Proceeding, James dealt with the effect of faith on conduct. It makes it impossible to show any respect of persons on the ground of the possession of worldly wealth. To show such respect shows that the faith of Jesus Christ is not held. In His eyes wealth or poverty is nothing. The corrective, therefore, for such failure is to be found in the exercise of a faith like that of Christ, which, seeing God, respects men, and gives them the place of honour according to their relationship to Him.
In this connection is found one of the strongest passages in the whole of the letter, revealing the value of faith, and its utter uselessness where it fails to express itself in works. A faith that does not issue in conduct harmonizing with its profession cannot save, is dead in itself, and is barren. The interrelationship between faith and works is illustrated in the cases of Abraham and Rahab, the one the father of the faithful, and the other a woman outside the covenant. In each case faith was the vital principle, but it was demonstrated to be such by the works which it wrought. A faith which does not express itself in conduct is as dead as a body from which the spirit has departed.
The closing declaration summarizes all the section, and is, indeed, the central truth of the whole epistle. Faith will produce action true to the word which it professes to believe. If there be contradictory action, there is therefore no true faith. What man believes he actually does. Therefore true conduct is ever the outcome of true faith.