james speaks mostly on the sin of partiality here. but though he mainly addressed the judgment of the rich vs. the poor, i don't think that's where the sin ends. he contrasts the sin of partiality with the law that says "you shall love your neighbor as yourself". therefore, it seems that the ignorance of this law produces and is evidence of partiality. then there are many ways that i can NOT love my neighbor that have nothing to do with their state of finances. and when i do this i am no longer speaking or acting as "those who are to be judged under the law of liberty", but living as though we have not all been given the same mercy; that in some way i deserve it more than my neighbor. hence the last verse: "for judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. mercy triumphs over judgment".
this statement should bring us joy. it should fill us with thanks and humility because it means that God allowed His grace and mercy on us to triumph over our sin.
why, then, does it not instill in me this attitude toward my fellow sinners? why, then, do i have such a hard time granting mercy rather than placing judgment? my pride has convinced me that my sin is not so great. that i was easier to forgive and show mercy to than my neighbor. how twisted.
"what good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith, but does not have works? can that faith save him?"
what's the answer to that question? what kind of faith does not produce work?
"so also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead." (vs. 17)
is dead faith saving faith? can dead faith save us? save me? is it still counted as faith?
some questions i've been thinking about.