Friday after the Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
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.
Concerning the “Close of the Commandments” Dr. Luther writes, “God threatens to punish all who break these commandments. Therefore, we should fear His wrath and not do anything against them. But He promise grace and every blessing to all who keep these commandments. Therefore, we should also love and trust in Him and gladly do what He commands.”
St. James makes an admonition against his readers about “partiality” or prejudice. This could well be said of any of us at some time or another. This is a sin that is dear to the old sinful man. We all do it! James tells us that we Christians should “love your neighbor as yourself.”
James is not saying that if we love our neighbor we will be saved. Doing the Law does not save. Nobody does the Law! Those who are trying to be saved by obeying the Law “will be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy.”
In the Lord’s Prayer we pray: “Forgive us our trespasses…” Luther says, “We pray in this petition that our Father in heaven would not look at our sins, or deny our prayer because of them. We are neither worthy of the things for which we pray, nor have we deserved them, but we ask that He would give them all to us by grace, for we daily sin much and surely deserve nothing but punishment. So we too will sincerely forgive and gladly do good to those who sin against us.”
We pray: 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. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.