The Inseparability of Faith and Actions

Faith and actions are inseparable for the author of the New Testament book of James. He connects faith with how we approach the poor.

“My brothers, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with partiality. For if someone enters into your assembly in fine clothing with a gold ring on his finger, and a poor person in filthy clothing also enters, and you look favorably on the one wearing the fine clothing and you say, ‘Be seated here in a good place,’ and to the poor person you say, ‘You stand or be seated there by my footstool,’ have you not made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?” (James 2:1–4 LEB).

It is always easier to be friends with someone like you than someone who is not. And most people want to befriend the most well dressed person in the room. I know this is obvious, but think on it for a moment. What are the ramifications of this inclination?

The inclination to favor one person over another reveals something about our view of God, others, and faith. When we show partiality to the wealthy person over the impoverished person, we betray a part of our very faith—love for others (Matthew 22:37–40).

God has called us to love others without partiality. He has called us to look at others and do for them, as we would want them to do for us, aside from how they appear or what they have to offer in return. I am sure you already know this to be true, but are you practicing it today? Really, take a moment and think about it: are you loving others without partiality? And if not, how can you change your behavior? How can you change the thoughts you have that led to the negative behavior?

Imagine how incredibly different, and better, the world would be if we loved others without partiality. Think about what it would show to others about Jesus and His love for the world.

(This blog post is part of the series “What James Penned about Poverty.”)

John Barry
John Barry


CEO and Founder of Jesus' Economy. John is the General Editor of the highly acclaimed Faithlife Study Bible and Lexham Bible Dictionary. His new book is Jesus' Economy: A Biblical View of Poverty, the Currency of Love, and a Pattern for Lasting Change. It is widely endorsed by Christian leaders from around the world.