My dear brothers and sisters, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, never think some people are more important than others.
Suppose someone comes into your church meeting wearing nice clothes and a gold ring. At the same time a poor person comes in wearing old, dirty clothes.
You show special attention to the one wearing nice clothes and say, "Please, sit here in this good seat." But you say to the poor person, "Stand over there," or, "Sit on the floor by my feet."
What are you doing? You are making some people more important than others, and with evil thoughts you are deciding that one person is better.
Listen, my dear brothers and sisters! God chose the poor in the world to be rich with faith and to receive the kingdom God promised to those who love him.
But you show no respect to the poor. The rich are always trying to control your lives. They are the ones who take you to court.
And they are the ones who speak against Jesus, who owns you.
This royal law is found in the Scriptures: "Love your neighbor as you love yourself." If you obey this law, you are doing right.
But if you treat one person as being more important than another, you are sinning. You are guilty of breaking God's law.
A person who follows all of God's law but fails to obey even one command is guilty of breaking all the commands in that law.
The same God who said, "You must not be guilty of adultery," also said, "You must not murder anyone." So if you do not take part in adultery but you murder someone, you are guilty of breaking all of God's law.
In everything you say and do, remember that you will be judged by the law that makes people free.
So you must show mercy to others, or God will not show mercy to you when he judges you. But the person who shows mercy can stand without fear at the judgment.
My brothers and sisters, if people say they have faith, but do nothing, their faith is worth nothing. Can faith like that save them?
A brother or sister in Christ might need clothes or food.
If you say to that person, "God be with you! I hope you stay warm and get plenty to eat," but you do not give what that person needs, your words are worth nothing.
In the same way, faith that is alone -- that does nothing -- is dead.
Someone might say, "You have faith, but I have deeds." Show me your faith without doing anything, and I will show you my faith by what I do.
You believe there is one God. Good! But the demons believe that, too, and they tremble with fear.
You foolish person! Must you be shown that faith that does nothing is worth nothing?
Abraham, our ancestor, was made right with God by what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar.
So you see that Abraham's faith and the things he did worked together. His faith was made perfect by what he did.
This shows the full meaning of the Scripture that says: "Abraham believed God, and God accepted Abraham's faith, and that faith made him right with God." And Abraham was called God's friend.
So you see that people are made right with God by what they do, not by faith only.
Another example is Rahab, a prostitute, who was made right with God by something she did. She welcomed the spies into her home and helped them escape by a different road.
Just as a person's body that does not have a spirit is dead, so faith that does nothing is dead!