James 2 (Listen)

The Sin of Partiality

My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?

If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it. 11 For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. 13 For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Faith Without Works Is Dead

14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

(ESV)

Next Chapter: Ezekiel 19

Ezekiel 19 (Listen)

A Lament for the Princes of Israel

And you, take up a lamentation for the princes of Israel, and say:

  What was your mother? A lioness!
    Among lions she crouched;
  in the midst of young lions
    she reared her cubs.
  And she brought up one of her cubs;
    he became a young lion,
  and he learned to catch prey;
    he devoured men.
  The nations heard about him;
    he was caught in their pit,
  and they brought him with hooks
    to the land of Egypt.
  When she saw that she waited in vain,
    that her hope was lost,
  she took another of her cubs
    and made him a young lion.
  He prowled among the lions;
    he became a young lion,
  and he learned to catch prey;
    he devoured men,
  and seized their widows.
    He laid waste their cities,
  and the land was appalled and all who were in it
    at the sound of his roaring.
  Then the nations set against him
    from provinces on every side;
  they spread their net over him;
    he was taken in their pit.
  With hooks they put him in a cage
    and brought him to the king of Babylon;
    they brought him into custody,
  that his voice should no more be heard
    on the mountains of Israel.
10   Your mother was like a vine in a vineyard
    planted by the water,
  fruitful and full of branches
    by reason of abundant water.
11   Its strong stems became
    rulers’ scepters;
  it towered aloft
    among the thick boughs;
  it was seen in its height
    with the mass of its branches.
12   But the vine was plucked up in fury,
    cast down to the ground;
  the east wind dried up its fruit;
    they were stripped off and withered.
  As for its strong stem,
    fire consumed it.
13   Now it is planted in the wilderness,
    in a dry and thirsty land.
14   And fire has gone out from the stem of its shoots,
    has consumed its fruit,
  so that there remains in it no strong stem,
    no scepter for ruling.

This is a lamentation and has become a lamentation.

(ESV)

Next Chapter: Proverbs 22

Proverbs 22 (Listen)

  A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches,
    and favor is better than silver or gold.
  The rich and the poor meet together;
    the LORD is the Maker of them all.
  The prudent sees danger and hides himself,
    but the simple go on and suffer for it.
  The reward for humility and fear of the LORD
    is riches and honor and life.
  Thorns and snares are in the way of the crooked;
    whoever guards his soul will keep far from them.
  Train up a child in the way he should go;
    even when he is old he will not depart from it.
  The rich rules over the poor,
    and the borrower is the slave of the lender.
  Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity,
    and the rod of his fury will fail.
  Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed,
    for he shares his bread with the poor.
10   Drive out a scoffer, and strife will go out,
    and quarreling and abuse will cease.
11   He who loves purity of heart,
    and whose speech is gracious, will have the king as his friend.
12   The eyes of the LORD keep watch over knowledge,
    but he overthrows the words of the traitor.
13   The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside!
    I shall be killed in the streets!”
14   The mouth of forbidden women is a deep pit;
    he with whom the LORD is angry will fall into it.
15   Folly is bound up in the heart of a child,
    but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.
16   Whoever oppresses the poor to increase his own wealth,
    or gives to the rich, will only come to poverty.

Words of the Wise

17   Incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise,
    and apply your heart to my knowledge,
18   for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you,
    if all of them are ready on your lips.
19   That your trust may be in the LORD,
    I have made them known to you today, even to you.
20   Have I not written for you thirty sayings
    of counsel and knowledge,
21   to make you know what is right and true,
    that you may give a true answer to those who sent you?
22   Do not rob the poor, because he is poor,
    or crush the afflicted at the gate,
23   for the LORD will plead their cause
    and rob of life those who rob them.
24   Make no friendship with a man given to anger,
    nor go with a wrathful man,
25   lest you learn his ways
    and entangle yourself in a snare.
26   Be not one of those who give pledges,
    who put up security for debts.
27   If you have nothing with which to pay,
    why should your bed be taken from under you?
28   Do not move the ancient landmark
    that your fathers have set.
29   Do you see a man skillful in his work?
    He will stand before kings;
    he will not stand before obscure men.

(ESV)

Next Chapter: Psalm 115

Psalm 115 (Listen)

To Your Name Give Glory

  Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory,
    for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!
  Why should the nations say,
    “Where is their God?”
  Our God is in the heavens;
    he does all that he pleases.
  Their idols are silver and gold,
    the work of human hands.
  They have mouths, but do not speak;
    eyes, but do not see.
  They have ears, but do not hear;
    noses, but do not smell.
  They have hands, but do not feel;
    feet, but do not walk;
    and they do not make a sound in their throat.
  Those who make them become like them;
    so do all who trust in them.
  O Israel, trust in the LORD!
    He is their help and their shield.
10   O house of Aaron, trust in the LORD!
    He is their help and their shield.
11   You who fear the LORD, trust in the LORD!
    He is their help and their shield.
12   The LORD has remembered us; he will bless us;
    he will bless the house of Israel;
    he will bless the house of Aaron;
13   he will bless those who fear the LORD,
    both the small and the great.
14   May the LORD give you increase,
    you and your children!
15   May you be blessed by the LORD,
    who made heaven and earth!
16   The heavens are the LORD’s heavens,
    but the earth he has given to the children of man.
17   The dead do not praise the LORD,
    nor do any who go down into silence.
18   But we will bless the LORD
    from this time forth and forevermore.
  Praise the LORD!

(ESV)

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