You’ve read and heard enough from me already on this chapter of James as well in this century:
2006: Jesus the Bigot
2009: Faith and Works
2015: Parochial Bias:
Our discrimination between church visitors who are well-dressed and ragged continues – but we are in fact resistant to any kind of difference from our narrow demographic, without an alternate standard of what makes ‘us’ distinct…
1 My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favouritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ?
2For if a person with gold rings and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and if a poor person in dirty clothes also comes in,
3and if you take notice of the one wearing the fine clothes and say, ‘Have a seat here, please’, while to the one who is poor you say, ‘Stand there’, or, ‘Sit at my feet’,
4have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?
5Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him?
6But you have dishonoured the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into court?
7Is it not they who blaspheme the excellent name that was invoked over you?
8 You do well if you really fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’
9But if you show partiality, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.
10For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.
11For the one who said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’, also said, ‘You shall not murder.’ Now if you do not commit adultery but if you murder, you have become a transgressor of the law .
12So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty.
13For judgement will be without mercy to anyone who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgement.
14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you?
15If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food,
16and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill’, and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that?
17So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.
18 But someone will say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith without works, and I by my works will show you my faith.
19You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe —and shudder.
20Do you want to be shown, you senseless person, that faith without works is barren?
21Was not our ancestor Abraham justified by works when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?
22You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was brought to completion by the works.
23Thus the scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness’, and he was called the friend of God.
24You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.
25Likewise, was not Rahab the prostitute also justified by works when she welcomed the messengers and sent them out by another road?
26For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead.