The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Universal Epistle of the Blessed Apostle James
Brethren, you believe that all glory belongs to our Lord Jesus Christ; do not combine this faith of yours with flattery of human greatness.
Suppose that a man comes into your place of meeting in fine clothes, wearing a gold ring; suppose that a poor man comes in at the same time, ill clad.
Will you pay attention to the well-dressed man, and bid him take some place of honour; will you tell the poor man, Stand where thou art, or Sit on the ground at my footstool?
If so, are you not introducing divisions into your company? Have you not shewn partiality in your judgement?
Listen to me, my dear brethren; has not God chosen the men who are poor in the world’s eyes to be rich in faith, to be heirs of that kingdom which he has promised to those who love him?
And here are you putting the poor man to shame. Is it not the rich who use their power to oppress you? Are not they the very men who drag you into court,
the very men who speak evil of that honoured name, by which you are called?
True, you do well to observe, in their regard, the royal law you find in the words of scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
But if you flatter the great, you incur guilt; the law finds you out in a transgression.
And the man who has failed in one point, though he has kept the rest of the law, is liable to all its penalties:
he who forbids adultery has forbidden murder as well. The murderer, though he be no adulterer, has yet transgressed the law.
You must speak and act like men already on their trial before a law of freedom.✻
The merciless will be judged mercilessly; mercy gives its judgement an honourable welcome.✻
Of what use is it, my brethren, if a man claims to have faith, and has no deeds to shew for it? Can faith save him then?
Here is a brother, here is a sister, going naked, left without the means to secure their daily food;
if one of you says to them, Go in peace, warm yourselves and take your fill, without providing for their bodily needs, of what use is it?
Thus faith, if it has no deeds to shew for itself, has lost its own principle of life.
We shall be inclined to say to him, Thou hast faith, but I have deeds to shew. Shew me this faith of thine without any deeds to prove it, and I am prepared, by my deeds, to prove my own faith.✻
Thou believest that there is only one God; that is well enough, but then, so do the devils, and the devils shrink from him in terror.
Rash soul, wouldst thou be assured that faith without deeds to shew has no life in it?
Think of our father Abraham; was it not by his deeds that he found approval, when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?
See how his faith conspired with deeds done, and through those deeds his faith was realized.
Thus he confirmed the words of scripture, which tell us, Abraham put his faith in God, and it was reckoned virtue in him, and he earned the title of God’s friend.✻
You see, then, that it takes deeds as well as faith if a man is to be justified.
Or again, how did Rahab, the harlot, win God’s approval? Was it not by her deeds, when she harboured the spies and sent them home by a different way?✻
Body separated from spirit is a dead body, and faith separated from good deeds is a dead faith.
The Holy Bible