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Rooted in Christ

The Sin of Partiality

FAITH AT WORK: Devotions through the book of James

“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?” (Jas. 2:5, ESV) 

Partiality seems like a rather obscure sin. Why does James make such a big deal about it? He’s made it clear that it is an affront to the grace of the gospel and contrary to the wisdom of God. It discriminates according to what is esteemed in the eyes of men not God. 

We mentioned that the sin of partiality likely does not make the top ten list of sins we struggle with. But could it be that the sin of partiality is actually a behind-the-scenes player in those top sins of your life?  Lust—a beautiful woman walks in the door of the church and the ushers fall all over themselves trying to greet her. Greed—one guy drives up in a VW and another drives up in a BMW, are you drawn to one over the other? Anger—you see others having want you want and maybe believe you deserve, and you feel a wall of separation going up. 

One the one hand partiality reflects favoritism. On the other it promotes division. It elevates self at the expense of others. It forgets the admonition: “For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?” (1 Corinthians 4:7, NIV84) 

In a sense partiality represents a self-righteousness that acts on the basis of merit rather than grace. In so doing, it adopts the position of judge and decides for itself what is of value rather than seeking the wisdom and ways of God. 

“Father, forgive me for considering myself better than others. Help me adopt the attitude of my Lord Jesus who humbled Himself for the sake of others.”

Stan Gale

Stanley D. Gale (MDiv Westminster, DMin Covenant) has pastored churches in Maryland and Pennsylvania for over 30 years. He is the author of several books, including A Vine-Ripened Life: Spiritual Fruitfulness through Abiding in Christ and The Christian’s Creed: Embracing the Apostolic Faith. He has been married to his wife, Linda, since 1975. They have four children and nine grandchildren. He lives in West Chester, Pa.
Books by Stan Gale

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