Growing a Faith that Works – A Study Through the Book of James – James 2 – Part 11

Eliminate Selective Obedience

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If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,”[b] you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11 For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,”[c] also said, “You shall not murder.”[d] If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.

12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.”  James 2:8-13 NCV

As James continues in his letter, we find a strong argument against selective obedience.  There are times where we like to look at the commandments of God and feels that we can select those which suit us best to obey.  That helps us to feel that we are righteous in following God’s laws.  “I like that God says not to murder anyone so I won’t do that, and I think anyone who does anything like that, should be held accountable, but that other commandment about adultery?  I don’t really care for that one.  I think God will forgive me for that.”

James, in his straightforward language, tells us that we don’t have the right or the authority to select which parts of the law we will keep and which parts don’t apply to us. He says, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.”  The whole law – every commandment – must be kept if we are to be justified by the law of God.  It is sin to show favoritism to people and James reminds us that to break one law is equivalent to breaking them all!  After all James points out, it is the same God who made all of the laws!

Ouch!  James clearly points out what hopeless sinners we really are.  He reminds us that we cannot be justified in the law because if we stumble in just one point, we are guilty of breaking it all.

Like Jesus pointed out in the beatitudes, James reveals that if we are harsh and judgmental, there will be harsh judgment for us.  If we lack forgiveness for others, there will be a lack of forgiveness for us.

Thank God for Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross which releases God’s mercy upon us!  All thanks go to Jesus Christ for His mercy that triumphs over the judgment we deserve from the law.  Since Jesus has been so merciful to us, we then ought to be merciful to others.  Since we have received grace, where there should have been judgment, we should show grace to others.  Since God could easily condemn us, but chooses not too, we should be slow to condemn others.

Oh Lord make me to be more like You. Take over my heart and my will.  Consume my emotions and my mind.  May I treat people as treasures as You see them rather than inconveniences.  Forgive me for the many times I have not been more caring to the needs of others.  Create in me a clean heart O God.  May my hands, be Your hands.  May my feet be Your feet.  May my thoughts, be Your thoughts.  In Jesus’ name, amen.    

 

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