JAMES 1:25: “But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.” (NKJV)
OBSERVATION: Do Christians need the law? How do you view God’s law? When Jesus came to walk among us, the Scriptures that He quoted and read were known as the Law and the Prophets. The Law was what was contained in the first 5 books of the Bible, known as the Pentateuch. Today, there is a vast disagreement among Christians regarding the role of the law in their lives. This is a result of a misunderstanding of God’s law.
God’s law was never given as a means of salvation. If it was a means of salvation we could simply earn our way to heaven by our obedience to the law. Paul writes eloquently about the futility of this viewpoint.
- “Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Romans 3:19-20 NKJV
The problem with viewing the law as a means of salvation is our inability to keep the law. In fact, as we attempt to keep God’s law, we discover that we are sinners – “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” (Romans 3:23). Yet, does this nullify the place of the law in the life of the Christian? Absolutely not!
- “Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also, since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.” Romans 3:27-31 NKJV
The question is – after we are saved by grace through faith – what role does the law then have in our lives? This is the question James is addressing. It is not a means of salvation, but it is a pathway to sanctification. When we are saved by grace through faith, God begins to write His law in our hearts through the Holy Spirit. There is a transformation of our spiritual eyes, and we begin to be restored to God’s original intent for His law. It becomes the law of liberty, as we begin to walk in obedience to it – not in the power of our own works, but in the power of the Holy Spirit!
- “For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous 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 NKJV
We begin to discover the reality of what David wrote in the Book of Psalms.
- “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them Your servant is warned, And in keeping them there is great reward.” Psalms 19:7-11 NKJV
The law, that once proved to be death in the weakness of our flesh, now becomes life and liberty in the power of the Spirit! When David writes – “…And in keeping them there is great reward.”, this is exactly what James is writing when he proclaims,
- “But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”
While there are many aspects of the Old Testament Law that have been fulfilled through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (sacrificial laws), and others that the New Testament declares us free from (dietary and ceremonial laws), God’s moral law and pathway for life still abide. The Creator of the Universe has given us His blueprint for a fulfilled life. It is not found only in the first 5 books of the Bible – it is found in the totality of God’s Word. As we look into God’s Word we discover the true and perfect law of liberty. Jesus said,
- “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:31-32 NKJV
Lord, help me look into Your perfect law of liberty today. As I do, give the grace to obey in the power of the Holy Spirit. Help me enter into your truth fully and completely, and as I do – set me free!
In Jesus Name!