By: John MacArthur
“My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism” (James 2:1).
People are prone to treat others differently based upon external criteria such as looks, possessions, or social status, but God is utterly impartial. He never shows favoritism and always judges righteously.
Favoritism can be defined as a preferential attitude and treatment of a person or group over another having equal claims and rights. It is unjustified partiality. James 2:1- 13 confronts it as sin and admonishes us to avoid it at all costs.
God’s impartiality is seen throughout Scripture. For example, Moses said to the people of Israel, “The Lord your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality, nor take a bribe. He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing. So show your love for the alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt” (Deut. 10:17-19). Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, warned his judges to rule without partiality because God Himself has “no part in unrighteousness, or partiality” (2 Chron. 19:7).
God’s impartiality is also seen in His gracious offer of salvation to people of every race. In Acts 10:34-35 Peter says, “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right, is welcome to Him.”
God is also impartial in judgment. Romans 2:9-11 says that God will bring “tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil . . . but glory and honor and peace to every man who does good. For there is no partiality with God.”
Our text is a timely admonition because prejudice, discrimination, and bigotry are ever-present evils in our society–both inside and outside the church. I pray that God will use these studies to guard you from favoritism’s subtle influences and strengthen your commitment to godly living.
Suggestions for Prayer:
Ask God to reveal any partiality you might be harboring. As He does, confess it and turn from it.
For Further Study:
Read Ephesians 6:5-9 and 1 Timothy 5:17-21. How does God’s impartiality apply to how you should respond to your co- workers and your church leaders?