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Love your neighbour as yourself

1MY friends, you believe in our Lord Jesus Christ who reigns in glory and you must always be impartial.

2For instance, two visitors may enter your meeting, one a well-dressed man with gold rings, and the other a poor man in grimy clothes.

3Suppose 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 stand over there, or sit here on the floor by my footstool,”

4do you not see that you are discriminating among your members and judging by wrong standards?

5Listen, my dear friends: has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to possess the kingdom he has promised to those who love him?

6And yet you have humiliated the poor man. Moreover, are not the rich your oppressors? Is it not they who drag you into court

7and pour contempt on the honoured name by which God has claimed you?

8If, however, you are observing the sovereign law laid down in scripture, “Love your neighbour as yourself,” that is excellent.

9But if you show partiality, you are committing a sin and you stand convicted by the law as offenders.

10For if a man breaks just one commandment and keeps all the others, he is guilty of breaking all of them.

11For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” said also, “You shall not commit murder.” If you commit murder you are a breaker of the law, even if you do not commit adultery as well.

12Always speak and act as men who are to be judged under a law which makes them free.

13In that judgement there will be no mercy for the man who has shown none. Mercy triumphs over judgement.

14WHAT good is it, my friends, for someone to say he has faith when his actions do nothing to show it? Can that faith save him?

15Suppose a fellow-Christian, whether man or woman, is in rags with not enough food for the day,

16and one of you says, “Goodbye, keep warm, and have a good meal,” but does nothing to supply their bodily needs, what good is that?

17So with faith; if it does not lead to action, it is by itself a lifeless thing.

18But someone may say: “One chooses faith, another action.” To which I reply: “Show me this faith you speak of with no actions to prove it, while I by my actions will prove to you my faith.”

19You have faith and believe that there is one God. Excellent! Even demons have faith like that, and it makes them tremble.

20Do you have to be told, you fool, that faith divorced from action is futile?

21Was it not by his action, in offering his son Isaac upon the altar, that our father Abraham was justified?

22Surely you can see faith was at work in his actions, and by these actions his faith was perfected?

23Here was fulfilment of the words of scripture: “Abraham put his faith in God, and that faith was counted to him as righteousness,” and he was called “God's friend”.

24You see then it is by action and not by faith alone that a man is justified.

25The same is true also of the prostitute Rahab. Was she not justified by her action in welcoming the messengers into her house and sending them away by a different route?

26As the body is dead when there is no breath left in it, so faith divorced from action is dead.

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