God has always said show no partiality and we have taken that to mean a whole variety of things in regards to partiality based on race, partiality based on gender, partiality based on religion, partiality based on … you fill in the blank. But here James is very specific when we talk about partiality dealing with socio-economic class. Or if we want to say it in a different way, partiality based upon wealth. Do we treat those who are wealthy any differently from those who are poor? If a person comes into the church during the week and is a bit disheveled and has a “poor” look about them do we assume that they have come to the church for the food bank? Or do we relegate them to a one-time service and don’t expect/want them to come back?
James says that Scripture tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves. In this day and age it is such an important message for us to hear. We have to love our neighbors, all of them, as ourselves. Even if James is addressing economic disparity, we can take that message and apply it to some of the issues which we mentioned before.
He ends the chapter by saying very clearly that faith without works is dead. Isn’t it interesting the Scriptural hero that he points out? He speaks about Rahab who lied to the king’s soldiers so that the Israelite spies would be protected. It was an act, a work, which may or may not have been paired with faith, but it did provide an opportunity for the people of God to enter the promised land. It is this concept which made Luther’s skin crawl. Show me your faith apart from works and I will show you my faith through my works. To underline this fact the author states: faith without works is dead.