Christians in the early church were sometimes guilty of showing partiality between the rich and the poor. Jesus died for all people and He taught against discrimination during His earthly ministry. James gave plain directions regarding the attitude of Christians toward those who were poor. He reasoned that the poor were more likely to be obedient to the teachings of Christ, whereas, the rich were often oppressors of Christians.
When one treats the poor as inferior to himself and to the rich, he is sinning by not showing a love of his neighbor as himself. Other than man’s love of God, Jesus had proclaimed this as the greatest commandment. James pointed out that committing only one sin causes one to be a sinner. Without an attitude of repentance; walking in God’s light and the forgiving blood of Christ, one sin can separate a person from God as much as total rebellion and disregard for all of His commandments.
James taught that only persons who had shown mercy would receive mercy at the judgment. However, in order for that mercy shown to be profitable, it must be accompanied by merciful deeds.