My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don't show favoritism.
Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in.
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,"
have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
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?
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?
Are they not the ones who are slandering the noble name of him to whom you belong?
If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, "Love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing right.
But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.
For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.
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.
Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom,
because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!
What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?
Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food.
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?
In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
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.
You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder.
You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless ?
Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?
You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.
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.
You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.
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?
As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
"Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!" declares the LORD.
Therefore this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says to the shepherds who tend my people: "Because you have scattered my flock and driven them away and have not bestowed care on them, I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done," declares the LORD.
"I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number.
I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing," declares the LORD.
"The days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land.
In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness.
"So then, the days are coming," declares the LORD, "when people will no longer say, 'As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt,'
but they will say, 'As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the descendants of Israel up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them.' Then they will live in their own land."
Concerning the prophets: My heart is broken within me; all my bones tremble. I am like a drunken man, like a man overcome by wine, because of the LORD and his holy words.
The land is full of adulterers; because of the curse the land lies parched and the pastures in the desert are withered. The [ prophets] follow an evil course and use their power unjustly.
"Both prophet and priest are godless; even in my temple I find their wickedness," declares the LORD.
"Therefore their path will become slippery; they will be banished to darkness and there they will fall. I will bring disaster on them in the year they are punished," declares the LORD.
"Among the prophets of Samaria I saw this repulsive thing: They prophesied by Baal and led my people Israel astray.
And among the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen something horrible: They commit adultery and live a lie. They strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that no one turns from his wickedness. They are all like Sodom to me; the people of Jerusalem are like Gomorrah."
Therefore, this is what the LORD Almighty says concerning the prophets: "I will make them eat bitter food and drink poisoned water, because from the prophets of Jerusalem ungodliness has spread throughout the land."
This is what the LORD Almighty says: "Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD.
They keep saying to those who despise me, 'The LORD says: You will have peace.' And to all who follow the stubbornness of their hearts they say, 'No harm will come to you.'
But which of them has stood in the council of the LORD to see or to hear his word? Who has listened and heard his word?
See, the storm of the LORD will burst out in wrath, a whirlwind swirling down on the heads of the wicked.
The anger of the LORD will not turn back until he fully accomplishes the purposes of his heart. In days to come you will understand it clearly.
I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied.
But if they had stood in my council, they would have proclaimed my words to my people and would have turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds.
"Am I only a God nearby," declares the LORD, "and not a God far away?
Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?" declares the LORD. "Do not I fill heaven and earth?" declares the LORD.
"I have heard what the prophets say who prophesy lies in my name. They say, 'I had a dream! I had a dream!'
How long will this continue in the hearts of these lying prophets, who prophesy the delusions of their own minds?
They think the dreams they tell one another will make my people forget my name, just as their fathers forgot my name through Baal worship.
Let the prophet who has a dream tell his dream, but let the one who has my word speak it faithfully. For what has straw to do with grain?" declares the LORD.
"Is not my word like fire," declares the LORD, "and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?
"Therefore," declares the LORD, "I am against the prophets who steal from one another words supposedly from me.
Yes," declares the LORD, "I am against the prophets who wag their own tongues and yet declare, 'The LORD declares.'
Indeed, I am against those who prophesy false dreams," declares the LORD. "They tell them and lead my people astray with their reckless lies, yet I did not send or appoint them. They do not benefit these people in the least," declares the LORD.
"When these people, or a prophet or a priest, ask you, 'What is the oracle of the LORD?' say to them, 'What oracle? I will forsake you, declares the LORD.'
If a prophet or a priest or anyone else claims, 'This is the oracle of the LORD,' I will punish that man and his household.
This is what each of you keeps on saying to his friend or relative: 'What is the LORD's answer?' or 'What has the LORD spoken?'
But you must not mention 'the oracle of the LORD' again, because every man's own word becomes his oracle and so you distort the words of the living God, the LORD Almighty, our God.
This is what you keep saying to a prophet: 'What is the LORD's answer to you?' or 'What has the LORD spoken?'
Although you claim, 'This is the oracle of the LORD,' this is what the LORD says: You used the words, 'This is the oracle of the LORD,' even though I told you that you must not claim, 'This is the oracle of the LORD.'
Therefore, I will surely forget you and cast you out of my presence along with the city I gave to you and your fathers.
I will bring upon you everlasting disgrace--everlasting shame that will not be forgotten."
After Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim king of Judah and the officials, the craftsmen and the artisans of Judah were carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the LORD showed me two baskets of figs placed in front of the temple of the LORD.
One basket had very good figs, like those that ripen early; the other basket had very poor figs, so bad they could not be eaten.
Then the LORD asked me, "What do you see, Jeremiah?" "Figs," I answered. "The good ones are very good, but the poor ones are so bad they cannot be eaten."
Then the word of the LORD came to me:
"This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'Like these good figs, I regard as good the exiles from Judah, whom I sent away from this place to the land of the Babylonians.
My eyes will watch over them for their good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up and not tear them down; I will plant them and not uproot them.
I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.
" 'But like the poor figs, which are so bad they cannot be eaten,' says the LORD, 'so will I deal with Zedekiah king of Judah, his officials and the survivors from Jerusalem, whether they remain in this land or live in Egypt.
I will make them abhorrent and an offense to all the kingdoms of the earth, a reproach and a byword, an object of ridicule and cursing, wherever I banish them.
I will send the sword, famine and plague against them until they are destroyed from the land I gave to them and their fathers.' "
Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD;
O Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.
If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared.
I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.
My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.
O Israel, put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with him is full redemption.
He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins.