This week at church we spent time looking into James 1:26-2:9, on what constitutes true Christianity. David Traugott showed us from the text of Scripture how the sin of partiality (or what we would call bias in our day) is out of line with the gospel. In other words, our desire to unfairly favor some more than others comes from our pursuit of unity outside of Christ. Or, to put it in simpler terms, we enjoy people who are like us at the expense all others who are called brothers and sisters in Christ.
The question that remained with me throughout the day was, “Are we a church whose love for one another and whose habit of meeting together are based on and explained by the gospel?” At one point, David shared a quote from Daniel Doriani (from his commentary on James), spelling out the implications of true faith:
True faith manifests itself publicly and socially. If someone questions the public display of religion, James says, in effect: “Does the show of religion frighten you? A religion that never shows itself publically frightens me. Intellectual theology, hidden faith, and knowledge that never drives action alarm me. Give me something visible. Prove your faith is real by doing the Word.”
Don’t give me an abstract gospel that fails to transform the way I think, speak, and live. No, give me a gospel with radical implications for every arena of life! Reshape my views on morality and duty. Help me to see that every true duty is born of love, and every true pursuit of purity a pursuit of true joy in Christ for myself and others!
The last line of notes I wrote after Sunday’s message was a question I know I will be returning to time and time again here on this blog: “How does the gospel speak out against the many areas of sin in my life and in our society?”