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The Gift New Testament

A free online Bible study resource

James

2:1My brothers and sisters, do not show favoritism; honor the faith of our Master Jesus the Anointed!2:2If someone comes to your meeting wearing fine jewelry and fancy clothes, and another in filthy rags,2:3you tell the rich one to take the seat of honor and the poor one to stand in the back like a slave!2:4Did you not discriminate among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?2:5Listen! Doesn’t God choose the poor of the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom promised to those who love him?2:6Yet you insult the poor! Aren’t the rich the ones who harass you and drag you into court?2:7Are they not the ones who speak disrespectfully against the ideal Name you bear?2:8The best thing to do is to fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, “Love others as yourself.”

2:9But if you play favorites you are failing and are exposed by the law as criminals,2:10because anyone who keeps the whole law but trips over just one thing is guilty of lawbreaking nonetheless.2:11The One who said “Do not commit adultery” also said “Do not murder,” so if you don’t commit adultery but do commit murder, you have still broken the law.2:12So speak and act as those who are about to be judged by the law of freedom,2:13for the Judge will show no mercy to those who don’t show mercy. Mercy trumps judgment!

2:14My brothers and sisters, what do you gain when you say you have faith but never act on it? That is not a faith that saves.2:15Suppose a brother or sister is lacking food and clothing,2:16and you just send them away with “Well, I hope you get some food and clothes”; what good is that?2:17In the same way, faith that is never put into action is dead because it is alone.2:18Now someone may say, “You have faith and I have actions.” But without actions, how will anyone know you have faith?2:19So you believe in one God— fine, but so do the demons, who not only believe but shake with fear!

2:20Are you demanding, empty-headed one, to know why this invisible faith is useless?2:21Look at our ancestor Abraham; wasn’t he shown to be just when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar?2:22You can see that his faith and actions worked together, and the actions completed the faith.2:23And that fulfilled the scripture, “Abraham believed God, so he was credited with righteousness,” and he was called the Friend of God.2:24So you can see that a person is shown to be righteous from works and not only from faith.2:25Likewise with the prostitute Rahab; was she not shown to be righteous by her actions when she sheltered the army scouts and then sent them out by another route?2:26Just as the body is dead when separated from the spirit, so also faith is dead when separated from actions.