Never Show Favoritism
(1) My brothers and sisters, believers in our majestic, glorious Lord Jesus Christ must never show favoritism to one person over another. (2) For if a rich man comes into your church gathering wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man also comes in wearing filthy old clothes, (3) and you show special attention to the rich man and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there,” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” (4) have you not discriminated (made divisions) among yourselves and judged others with evil thoughts?
(5) My brothers and sisters, listen to me. Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of this world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? (6) But you have dishonored (shamed) the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? (7) Are they not the ones who are blaspheming (speaking against) the majestic name of Jesus by which you have been called?
(8) You are doing what is right when you obey the royal law found in Leviticus 19:18, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (9) But if you show favoritism to one person over another, you sin and are convicted by the law of Moses as lawbreakers. (10) For whoever obeys the whole law of Moses and yet fails in just one point is breaking all of it. (11) For Moses tells us in Exodus 20:14, “Do not commit adultery,” and in Exodus 20:13, “Do not murder.” So if you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.
(12) So speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, (13) because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not shown mercy to others. Mercy triumphs over judgment!
Faith Without Works Is Dead
(14) My brothers and sisters, what good is it if someone claims they have faith in God but does not do works? Can this kind of faith save him? (15) Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food, (16) and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm and be well fed,” but does nothing to provide for their physical needs, what good is this kind of faith? (17) In the same way, faith without works is dead (worthless).
(18) But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith without works, and I will show you my faith by my works. (19) You believe that there is one God. Good, you are correct. But even the demons believe that and tremble in fear!
(20) Do not be so foolish! Do you want evidence that faith without works is useless? (21) Was not Abraham our father considered righteous (justified) by works when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? (22) This shows us that Abraham’s faith was active along with his works, and his faith was made complete by what he did. (23) And Genesis 15:6 was fulfilled, for it says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God. (24) The truth is that a person is made right with God (declared righteous, justified) by what he does and not by faith alone.
(25) In the same way, even Rahab the prostitute was considered right with God (declared righteous, justified) after she gave lodging to the Israelite spies and helped them escape by sending them off in another direction. (26) So this is the truth: just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead (worthless).