A. Right next to Abraham in the "works hall of fame".
Was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? (James 2:26)Of course Rahab's righteous work included lying (Joshua 2:5-6); her righteous works were tainted and open to criticism. And James plainly states that this all happened back when she was still a prostitute, making no mention himself of any future reform after that date.
It is a misuse of James to try to make him a spokesman for "earning salvation by clean living." When he speaks in his own words, he tells you himself: "I will show you my faith by what I do." (James 2:18)
The message that can change someone who has given up in life is not "Try harder." It is "Your sins are forgiven."