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James 2 MSG/NIV - Online Parallel Bible

 
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1 My dear friends, don't let public opinion influence how you live out our glorious, Christ-originated faith. 1 My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don't show favoritism.
2 If a man enters your church wearing an expensive suit, and a street person wearing rags comes in right after him, 2 Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in.
3 and you say to the man in the suit, "Sit here, sir; this is the best seat in the house!" and either ignore the street person or say, "Better sit here in the back row," 3 If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, "Here's a good seat for you," but say to the poor man, "You stand there" or "Sit on the floor by my feet,"
4 haven't you segregated God's children and proved that you are judges who can't be trusted? 4 have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
5 Listen, dear friends. Isn't it clear by now that God operates quite differently? He chose the world's down-and-out as the kingdom's first citizens, with full rights and privileges. This kingdom is promised to anyone who loves God. 5 Listen, my dear brothers: 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 promised those who love him?
6 And here you are abusing these same citizens! Isn't it the high and mighty who exploit you, who use the courts to rob you blind? 6 But you have insulted the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court?
7 Aren't they the ones who scorn the new name - "Christian" - used in your baptisms? 7 Are they not the ones who are slandering the noble name of him to whom you belong?
8 You do well when you complete the Royal Rule of the Scriptures: "Love others as you love yourself." 8 If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, "Love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing right.
9 But if you play up to these so-called important people, you go against the Rule and stand convicted by it. 9 But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.
10 You can't pick and choose in these things, specializing in keeping one or two things in God's law and ignoring others. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.
11 The same God who said, "Don't commit adultery," also said, "Don't murder." If you don't commit adultery but go ahead and murder, do you think your non-adultery will cancel out your murder? No, you're a murderer, period. 11 For he who said, "Do not commit adultery," also said, "Do not murder." If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.
12 Talk and act like a person expecting to be judged by the Rule that sets us free. 12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom,
13 For if you refuse to act kindly, you can hardly expect to be treated kindly. Kind mercy wins over harsh judgment every time. 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!
14 Dear friends, do you think you'll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? 14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?
15 For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved 15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food.
16 and say, "Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!" and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup - where does that get you? 16 If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?
17 Isn't it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
18 I can already hear one of you agreeing by saying, "Sounds good. You take care of the faith department, I'll handle the works department." Not so fast. You can no more show me your works apart from your faith than I can show you my faith apart from my works. Faith and works, works and faith, fit together hand in glove. 18 But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.
19 Do I hear you professing to believe in the one and only God, but then observe you complacently sitting back as if you had done something wonderful? That's just great. Demons do that, but what good does it do them? 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder.
20 Use your heads! Do you suppose for a minute that you can cut faith and works in two and not end up with a corpse on your hands? 20 You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless ?
21 Wasn't our ancestor Abraham "made right with God by works" when he placed his son Isaac on the sacrificial altar? 21 Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?
22 Isn't it obvious that faith and works are yoked partners, that faith expresses itself in works? That the works are "works of faith"? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.
23 The full meaning of "believe" in the Scripture sentence, "Abraham believed God and was set right with God," includes his action. It's that mesh of believing and acting that got Abraham named "God's friend." 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called God's friend.
24 Is it not evident that a person is made right with God not by a barren faith but by faith fruitful in works? 24 You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.
25 The same with Rahab, the Jericho harlot. Wasn't her action in hiding God's spies and helping them escape - that seamless unity of believing and doing - what counted with God? 25 In the same way, 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?
26 The very moment you separate body and spirit, you end up with a corpse. Separate faith and works and you get the same thing: a corpse. 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.