Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America

Friday after the Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday

Posted on October 9, 2020 by Pastor Dulas under Devotions
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Scripture: James 2:1-13 (NKJV)
2:1 My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. 2 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, 3 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,” 4 have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?
5 Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts? 7 Do they not blaspheme that noble name by which you are called?
8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well; 9 but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. 11 For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. 13 For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
“For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.” St. James had this taught to him by the Lord. Our Savior preached this very lesson in His sermon on the mount in Matthew’s Gospel. Our Lord Jesus preached a catechetical sermon that showed the Ten Commandments were far, far more difficult to keep than man often supposed. If we even think a thought that stumbles, we are guilty of breaking the whole Commandment.
God teaches this lesson in His Word so we may understand that we are completely incapable of keeping the whole Law! As St. James makes the point that outward appearances and worldly wealth are not consistent with inward faith and righteousness, we are also reminded that outward appearances of keeping the Law do not accurately indicate that God has been obeyed inwardly. In other words, we are tempted to partiality when judging appearances, but the Lord discerns the heart and faith of man.
Instead, Christ teaches us to love according to the whole counsel of His commands. We are to love all people in word and deed, with faith and works. We are to love according to the righteousness of God, not according to wealth or illusions of piety. By faith we remember that all have broken the Law, including us, and so we also love all according to the forgiving grace of Jesus Christ. The proud need to be corrected in the Lord’s discipline, but those who are humble and repentant are exalted in the Gospel of forgiveness!
Prayer: Lord, we beseech Thee, grant Thy people grace to withstand the temptations of the devil and with pure hearts and minds to follow Thee, the only God; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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