James 2:1-13 – Reasons Why God Hates Favoritism

So what exactly are the problems with favouritism?

First, it is so unlike God himself who emphatically declares that He shows no favouritism. His plan of salvation is to bless all nations (Gen12:3, Acts 10:34). Everlasting life is for “whoever” believes (Jn 3:16). This was beautifully reflected in the ministry of the Lord Jesus  whose table fellowship was radically inclusive (Mark 12:13-14). God expects that his people will be similarly open-handed and open-hearted.

Second, when we show favouritism we take it upon ourselves to play the judge when God alone is the glorious Lord of Glory. Human judgment rarely gets beyond superficial appearances. The gospel reframes the poor, the sick, and the difficult as children of God and rulers in waiting to inherit the Kingdom of God. 

Third,… when we favour one person over another, it undoes what God has done. It reverses God’s purposes, and that is why it is evil (James 2:5). In essence, God is saying, “The poor may have just joined your church, but I have loved them from before the creation of the world so don’t dishonour them.

Fourth, favouritism undermines the gospel. By showing preferential treatment to one group over another, we relate to others, not in terms of the gospel of grace, but in terms of how they can advantage us. We become utilitarian where people are reduced to objects for consumption. This is the challenge after church whenever we look over the shoulder of the person we may find a touch boring hoping to be rescued by a more interesting person who shares our interests, or humour.

Fifth, it destroys the church’s witness to the world. Favouritism drags the values of the world into the church of God by rubbing the poor man’s nose into his poverty. The result is that the church ends up looking less and less like our glorious Lord Jesus and more like the patterns of the world (Rom 12:1-2).

[So] when the church culture resists favouritism we become a beacon of light in a world filled with bias, and where prejudice and preferential treatment are the norm. The world addresses the problem of bias by anti-discrimination laws and equal opportunity policies. God solves the problem by going to the heart and wanting us to love whoever God places as our neighbour within our home, work, sport, church and neighbourhood. So who did God plant in the seat next to you?

Ray Galea

Read James 2:1-13 and consider where favoritism might have taken root in your life. While these may not always be favoritism, could the following be indcators? Are there people you shy away from because you find them awkward or weird? Are you prone to give the benefit of the doubt more to certain groups or classes of people? Do you relate differently to the children you find more or less difficult to parent? Are you prone to have better opinions of those who agree with you on Covid-19 issues and lesser opinions of those who disagree? How deep and broad is your generosity to those who cannot repay you?

Oh The Deep, Deep Love by Sovereign Grace

Posted on: April 30, 2020 - 8:00PM

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