James 2 The Passion Translation (TPT)
The Royal Law of Love Excludes Prejudice
2 My dear brothers and sisters, fellow believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ—how could we say that we have faith in him and yet we favor one group of people above another?[a] 2 Suppose an influential man comes into your worship meeting wearing gold rings and expensive clothing, and also a homeless man in shabby clothes comes in. 3 If you show special attention to the rich man in expensive clothes and say, “Here’s a seat of honor for you right up front!” but you turn and say to the poor beggar dressed in rags, “You can stand over here,” or “Sit over there on the floor in the back,”[b] 4 then you’ve demonstrated gross prejudice among yourselves and used evil standards of judgment!
5 So listen carefully, my dear brothers and sisters, hasn’t God chosen[c] the poor in the world’s eyes to be those who are rich in faith?[d] And won’t they be the heirs of the kingdom-realm he promised to those who love him? 6 But yet you insult and shun the poor in your efforts to impress the rich![e] Isn’t it the wealthy who exploit you and drag you into court? 7 Aren’t they the very ones who blaspheme the beautiful name of the One you now belong to?[f]
For keeping this law is the noble way to live. 9 But when you show prejudice you commit sin and you violate this royal law of love!
10 For the one who attempts to keep all of the law of Moses but fails in just one point has become guilty of breaking the law in every respect! 11 For the same One who tells us, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.”[i] Now if you don’t commit adultery but do commit murder, you are still guilty as a law-breaker. 12 So we must both speak and act in every respect like those who are destined to be tried by the perfect law of liberty, 13 and remember that judgment is merciless for the one who judges others without mercy. So by showing mercy, you take dominion over judgment![j]
14 My dear brothers and sisters, what good is it if someone claims to have faith but demonstrates no good works to prove it? How could this kind of faith save anyone? 15 For example, if a brother or sister in the faith is poorly clothed and hungry 16 and you leave them saying, “Good-bye. I hope you stay warm and have plenty to eat,” but you don’t provide them with a coat or even a cup of soup, what good is your faith? 17 So then faith that doesn’t involve action is phony.[k]
18 But someone might object and say, “One person has faith and another person has works.”[l] Go ahead then and prove to me that you have faith without works and I will show you faith by my works as proof that I believe. 19 You can believe all you want that there is one true God,[m] that’s wonderful! But even the demons know this and tremble with fear before him,[n] yet they’re unchanged—they remain demons.
20 O feeble sons of Adam,[o] do you need further evidence that faith divorced from good works is phony? 21 Wasn’t our ancestor Abraham found righteous before God because of his works when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 Can’t you see how his action cooperated with his faith and by his action faith found its full expression? 23 So in this way the Scripture was fulfilled:
Because Abraham believed God, his faith was exchanged for God’s righteousness.[p]
So he became known as the lover of God![q] 24 So now it’s clear that a person is seen as righteous in God’s eyes not merely by faith alone, but by his works.
25 And the same is true of the prostitute named Rahab who was found righteous in God’s eyes by her works, for she received the spies into her home and helped them escape from the city by another route.[r] 26 For just as a human body without the spirit is a dead corpse, so faith without the expression of good works is dead!
James 2 New International Version (NIV)
2 My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. 2 Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. 3 If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” 4 have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
5 Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? 7 Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?
8 If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,”[a] you are doing right. 9 But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11 For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,”[b] also said, “You shall not murder.”[c] If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.
12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
Faith and Deeds
14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless[d]? 21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,”[e] and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.
25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.