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Summary: The ground is level at the cross and we are all on level ground in Jesus Christ!

ALL ON LEVEL GROUND

Text: James 2:1-10

"A deplorable incident happened in the life of Mahatma Gandhi. He said that in his autobiography that during his student days he was interested in the Bible. Deeply touched by the reading of the Gospels, he seriously considered becoming a convert. Christianity seemed to offer a real solution to the caste system that was dividing the people of India. One Sunday he went to church to see the minister and ask for instruction on the way of salvation and other Christian doctrines. But, when he entered the sanctuary, the ushers refused him a seat and suggested that he go back and worship with hi own people. He left and never went back. "If Christians have caste difference also," he said to himself, "I might as well remain a Hindu." (Roy B. Zuck. The Speaker’s Quote Book. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1997, p. 150). Those ushers who refused Gandhi a seat had made an error when they refused one whom Jesus Christ would have welcomed. James 2:1-10 is one of the Biblical passages that addresses the kind of error that people like these ushers sometimes make. The ground is level at the cross and we are all on level ground in Jesus Christ!

CHRISTIAN EQUALITY

Christian equality means that Jesus Christ did not discriminate as to who He came to save. Jesus Christ did not and does not show favoritism! Jesus paid the price for all our sins (First Corinthians 6:20) in full (John 19:30), on the cross. All who are Christian have been baptized into Jesus Christ whereby we have been buried with Jesus in our baptism and raised with Him in His resurrection so that we walk in the newness (Romans 6:3-5) of the abundant life (John 10:10) that Jesus has given us. It is in this newness of life that we are freed from how we were once slaves to sin (Romans 6:6,7), because in Jesus Christ, we are new creatures (Second Corinthians 5:17). Jesus came and broke down all the barriers that divided us so that the ground is level at the cross! Consider Galatians 3:28:-29: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise (RSV)". From all of these things we clearly know that Jesus does not discriminate.

Our actions for better or worse, give a witness as to what we believe about how we are all one in Jesus Christ. Why is it that if Jesus Christ has broken down the dividing barriers, that sometimes we as Christians act in ways as if we are putting the barriers back up? It seems that in every country and culture there is a type of caste system that exists between the "haves" and the "have nots".

It has been said that, "Because we wish others to think well of us, we are prone to substitute image for action. … The ultimate aim of the Christian life is not to look good but to do good. God calls us to serve not just to shine". (Herb Miller. Actions Speak Louder Than Verbs. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1988, p. 123). Jesus Christ mentioned that the way we shine and the way that we serve are related when He said, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 5:16 RSV).

Our faith in shining and our good works in our Christian service go hand in hand because "faith without works is dead" (James 2:17). Christianity is about both our humility and service to each other because we are the keepers of both our brothers and sisters (Genesis 4:9).

There is not supposed to be any division within the body of Christ and we are supposed to have equal concern for one another (First Corinthians 12:25). It is when our concern for each other is genuine that we hurt when our Christian brothers and sisters hurt and rejoice when they rejoice (First Corinthians 12:26). We are members of one another (Romans 12:5). Where is there Christian equality when we give great honor to someone wealthy who is oppressive to the poor and less fortunate at the expense of someone poor and less fortunate (James 2:1-3)? Behavior like that breaks the royal law of loving our neighbors as we love ourselves.

PRACTICING THE ROYAL LAW

When we love our neighbors as we love ourselves, we are practicing the "royal law" (James 2:8). I do not know who the author of this poem is but it is a poem that explains what it means to love our neighbor.

"Love is an attitude---love is a prayer,

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