James 2:9: “But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.”
By this time in James, we know that favoritism is a sin. Remember, favoritism is “Making a value judgment on another person based upon unbiblical criteria.” It isn’t just treating people differently, but doing so because you’ve prescribed worth to them and looked down on someone else.
What does it mean to sin? To sin is to transgress God’s commands or character. When it comes to commands, we can sin by omission-failing to do what we should. We can also sin by commission-doing something we shouldn’t. We can sin in either our thoughts, feelings, speech, or actions. Sin has devastating consequences on our life, most notably death. “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). A lot of Christians focus on that half of the verse. There is good news! Romans 6:23 continues, “but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” There’s a big but in the Bible! All it takes is believing in Jesus’ death and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and defeat of death, and you are saved!
When it comes to living the Christian life, there is a need for ongoing repentance and confession, not to maintain your salvation because Christ does that, but to grow in maturity and holiness. When it comes to the sin of favoritism, we must guard against selective obedience. It is easy to justify bias. If your rich buddies ask you for a favor, you may inconvenience yourself more than you would if a poor brother asked for help. This is wrong. The context of this verse is the “Royal Law” to love your neighbor as yourself. There is no clause for income.
Some questions to consider:
-Are you showing favoritism to anybody right now?
-Are there any hidden sins (related to favoritism or otherwise) that you need to confess?-How can confession of sin lead to maturity and holiness?