My brothers and sisters, you are believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ. So treat everyone the same.
Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes. And suppose a poor man in worn-out clothes also comes in.
Would you show special attention to the one who is wearing fine clothes? Would you say, "Here's a good seat for you"? Would you say to the poor person, "You stand there"? Or "Sit on the floor by my feet"?
If you would, aren't you treating some people better than others? Aren't you like judges who have evil thoughts?
My dear brothers and sisters, listen to me. Hasn't God chosen those who are poor in the world's eyes to be rich in faith? Hasn't he chosen them to receive the kingdom? Hasn't he promised it to those who love him?
But you have put poor people down. Aren't rich people taking advantage of you? Aren't they dragging you into court?
Aren't they speaking evil things against the worthy name of Jesus? Remember, you belong to him.
The royal law is found in Scripture. It says, "Love your neighbor as you love yourself."#1(Leviticus 19:18)#2 If you really keep that law, you are doing what is right.
But you sin if you don't treat everyone the same. The law judges you because you have broken it.
Suppose you keep the whole law but trip over just one part of it. Then you are guilty of breaking all of it.
God said, "Do not commit adultery."#1(Exodus 20:14; Deuteronomy 5:18)#2 He also said, "Do not commit murder."#1(Exodus 20:13; Deuteronomy 5:17)#2 Suppose you don't commit adultery but do commit murder. Then you have broken the Law.
Speak and act like people who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom.
Those who have not shown mercy will not receive mercy when they are judged. To show mercy is better than to judge.
My brothers and sisters, what good is it if people claim they have faith but don't act like it? Can that kind of faith save them?
Suppose a brother or sister has no clothes or food.
Suppose one of you says to them, "Go. I hope everything turns out fine for you. Keep warm. Eat well." And you do nothing about what they really need. Then what good have you done?
It is the same with faith. If it doesn't cause us to do something, it's dead.
But someone will say, "You have faith. I do good works." Show me your faith that doesn't do good works. And I will show you my faith by what I do.
You believe there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that. And they tremble!
You foolish man! Do you want proof that faith without good works is useless?
Our father Abraham offered his son Isaac on the altar. Wasn't he considered to be right with God because of what he did?
So you see that what he believed and what he did were working together. What he did made his faith complete.
That is what Scripture means where it says, "Abraham believed God. God accepted Abraham because he believed. So his faith made him right with God."#1(Genesis 15:6)#2 And that's not all. God called Abraham his friend.
So you see that a person is made right with God by what he does. It doesn't happen only because of what he believes.
Didn't God make even Rahab the prostitute right with him? That's because of what she did. She gave the spies a place to stay. Then she sent them off in a different direction.
The body without the spirit is dead. In the same way, faith without good works is dead.