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. Chapter 2.

Warning against Partiality

1 MY BROTHERS, believing as you do in our Lord Jesus Christ, who reigns in glory, you must never show snobbery. 2 For instance, two visitors may enter your place of worship, one a well-dressed man with gold rings, and the other a poor man in shabby clothes. 3 Suppose you pay special attention to the well-dressed man and say to him, 'Please take this seat', while to the poor man you say, 'You can stand; or you may sit here [Some witnesses read: Stand where you are or sit here ... . Others read: Stand where you are or sit ...] on the floor by my footstool', 4 do you not see that you are inconsistent and judge by false standards?

5 Listen, my friends. Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he has promised to those 6 who love him? And yet you have insulted the poor man. Moreover, are not the rich your oppressors? 7 Is it not they who drag you into court and pour contempt on the honoured name by which God has claimed you?

8 [ Lv.19.18. ] If, however, you are observing the sovereign law laid down in Scripture, 'Love your neighbour as yourself', that is excellent. 9 But if you show snobbery, you are committing a sin and you stand convicted by that law as transgressors. 10 For if a man keeps the whole law apart from one single point, he is guilty of breaking all of it. 11 [ Ex.20.14, Dt.5.17. ] For the One who said, 'Thou shalt not commit adultery', said also, 'Thou shalt not commit murder.' You may not be an adulterer, but if you commit murder you are a law-breaker all the same. 12 Always speak and act as men who are to be judged under a law of freedom. 13 In that judgement there will be no mercy for the man who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgement.

Faith and Works

14 MY BROTHERS, what use is it for a man to say he has faith when he does nothing to show it? 15 Can that faith save him? Suppose a brother or a sister is in rags with not enough food for the day, 16 and one of you says, 'Good luck to you, keep yourselves warm, and have plenty to eat', but does nothing to supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? 17 So with faith; if it does not lead to action, it is in itself a lifeless thing.

18 But someone may object: 'Here is one who claims to have faith and another who points to his deeds.' To which I reply: 'Prove to me that this faith you speak of is real though not accompanied by deeds, and by my deeds I will prove to you my faith.' 19 You have faith enough to believe that there is one God. Excellent! The devils have faith like that, and it makes them tremble. 20 But can you not see, you quibbler, that faith divorced from deeds is barren? 21 Was it not by his action, in offering his son Isaac upon the altar, that our father Abraham was justified? 22 Surely you can see that faith was at work in his actions, and that by these actions the integrity of his faith was fully proved. 23 [ Gn.15.6. ] Here was fulfilment of the words of Scripture: 'Abraham put his faith in God, and that faith was counted to him as righteousness'; and elsewhere he is called 'God's friend'. 24 You see then that a man is justified by deeds and not by faith in itself. 25 The same is true of the prostitute Rahab also. Was not she justified by her action in welcoming the messengers into her house and sending them away by a different route? 26 As the body is dead when there is no breath left in it, so faith divorced from deeds is lifeless as a corpse.

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