Personal Favoritism

My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism. For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, “You sit here in a good place,” and you say to the poor man, “You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives?

(JAMES 2:1–4)

James’s words make for sobering reading. They bring us face-to-face with our own natural tendency toward giving preferential treatment. Moreover, James describes a kind of behavior that’s antithetical to the way God treats us. “He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (MATT 5:45). He withholds His just wrath, mercifully giving us time to repent (ROM 2:2–4).

That is not to deny the special love God has for His elect and the privileges that entail. But He doesn’t make a spectacle of that privileged status by adorning His elect with fancy coats, or with anything else for that matter. Instead of giving us insight into His electing work, we are CALLED to preach the gospel to ALL people (MATT 28:19), AND TO TRUST GOD to draw to Himself those who belong to Him (JOHN 6:44).

If anything distinguishes God’s elect, it is not worldly privilege BUT CHRISTLIKE SUFFERING. God’s chosen people are promised trials and persecution in this life (JOHN 15:18­–20; 1 PET 2:19–21)—and blessed communion with Christ in that suffering (PHIL 3:10).

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