How to Be Fair (James 2:1-13)

Sermon Recap

God warns us of the danger of showing partiality based on external appearances, especially among the people of God, and gives us a better way to live by the mercy of Jesus Christ.

1A. The Folly of Favoritism - It Denies the Gospel

God says favoritism is rooted in selfish, evil desires within us that use people to get things that advance our own agendas. This goes against the heart of Christianity, where believers can offer to God nothing more than their failures and sin. In Christ, regardless of our earthly standing, all Christians are rich in faith, heirs who have an inheritance that God gives and cannot be earned.

1B. The Folly of Favoritism - It Break God’s Law

The law of God doesn’t only convict us of sin or inability to save ourselves but it also shows us the best way to love. We need the law to remind us that we are all subject to the same authority under God. Favoritism is our attempt to usurp God’s law of love and become a god for ourselves. Instead, love fulfills the law which is why Jesus loved us perfectly for our sake.

2. We All Need Mercy

Many people think the solution to favoritism is fairness. But fairness doesn’t always work, especially when we consider what we deserve for our sins before God. What we really need is mercy. We need to know that if we screw up, we’re still loved. We need to know that when we live in a manner that doesn’t earn a right to be God’s favorite, we are still His beloved children. Only then will we begin to change how we see and approach others; without partiality or judgment but mercy and love.

Reflection and Discussion Questions


  • How have you been guilty of favoritism? How have you been a victim of it?

  • Why does favoritism contradict the message of the gospel? What does it reveal about the heart of someone who demonstrates partiality?


  • How does God’s law of love (Rom. 13:9-10) keep us from favoritism and help us love our neighbors better?

  • Why is the solution to favoritism not fairness but mercy? What areas of your life have you been shown mercy when a fair judgment would’ve turned out poorly for you?


  • Reflect, confess, and repent of areas in life where you judge others based on external appearances that don’t honor God. Rest in His mercy, knowing you’re forgiven of these sins.

  • Who are the people in your life that are often victims of partiality and don’t receive favorable judgments? Consider ways in which you might serve and love them this week.