14 day plan

The Wisdom of James for Life in God’s World

Day 11 of 14


James 2:12-13

12Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Reflection:  With his typical no-holds-barred approach, James reminds us that a fundamental sign of new birth for followers of Jesus is merciful love and pity for those in need. And believers are to approach this issue considering God’s judgement. The “law that gives freedom” here is the content of the Gospels. Our lives are tested against the life and teachings of Jesus, especially his “law of love”. Importantly, our new birth comes as the gift of God (1:17–18) and good works are simply the evidence of that new birth. Echoing Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:7, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy”, James asks those who refuse to show mercy whether they have understood God’s mercy for them. There are some fabulous examples of Christians who have lived this teaching out to great effect. All Christians, though, are called to a principle of active mercy for those in need. Those who have known the mercy of Christ are to strive to reflect that love to everyone they encounter.

Question:  How might you best display God’s mercy and kindness to someone in need this week?

Prayer: Gracious Father, you have been merciful and kind to me, even though I did not deserve it. Please help me to reflect your love to others, especially those in most need. May I be a light to those experiencing dark times. Amen.

James 2:1-26

Favoritism Forbidden

1My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. 2Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. 3If 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,” 4have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

5Listen, 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? 6But 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? 7Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?

8If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. 9But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.

12Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Faith and Deeds

14What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If 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? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

18But 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. 19You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

20You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. 24You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.

25In 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? 26As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.