Mercy Triumphs Over Judgement!

I apologize that last week's notes are so late! The second two weeks in August are some of our busiest weeks of the year (including birthdays for two of our girls. :-)), and this year has been even more full than usual. These notes may be rougher than last week's! 

James 2:1-13

2:1  My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.

"show no partiality"--also translated favoritism--literally, "respecter or persons", looking at the outside instead of the inside--Strongs says,"looking at outward circumstances vs. intrinsic merits".

"as you hold the faith"--to hold, possess, have--
        Faith here is again the Greek word "pistis" from the last couple of weeks. It means belief, trust, confidence. A reminder again from HELPS word study that faith is *always* a gift from God, not something that can be produced by people. 

"in our Lord Jesus Christ"--"Lord" is one exercising absolute rights, ownership; Christ is the Anointed One, the Messiah

"The Lord of glory"--"Glory" = praise, honor, splendor; HELPS says this is shows God's infinite, intrinsic worth.

This is pretty straightforward--a warning not to show partiality or favoritism as we live out our faith. 

Then he gives an example to make sure they get it: 

2:2-4  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?

Again, this is pretty straightforward. Some translations translate "fine clothing" as "lavish attire". "Pay attention" here means giving special regard to. "Sit here in a good place" means "seat of honor" or advantageous or well-perceived place. So, the picture here is of fawning over the wealthy man, making sure he gets the best seat and special attention.

But (the Greek word for "while" here means "but you even") the poor man (one destitute in earthly wealth, the total opposite of the rich) is told to stand or sit on the floor or a low stool at one's feet. The Greek here indicates a place of servitude, being under the complete dominion of another.

You have made distinctions among yourselves--The Greek word here means to distinguish among or judge, to discriminate. The Greek word can be used as either a positive or negative judging/discriminating that can only be determined by context. Here it is obviously the negative.

The word for judge here is the word used for one who tries and decides a case, according to Strong's. It is used in other places of God passing judgment on men and of Christ returning to sit in judgment. Basically, when we discriminate in this way, we are setting ourselves up in God's place. That is not a good place to be!

Evil thoughts - - Evil means bad, wicked, malicious. The word used here for thoughts refers to reaso ing, deliberations, plotting. HELPS Word Studies says, "reasoning that is self-based and therefore confused--especially as it contributes to reinforcing others in discussion to remain in their initial prejudice."

2:5 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?

God has chosen--to choose here is to pick out for Himself, to elect, to select. HELPS Word Studies says this is "a highly deliberate choice (real heart preference) with a definite outcome (as with the destination of divine selection for salvation)."

What a blessed, wonderful, comforting thought that He has chosen the poor of this world--for what?? To be rich in faith and heirs of His kingdom!

To be rich in faith is to be abounding in, wealthy. It's the Greek word "plousios". HELPS says of this:

"properly, fully resourced; rich (filled), by having God's 'muchness'– i.e. His abundance that comes from receiving His provisions (material and spiritual riches) through faith (pĂ­stis)." 

I love that! "Having God's muchness."  

Faith is again the Greek word pistis, meaning belief, trust. It's is a belief/trust in God that can't be manufactured by man, but must be given from God. HELPS says it is God's divine persuasion, distinct from human belief or confidence yet involving it. 

He has promised the inheritance of His kingdom to those who love Him. His promise is a specific, definite pledge. "Love" here is the Word agapeo, which according to HELPS, means "for the believer, preferring to live through Christ, i.e. embracing God's will (choosing His choices) and obeying them through His power." 

2:6-7 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?

"Dishonored" here means to disgrace or despise. HELPS says, "to treat dishonorably (shamefully, with indignity) because of being perceived as having no value (honor, worth). 

James says that they have disgraced the poor man, while the rich are the ones who treat them harshly and exercise dominion against them. 

HELPS says this of the word "oppress" here--"powerfully bringing someone down (denying them the higher position or blessing they should enjoy). 

These wealthy ones were also the ones blaspheming the" honorable name by which you were called", the name of Jesus. That word blaspheme means to slander, to speak lightly or profanely of sacred things. HELPS says, "refusing to acknowledge good (worthy of respect, veneration), hence to blaspheme, which reverses moral values." 

This sounds so much like our society today! Blasphemy is rampant. Profanity means to make common that which is holy. We see people speaking lightly of the sacred all the time, making common that which is holy, refusing to acknowledge good as good, call g good evil and evil good. God says that we are not to honor these people, to give special attention to them. 

He says that the Name by which we are called is honorable and noble. It's is beautiful, valuable, and virtuous. 

2:8-11  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 guilty of 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.

Again, these verses are pretty straightforward. Those who truly obey the law, "love your neighbor as yourself" are doing well--honorably, nobly, rightly. Those who show favoritism sin and are reproved rebuked, disciplined. We either keep the law or are convicted by it. 

We can keep every part of the law but one, and we are fully guilty. Our good acts do not atone for our bad ones. Only Jesus's blood can do that. 

2:12-13 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. 13 For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Judgement is sure and certain. We will be found innocent or guilty. We should live accordingly, and show mercy to others as God shows mercy to us. Matthew Henry says:

"The doom passed upon impenitent sinners at last, will be judgment without mercy. But God deems it his glory and joy, to pardon and bless those who might justly be condemned at his tribunal; and his grace teaches those who partake of his mercy, to copy it in their conduct."

Such beautiful words--Mercy triumphs over judgment! The fact that we have experienced mercy over judgement in salvation should cause us to gladly show mercy to those around us. ❤ 

For those in the Thursday Bible study, I'm so sorry to have had to cancel this week! We will cover James 2:14-26 this coming Thursday, August 20. 

No comments: