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The Sin of Partiality (v. 1-13)
The big point of this section is that you should treat people the same no matter their station in life. You should not treat the rich guy well and the poor guy like crap.
This is a good message, don't prejudge people based on their appearance, give everyone the same chances.
But then a few verses later, it says that rich people are blasphemers.
It contradicts itself almost immediately. It says we shouldn't be partial, but then it follows that up by saying how terrible rich people are.
You should love your neighbor as yourself.
There we go, more good stuff.
If you break any bit of the law you become accountable for all of it.
And again, the good stuff is followed up by nonsense. If you break one law it is the same as if you had broken any other, or all others I suppose. I've complained about this before, but equating all laws is moronic, lying and murder are equally bad? I'd just like to point out that under this logic, if your child bakes you a pie that tastes terrible and asks if you like it, it is equally bad for you to tell them it tastes good or to stab them in the face.
Guzik triest to argue here that the point is you are not allowed to pick and choose which parts of the law you want to follow, you can't say "I like God’s command against murder, so I’ll keep that one. But I don’t like His command against adultery, so I will disregard it." I disagree with his assertion, look at the verse, it says "if you fail in one point", that doesn't suggest to me that you have decided to ignore the rule, that suggests you tried to keep it and were unable.
Since you have also broken the law, have mercy on other people who have broken the law, for mercy triumphs over judgement.
This is interesting, it would appear that the whole point of telling us that have all broken the law is so that we can have mercy on other people who have broken the law. That's nice, and mercy is good when appropriate, but there are times when judgement is necessary. Just having a blanket statement that you should show mercy is bad. It makes me think of the whole catholic church molestation problem, those priests should not be getting the kind of mercy they are getting from the church, they should be judged, severely. Mercy sounds great when you are talking about someone who stole a loaf of bread to feed his family, but sometimes it is not appropriate.
Faith Without Works is Dead (v. 14-26)
James argues that works are necessary to make faith matter. He compares having faith but doing no works to telling a starving person "Go in peace, be warm and filled" but giving them no food. He then uses examples from the old testament to justify the assertion.
James and Paul seem to be on different pages here. Didn't Jesus abolish the old law and make it so that faith is now all that matters? That being said, should I put this in the good pile? It is saying people should do good things after all, I mean it says you should have faith also, which I don't like, but at least it also says you should do good works...I guess I'll put this as a good item.
For the overview post (If you think I should add or remove stuff from this list please let me know, I think it would make good conversation)
2:3-4 Don't treat poor people worse than you treat rich people.
"if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, "You sit here in a good place,"while you say to the poor man, "You stand over there," or, "Sit down at my feet," have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?"
2:8 Love your neighbor
"If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing well."
2:14 Do good works, faith is not enough
"What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?"
2:7 Rich people are blasphemers
"Are [rich people] not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?"
2:10 All crimes are equal
"For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it."