My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, “You sit here in a good place,” and say to the poor man, “You stand there,” or, “Sit here at my footstool,” have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?
There is no place for prejudice or favoritism in the life of faith led by the Christian. Jesus is the incarnate God of Heaven, and He showed no impartiality or favoritism during His earthly ministry. And as followers of Christ, we are called to do the same. On the contrary, Jesus sought out the humble and lowly things to bring to shame the wise and the rich. And in these passages, James is calling those who show partiality, favoritism or prejudice, “judges of evil thoughts.” He does so because those who do this are themselves looking to either receive gain for their acts of favoritism, or hurt others because of prejudice. So what James is telling us is those who behave this way are not only behaving wickedly, but they are in direct rebellion against God. They have placed themselves at enmity with God, how?
Because God showed us grace, mercy and salvation without prejudice, therefore how can we who call ourselves children of God, not do the same. If Jesus died for us while we were still sinners, while we were still dead in our trespasses and sins and at enmity with God, how can we then show prejudice against those around us. How can we show favoritism for selfish reasons, while treating others wrongly. We should notice that James opens these passages with the term, “my brothers.” James uses the phrase, “my brothers” for our benefit, to help us understand that he is speaking to fellow believers, to Christians and not unbelievers. He does this purposely in order to leave us no room to argue that he is referring to unbelievers lost in the world. James is not speaking to unbelievers, rather, James is speaking to those individuals who claim to be followers of Jesus. Yet they show prejudice, partiality and favoritism, all of which are products of a world at enmity with God and have no place in the life of a follower of Jesus.