The main theme of James is that faith devoid of works is not real faith and won’t save anyone. The Reformers used the language: “we are justified by faith alone but not by a faith that is alone.” Faith that is alone is one devoid of works.
Judging by external appearance is at the heart of James 2:1-13. But James is not concerned with whether we are nice to people or not. James is raising a more profound question: how are you looking at the world?
The poor believer will be exalted. The rich unbeliever will be humiliated. It may seem the other way around right now, but if you understand the gospel, it should change your perspective.