly see my sins, ruthlessly hate my sins, and relentlessly repent of my sins. Increase my love for holiness and decrease my self-contempt. Only the gospel can bring me such freedom. Only by seeing more of you will I delight in this liberating journey.
Jesus, you’re the end of all my wretchedness. You’re the one who’s rescuing me from this “body of death”—all the effects and residue of the fall, all the trappings of my grave clothes, every semblance of every way I’m not like you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. So very Amen I pray, in your most powerful and loving
“One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.”—Proverbs 11:24, 25 ESV
And let us consider and give attentive, continuous care to watching over one another, studying how we may stir up (stimulate and incite) to love and helpful deeds and noble activities,
Not forsaking or neglecting to assemble together [as believers], as is the habit of some people, but admonishing (warning, urging, and encouraging) one another, and all the more faithfully as you see the day approaching.
Gracious Father, this Scripture is so encouraging. I find great comfort today in remembering your tenacious commitment to change us—to make each of your children increasingly like Jesus. From beginning to end, salvation is of the Lord. Hallelujah! You began the good work of salvation in us, and you alone are sufficient to complete it.
I’d despair if this wasn’t the case, for the disparity between Jesus’ beauty and my brokenness is overwhelming at times. The thoughts I think; the things I feel; the choices I make, fall very short of the perfection that can only be found in Jesus. I could never be my own savior, and only a great Savior like Jesus is sufficient for someone like me.
As “the God of peace,” you are making me wholly holy—changing me through and through. You’re healing and freeing every part of my being—spirit, soul, and body—from the effects and affects of sin. You’re not anxious about the process. You’re at peace, even when I’m not. You don’t roll your eyes, furrow your brow, clear your throat, or show any signs of a nervous twitch when you think about me. O kind Father, you rest in your love toward me in Jesus.
Lord Jesus, I will be wholly blameless and shameless at your second coming, only because you took our blame and shame upon the cross. Even now, my life is safely hidden in you, and when you do return, I will appear with you in glory; for you are my life—my righteousness, holiness, and redemption (1 Cor. 1:31; Col. 3:4). I boast in you plus nothing, for I have nothing in myself in which to boast. My hope is built on nothing less, nothing more, and nothing other, than your blood and righteousness.
By faith, I actively trust in the righteousness I have passively received in you, Lord Jesus; and I gladly surrender to the ongoing ministry of the Holy Spirit—by whom I’m sealed, with whom I’m indwelt, and through whom I will be safely delivered into your presence. I long for the Day, finally, when I will be as loving and lovely as you are. So very I pray, with peace and joy, in your faithful and kind name.