Ezekiel 14–15; James 2

Idolatrous Elders Condemned

14 Then certain of the eelders of Israel came to me eand sat before me. And the word of the Lord came to me: fSon of man, these men have taken their idols into their hearts, and set gthe stumbling block of their iniquity before their faces. hShould I indeed let myself be consulted by them? Therefore speak to them and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: Any one of the house of Israel who takes his idols into his heart and sets the stumbling block of his iniquity before his face, and yet comes to the prophet, iI the Lord will answer him as he comes with the multitude of his idols, jthat I may lay hold of the hearts of the house of Israel, kwho are all estranged from me through their idols.

Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: lRepent and turn away from your idols, and turn away your faces from all your abominations. For any one of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who sojourn in Israel, kwho separates himself from me, taking his idols into his heart and putting the stumbling block of his iniquity before his face, and yet comes to a prophet to consult me through him, mI the Lord will answer him myself. And nI will set my face against that man; I owill make him a sign and a byword nand cut him off from the midst of my people, pand you shall know that I am the Lord. And if the prophet is deceived and speaks a word, qI, the Lord, have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand against him and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel. 10 And they shall bear their punishment1the punishment of the prophet and the punishment of the inquirer shall be alike 11 that the house of Israel may no more go astray from me, nor rdefile themselves anymore with all their transgressions, sbut that they may be my people and I may be their God, declares the Lord God.

Jerusalem Will Not Be Spared

12 And the word of the Lord came to me: 13 tSon of man, when a land sins against me uby acting faithlessly, and I stretch out my hand against it and vbreak its supply2 of bread and send famine upon it, and wcut off from it man and beast, 14 xeven if these three men, yNoah, zDaniel, and aJob, were in it, bthey would deliver but their own lives by their righteousness, declares the Lord God.

15 cIf I cause wild beasts to pass through the land, and they ravage it, dand it be made desolate, so that no one may pass through because of the beasts, 16 even if these three men were in it, eas I live, declares the Lord God, they would deliver neither sons nor daughters. They alone would be delivered, but fthe land would be desolate.

17 Or gif I bring a sword upon that land and say, Let a sword pass through the land, hand I cut off from it man and beast, 18 xthough these three men were in it, as I live, declares the Lord God, they would deliver neither sons nor daughters, but they alone would be delivered.

19 Or iif I send a pestilence into that land and pour out my wrath upon it with blood, to cut off from it man and beast, 20 even if Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, as I live, declares the Lord God, they would deliver neither son nor daughter. They would deliver but their own lives by their righteousness.

21 For thus says the Lord God: How much more jwhen I send upon Jerusalem my four disastrous acts of judgment, ksword, lfamine, mwild beasts, and npestilence, to cut off from it man and beast! 22 But behold, osome survivors will be left in it, sons and daughters who will be brought out; behold, when they come out to you, and pyou see their ways and their deeds, you will be consoled for the disaster that I have brought upon Jerusalem, for all that I have brought upon it. 23 They will console you, when you see their ways and their deeds, and you shall know that I have not done without cause all that I have done in it, declares the Lord God.

Jerusalem, a Useless Vine

15 And the word of the Lord came to me: qSon of man, how does rthe wood of the vine surpass any wood, the vine branch that is among the trees of the forest? Is wood taken from it to make anything? Do people take sa peg from it to hang any vessel on it? tBehold, it is given to the fire for fuel. When the fire has consumed both ends of it, and the middle of it is charred, is it useful for anything? uBehold, when it was whole, it was used for nothing. How much less, when the fire has consumed it and it is charred, can it ever be used for anything! Therefore thus says the Lord God: vLike the wood of the vine among the trees of the forest, twhich I have given to the fire for fuel, so have I given up the inhabitants of Jerusalem. wAnd I will set my face against them. Though xthey escape from the fire, the fire shall yet consume them, yand you will know that I am the Lord, wwhen I set my face against them. zAnd I will make the land desolate, because athey have acted faithlessly, declares the Lord God.


The Sin of Partiality

My brothers,1 wshow no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, xthe 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, ywhile 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 zjudges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers, ahas not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be brich in faith and heirs of cthe kingdom, dwhich he has promised to those who love him? But you ehave dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who fdrag you ginto court? Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable hname by which you were called?

If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, iYou shall love your neighbor as yourself, you are doing well. But if you jshow 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 khas become guilty of all of it. 11 For he who said, lDo not commit adultery, also said, lDo 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 mthe law of liberty. 13 For njudgment 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 obut does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 pIf a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 qand one of you says to them, Go in peace, be warmed and filled, without giving them the things needed for the body, what good2 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 rapart from your works, and I will show you my faith sby my works. 19 tYou believe that God is one; you do well. Even uthe demons believeand shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21 vWas not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that wfaith was active along with his works, and faith was completed xby his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, yAbraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousnessand he was called a zfriend 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 aRahab the prostitute justified by works bwhen 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.