My brethren, you must not make distinctions between one man and another while you are striving to maintain faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, who is our glory.
For suppose a man comes into one of your meetings wearing gold rings and fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man wearing shabby clothes,
and you pay court to the one who wears the fine clothes, and say, 'Sit here; this is a good place;' while to the poor man you say, 'Stand there, or sit on the floor at my feet;'
is it not plain that in your hearts you have little faith, seeing that you have become judges full of wrong thoughts?
Listen, my dearly-loved brethren. Has not God chosen those whom the world regards as poor to be rich in faith and heirs of the Kingdom which He has promised to those that love Him?
But *you* have put dishonour upon the poor man. Yet is it not the rich who grind you down? Are not they the very people who drag you into the Law courts? --
and the very people who speak evil of the noble Name by which you are called?
If, however, you are keeping the Law as supreme, in obedience to the Commandment which says 'You are to love your fellow man just as you love yourself,' you are acting rightly.
But if you are making distinctions between one man and another, you are guilty of sin, and are convicted by the Law as offenders.
A man who has kept the Law as a whole, but has failed to keep some one command, has become guilty of violating all.
For He who said, 'Do not commit adultery,' also said, 'Do not commit murder,' and if you are a murderer, although not an adulterer, you have become an offender against the Law.
Speak and act as those should who are expecting to be judged by the Law of freedom.
For he who shows no mercy will have judgement given against him without mercy; but mercy triumphs over judgement.
What good is it, my brethren, if a man professes to have faith, and yet his actions do not correspond? Can such faith save him?
Suppose a Christian brother or sister is poorly clad or lacks daily food,
and one of you says to them, 'I wish you well; keep yourselves warm and well fed,' and yet you do not give them what they need; what is the use of that?
So also faith, if it is unaccompanied by obedience, has no life in it--so long as it stands alone.
Nay, some one will say, 'You have faith, I have actions: prove to me your faith apart from corresponding actions and I will prove mine to you by my actions.
You believe that God is one, and you are quite right: evil spirits also believe this, and shudder.'
But, idle boaster, are you willing to be taught how it is that faith apart from obedience is worthless? Take the case of Abraham our forefather.
Was it, or was it not, because of his actions that he was declared to be righteous as the result of his having offered up his son Isaac upon the altar?
You notice that his faith was co-operating with his actions, and that by his actions his faith was perfected;
and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, 'And Abraham believed God, and his faith was placed to his credit as righteousness,' and he received the name of 'God's friend.'
You all see that it is because of actions that a man is pronounced righteous, and not simply because of faith.
In the same way also was not the notorious sinner Rahab declared to be righteous because of her actions when she welcomed the spies and hurriedly helped them to escape another way?
For just as a human body without a spirit is lifeless, so also faith is lifeless if it is unaccompanied by obedience.