Post with 1 note
1 My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others?
2 For example, suppose someone comes into your meeting dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in dirty clothes. 3 If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, “You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor”—well, 4 doesn’t this discrimination show that your judgments are guided by evil motives?
5 Listen to me, dear brothers and sisters. Hasn’t God chosen the poor in this world to be rich in faith? Aren’t they the ones who will inherit the Kingdom he promised to those who love him? 6 But you dishonor the poor! Isn’t it the rich who oppress you and drag you into court? 7 Aren’t they the ones who slander Jesus Christ, whose noble name you bear?
8 Yes indeed, it is good when you obey the royal law as found in the Scriptures: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 9 But if you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin. You are guilty of breaking the law.
Treat everyone equally. If you treat people better because you like them more, it is actually a sin! God has chosen the poor to inherit the Kingdom of God. Now, I don’t think this means we can’t have best friends, even Jesus had best friends! I do think this means that we should treat everyone- friends, acquaintances, strangers, enemies- with an equal amount of love and respect.
10 For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws. 11 For the same God who said, “You must not commit adultery,” also said, “You must not murder.” So if you murder someone but do not commit adultery, you have still broken the law.
All sins are equal in God’s eyes. Even if you break one law, you are as guilty as someone who broke them all. When you gossip about someone behind their back, you are as guilty and deserving of punishment as a serial killer. Just think about that for a moment. I think this verse should significantly change how we treat other people. When you look at someone you know is sinning, do you instantly put yourself above them? I know I do sometimes. What if, instead of doing that, we thought of ourselves as being just as guilty? It’s a really hard thing to do, but that’s how God sees us. All equally sinful.
12 So whatever you say or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law that sets you free.
We will be judged for everything we do. Everything.
13 There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you.
If we show mercy, God will show us mercy. If we don’t show mercy, God won’t show us mercy.
14 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? 15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?
Faith is shown by action. What good is it to tell a hungry person, “God bless you!” and then leave them? No good at all. Show your faith and give them food to eat. What do your actions show about you and your faith?
17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.
18 Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”
19 You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. 20 How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?
Faith and good deeds are both great, but they go together! God desires for us to have both to truly be his disciples. Even demons believe in God, you need to take it further than just believing! How can you step out further and further in faith? Good deeds are a good place to start.
21 Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. 23 And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” He was even called the friend of God. 24 So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith alone.
25 Rahab the prostitute is another example. She was shown to be right with God by her actions when she hid those messengers and sent them safely away by a different road. 26 Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works.
Look at the examples of Abraham and Rahab (if you don’t know these stories already, check out Genesis 22:1-18 and Joshua 2). They are good people for us to look up to. Not only did they believe in God, but there were willing to risk a lot to put their faith in action. They had faith and good deeds, just as James 2 instructs us to do.
Ultimately, I think this Chapter is very challenging. First of all, it challenges me to take a look at how I live my life. How I treat others, how I look at others, how I live, how I show mercy, how my faith is shown through my actions, and what good I am doing are all things I need to be thinking about daily. I can be improving in these areas more and more, with God’s help.
Verses to Remember (there are a lot this Chapter, I apologize!)
10: For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws.
13: There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you.
15-16: Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?
22: You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete.
26: Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works.
God, please help me to see the areas in my life that need improvement. Help me to treat everyone equally, as you call us to do. It is your job to judge, not mine. Help me to show mercy, just as you show mercy. Holy Spirit, Put me in situations where I can put my faith into action. Show me how I can step out further and further in faith. Help me to live like Abraham and Rahab, willing to risk anything to obey you and build the Kingdom of God. Amen.