James 2 … Consider His Law of Liberty

So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty, (2:12).

James continues to write of God’s Unchangeable Goodness that has eternally changed these Jewish believers through His perfect gift of saving faith. And though they now find themselves separated from home and loved ones, encountering various trials for their faith, they must find the way to survive and thrive in this unwelcoming and hostile environment.

How was their saving faith to prevail under the widespread persecution? How were they to live in a way that would honor their Savior and King?

It may have been tempting to make friends with people in high places, attach themselves to those with clout, get in good with the influencers, perhaps hoping that association with the upper echelon would move them above the persecution. But that would be to again enslave themselves to the ways of the world.

James was calling his readers to walk in God’s great salvation that had set them free from the law of sin and death, that they would live according to the Spirit and thereby relate to others through the freedom they knew in Christ and not by the binding chains of the world system.

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit, (Romans 8:2-4).

The book of James is often called the Proverbs of the New Testament, a book packed with wisdom. And like Proverbs, its content can sometimes seem random in its structure. But surely we know, there can be absolutely nothing that is random about His God-Breathed Word.

And while these believers had been scattered to “random” places and thrust into the face of “random” temptations and trials, God would be faithful to work in these “random” things so as to conform them to the One Who had set them free.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren, (Romans 8:28-29).

And wherever they found themselves, they could rest in the truth that He was faithful to be there with them; and because He was there with them, they would be in His place of Liberty.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty,  (2 Corinthians 3:17).

And through their trials, God would grow them more and more into the image of their Sinless Savior, and His Law of Liberty would set them free to fulfill His Royal Law according to the Scriptures.

 If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well, (2:8).

And as they walked according to His Law of Liberty, they would be set free to speak and act like Jesus.

So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty, (2:12).

Consider His Law of Liberty

  • His Law of Liberty sets us free from attitudes of favoritism.
    • My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism, (2:1).
  • His Law of Liberty sets us free from personal prejudice.
    • have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives? (2:4).
  • His Law of Liberty sets us free to love our neighbor as ourself.
    • If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well, (2:8).
  • His Law of Liberty sets us free from showing partiality.
    • But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors, (2:9).
  • His Law of Liberty sets us free from prideful fault-finding to become triumphant in His mercy.
    • For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment, (2:13).
  • His Law of Liberty sets us free from a useless and dead faith
    • What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? 17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself, (2:14-17).
  • His Law of Liberty sets us free to walk in genuine faith that manifests itself in works.
    • You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. (2:24-26).

How do we respond to His Law of Liberty?

Oh, what the Son of God has done for us so that we could be set free from the requirement of the Law.

For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit, (Romans 8:3-4).

And now His requirement is that we come under His New Covenant through faith in Christ. The question we must grapple with is, does our faith in Christ move us to speak and act as those who are judged by His Law of Liberty?

So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty, (2:12).

Faith is meant to change us, and it is through faith in Christ that we are set free to live as His new creations.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come, (1 Corinthians 5:17).

And when the new comes and the old passes away, that will surely manifest itself in the way we live. But if our life persists in hanging on to the old, and if the only thing about us that has changed is the words we speak, then we must ask ourselves, have we deluded ourselves? Is our faith proving to be effectual as we walk in His Law of Liberty, or are we still being held captive by the law of sin and death?

But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; 24 for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. 25 But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does, (James 1:22-25).

Delusional hearers are nothing more than spiritual zombies, for while there may appear to be life, they are in reality, the walking dead.

You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder, (2:19).

For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead, (2:26).

From NIV Study Bible:

In vv. 14-20,24,26 “faith” is not used in the sense of genuine, saving faith. Rather, it is demonic (v.19), useless, (v.20), and dead (v.26). It is a mere intellectual acceptance of certain truths without trust in Christ as Savior. James is not saying that a person is saved by works and not by genuine faith. Rather, he is saying, to use Martin Luther’s words, that people are justified (declared righteous before God) by faith alone, but not by a faith that is alone. Genuine faith will produce good deeds, but only faith in Christ saves.

Oh, that our faith would be in Christ alone, but not a faith that is alone, but is always accompanied by the good works that glorify our Father in heaven.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 15 nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.16 Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven,”(Matthew 5:15-16).

How then are we to walk in His Law of Liberty so as to produce the good works of faith? We cannot do it apart from His Word.

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free,” (John 8:32).

Let us daily seek Him in His Word that we would learn to walk in His Law of Liberty, that He would grow and conform us to become like our Royal King Who gave His life to love and serve others.

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many, (Mark 10:45).

For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another, (Galatians 5:13).

Let us live each day placing ourselves under His Law of Liberty to perfectly judge all that we do, that through faith we would be set free to live as an extension of His Royal Law to love and serve people, fear God, and honor our King.

If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well, (2:8).

So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty, (2:12).

Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God. 17 Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king, (1 Peter 2:16).

Let’s Grow Together!

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