Love All People
2 My dear brothers and sisters, you are believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ. So don’t treat some people better than others. 2 Suppose someone comes into your meeting wearing very nice clothes and a gold ring. At the same time a poor person comes in wearing old, dirty clothes. 3 You show special attention to the person wearing nice clothes. You say, “Sit here in this good seat.” But you say to the poor person, “Stand there!” or “Sit on the floor by our feet!” 4 Doesn’t this show that you think some people are more important than others? You set yourselves up as judges—judges who make bad decisions.
5 Listen, my dear brothers and sisters. God chose the poor people in the world to be rich in faith. He chose them to receive the kingdom God promised to those who love him. 6 But you show no respect to those who are poor. And you know that the rich are the ones who always try to control your lives. And they are the ones who take you to court. 7 And the rich are the ones who insult the wonderful name of Christ, the name by which you are known.
8 One law rules over all other laws. This royal law is found in the Scriptures: “Love your neighbor[a] the same as you love yourself.”[b] If you obey this law, you are doing right. 9 But if you are treating one person as more important than another, you are sinning. You are guilty of breaking God’s law.
10 You might follow all of God’s law. But if you fail to obey only one command, you are guilty of breaking all the commands in that law. 11 God said, “Don’t commit adultery.”[c] The same God also said, “Don’t kill.”[d] So if you don’t commit adultery, but you kill someone, you are guilty of breaking all of God’s law.
12 You will be judged by the law that makes people free. You should remember this in everything you say and do. 13 Yes, you must show mercy to others. If you do not show mercy, then God will not show mercy to you when he judges you. But the one who shows mercy can stand without fear before the Judge.
Faith and Good Works
14 My brothers and sisters, if a person claims to have faith but does nothing, that faith is worth nothing. Faith like that cannot save anyone. 15 Suppose a brother or sister in Christ comes to you in need of clothes or something to eat. 16 And you say to them, “God be with you! I hope you stay warm and get plenty to eat,” but you don’t give them the things they need. If you don’t help them, your words are worthless. 17 It is the same with faith. If it is just faith and nothing more—if it doesn’t do anything—it is dead.
18 But someone might argue, “Some people have faith, and others have good works.” My answer would be that you can’t show me your faith if you don’t do anything. But I will show you my faith by the good I do. 19 You believe there is one God. That’s good, but even the demons believe that! And they shake with fear.
20 You fool! Faith that does nothing is worth nothing. Do you want me to prove this to you? 21 Our father Abraham was made right with God by what he did. He offered his son Isaac to God on the altar. 22 So you see that Abraham’s faith and what he did worked together. His faith was made perfect by what he did. 23 This shows the full meaning of the Scriptures that say, “Abraham believed God, and because of this faith he was accepted as one who is right with God.”[e] Abraham was called “God’s friend.”[f] 24 So you see that people are made right with God by what they do. They cannot be made right by faith alone.
25 Another example is Rahab. She was a prostitute, but she was made right with God by something she did. She helped those who were spying for God’s people. She welcomed them into her home and helped them escape by a different road.[g]
26 A person’s body that does not have a spirit is dead. It is the same with faith—faith that does nothing is dead!
- James 2:8 your neighbor Or “others.” Jesus’ teaching in Lk. 10:25-37 makes clear that this includes anyone in need.
- James 2:8
Quote from Lev. 19:18.
- James 2:11
Quote from Ex. 20:14; Deut. 5:18.
- James 2:11
Quote from Ex. 20:13; Deut. 5:17.
- James 2:23
Quote from Gen. 15:6.
- James 2:23
Quote from 2 Chron. 20:7; Isa. 41:8.
- James 2:25 She helped … road The story about Rahab is found in Josh. 2:1-21.