James has been discussing the fact that if we’ve broken any part of God’s law – (which we all have) – then we are guilty of breaking the whole law…
So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. (James 2:12)
As an evangelical Christian, I believe that our salvation is based not on works, but on God’s grace toward us, accessed through our faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. There are no “works” we can do to earn our salvation, and there are no “works” we can do to maintain it. Our salvation is based 100% on the work of Jesus Christ.
Some people get uncomfortable when we stress grace over works, fearing it will lead people to ignore the law and just go on sinning.
First, please remember that we will not completely stop sinning until we get to Heaven. We should never use that as an excuse to keep sinning, but we need to understand that we will continue to struggle with sin on this side of Heaven. While we have a righteous position in Christ, our practice does not always measure up to our position. Even the apostle Paul, who I think was one of the finest Christians who ever lived, wrote about the inner struggle between his “old man” and his “new man.”
While sincere Christians will still struggle with sin, they will not have the attitude that “Jesus died for my sins so I can do what I want.” Sincere Christians hate it when they sin, and they want God’s help to overcome it. We will not reach perfection on this side of Heaven, but with God’s Holy Spirit living in us, we should be growing more like Jesus through the years.
Getting back to our text, what does James mean by the “law of liberty?” It is the law of liberty because Christ has freed us to obey it! To the unsaved, the law means bondage. It shows them where they have sinned, but gives them absolutely no way to redeem themselves. However, because Jesus satisfied the law on our behalf, and paid our penalty for breaking the law, we are now free to obey the law out of love and gratitude – not out of fear. To the pagan (one who does not believe in Jesus as Saviour), the law feels restrictive – just a bunch of do’s and don’ts. But to the believer, the law brings freedom, because we recognize that God’s commands give us a life that is safer and healthier.
We are to speak and act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty, because we will still be judged by the law. It will just be a different kind of judgment. The Bible speaks of two judgments to come: (1) The Judgment Seat of Christ, and (2) The Great White Throne Judgment.
The Judgment Seat of Christ is where Christians will be rewarded for their sincere, faithful service. The Great White Throne Judgment is where non-believers will be judged for their sins, and sentenced to Hell for all eternity, since they did not let Jesus pay their penalty.
How amazing is God’s grace! Without Jesus, we will be judged for breaking the law, but with Jesus, we will be rewarded for keeping the law!
Today’s Good News is that in Christ, we now have the freedom to obey God’s law of liberty out of love, and not out of fear.
Now, go share the Good News…
FAITH in ACTION!
If you are joining us part way through this Journey in James, you can access the devotionals you missed in the archives. (The series started on June 1.)
If this is your first visit to this website, please read the “Featured Post” from March 1, 2018.