In The Eyes of The World

Thursday, November 13, 2014, 7:00 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song, “In Keeping Them.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read James 2:1-13 (ESV).

No Partiality

My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

Another word for “partiality” is “prejudice” or “favoritism.” Partiality is defined as “an unfair preference for one person or thing over another.” Prejudice is defined as “a preformed opinion, usually an unfavorable one, based on insufficient knowledge, irrational feelings, or inaccurate stereotypes.” And, favoritism is defined as “the practice of giving special treatment or unfair advantages to a person or group” (Encarta). I believe all three of these definitions, combined together, give us an accurate picture of what is being discussed here.

Who are the “poor” being spoken of here? The NIV84 translates the “poor in the world” as the “poor in the eyes of the world.” I believe that translation fits with this context, as the passage is speaking here of personal prejudice, which is based off the unfavorable opinions and feelings (or beliefs) of human beings, and not based on truth. So, this is not speaking just of those who are physically poor, and even that is relative to where we live, such as a poor person in America might be considered rich in a third world country. This is also speaking of those who are humble and devout in spirit, as is spoken of in the Beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount. They are the scorned and afflicted by the world; the lowly in the eyes of the world who are dishonored and who are treated as garbage (refuse) to be thrown away. They are those who the ungodly world judges as not fit for much; not worthy of consideration; the hated, rejected, abandoned, discarded and despised of this world.

We, as followers of Christ, are not to be involved in such practices as these, especially with regard to our brothers and sisters in Christ. And yet, many within the body of Christ, or who profess to be Christians, treat one another with such disdain as this, and that is wrong! How is the ungodly world to see the Christian life as any different from how they live their lives if we, as professors of Christianity, treat one another no differently from the world, or else we treat one another even worse than what the people of this world treat one another? We are to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth in taking the gospel of Jesus Christ to those in need of a Savior, yet we do this not just by our words, but by how we live our lives.

Pay Attention

Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?

It is obvious by this context that this is not speaking merely of the physically poor, because not all physically poor people are chosen to be rich in faith, nor are all rich people excluded from faith. Again, a more accurate translation of this “in the world” is “unto the world, i.e. the ungodly world being judge” (Source:, i.e. “in the eyes of the world.” So, again, this has to do with prejudicial evaluations of other human beings based off humanistic thinking and reasoning, and not based on the Word of Truth. As well, this is addressed to those who profess Christ as Savior and Lord of their lives, who are acting, behaving and thinking just like the world instead of having the mind of Christ.

I believe this morning that the Lord Jesus would have me focus my attention on the “poor” being those who are humble and contrite in spirit, who love the Lord Jesus and the Word of Truth, and who are following the Lord Jesus in obedience to his Word and in surrender to his will for their lives, all in the power and working of the Spirit of God within them. They are also ones who are putting their lives on the line by speaking publicly the Word of Truth, and by sharing the full (unadulterated) gospel of Jesus Christ in a world where the church is diluting the gospel to make it more pleasing and acceptable to the world, so as not to offend the world. They are being treated with much disdain even by the church, and by church leaders, because they stand on the Word of Truth and do not compromise with the world.

Many professors of Christianity are dishonoring and insulting their fellow Christians, based not in the Word of Truth, but based off the philosophies, thinking and reasoning of the world. They believe the world over believing the Word of God. Although I realize here that there are many interpretations of scripture, and there are disputable differences in what we believe is truth according to the Word of God, yet even if a passage (or passages) of scripture can have more than one possible interpretation, we should NEVER treat one another with such disdain as this merely because we have a difference in belief. That is never ok for us to treat one another that way, especially before an ungodly world. We can disagree, and we can share our beliefs, but we should do so with gentleness and respect.

Yet, I am not speaking here of just differences of interpretation of scripture, where it can have more than one possible interpretation, but I am speaking of Christians who choose to follow the thinking and the ways of this world, and to act just like the world, even though scripture clearly teaches just the opposite. And, not only that, but then they turn around and despise and mistreat their fellow Christians who are following the Word of Truth and who are not conforming to the ways and to the thinking of this world. They publicly insult them and even accuse them of all manner of evil, and just because they are standing on the Word of God, and they are not yielding to the ungodly ways and thinking of this world. These “poor in the eyes of the world” (and in the eyes of the worldly church) are being treated as the scum of the earth, without honor and respect, and as castaways. This should never be! Not only are they dishonoring their own, but they are showing favoritism to the ungodly (antichrist) world, which denies Jesus Christ as Savior. How can this be?

Mercy over Judgment

If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

This phrase, “Mercy triumphs over judgment” is often taken out of context and is used against those who hold to the Word of Truth, and is used in favor of the ungodly. Many are teaching mercy in the sense of giving people “a pass” for sin, i.e. to never confront sin in sinful man, but to be “nice” and accepting of people just as they are, though steeped in sin.

I am not saying we should go around mistreating or being mean to people who are living in sin. May that never be! We should always treat people with love and kindness. But we should not be accepting of sin. We should not choose to ignore sin or to never address it, just because to confront sin, in the eyes of the world, would be considered “unkind”. In my opinion, the most unkind and selfish act for us to do would be for us to never confront people with sin. Thus, we would leave them dead in their sins, without hope of salvation, without hope of relationship with God, and without hope of eternal life with God in glory. For the believer who has returned to living for sin and self, it would leave them out of honest fellowship with God, wandering, without peace and comfort, without direction and purpose, and not walking according to the Spirit, but gratifying the desires of the flesh.

If we truly love our brothers and sisters in Christ, and if we truly love and care for the people of this world, we will tell them the truth about their sin, and we will encourage them with the hope found in God’s word, with the truth of the gospel, and with the promise of healing for their souls via God’s grace and through genuine faith, which includes repentance and obedience (submission; yielding to God and to his Word). As well, if we are treating our fellow believers in Christ with dishonor, insults, and persecutions, etc., just because they don’t believe like we do, or just because they stand on the Word of Truth and don’t compromise and “make nice” with the world, then we need to repent of that sin, and we need to get in God’s Word and learn the truth, and then obey the truth. Amen!

In Keeping Them / An Original Work / June 3, 2014
Based off Ps. 111:10; 19:7-11

Stand in awe of your Lord.
Harken to His teachings.
Follow where He leads you.
Live for Him today.

Through Him you gain wisdom;
Knowledge; understanding.
To my Lord belongs all
Worship and my praise.

Perfect is the Word,
Refreshing souls in His love.
His commands are faithful,
Guiding us each day.

Joy comes to the heart of
Those who love His teachings;
Follow His instructions.
He will light their way.

Abide in the Lord, and
Obey His commandments.
His Word is more precious
Than all of our gold.

By His Word He warns us,
Comforts, and implores us.
When we follow His Word,
There is great reward.