Perfect-Law-of-Liberty_edited

James 2:12 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

12 So speak and so act as men who are to be judged by the law of liberty.

The Bible difficulty is this: James is saying that the law of God brings liberty into the Christian life, while the apostle Paul says that the Law of Moses is “bearing children into slavery.: (Gal. 4:24) Thus, James’ words seem to be at odds with the apostle Paul. We should take a moment and unpack James’ words.

THE BOOK OF JAMESThe Mosaic law code was not “the law of liberty,” or, literally, a law of freedom. (Gal. 4:24-26) This level of freedom did not belong to the Israelite people but rather to the “Israel of God,” namely, the spiritual Israel, that is genuine Christians within true Christianity. If Christians were judged by the Mosaic Law, it would be a condemnation to death as lawbreakers, receiving no declaration of innocence, with no hope of a resurrection. Therefore, Christians are not judged by the Mosaic law but rather by another law, by “the law of liberty,” literally, that is, a “law of freedom.”[1] In other words, Christians are no longer enslaved to sin and the condemnation of death, that is the sin that the Mosaic Law highlighted. (Rom. 7:8, 10) The Israel of God, namely, “the twelve tribes” of spiritual Israel are not under the Mosaic law but rather, they are under the “law” of the new covenant. (Jer. 31:31-33) Christians, the Israel of God will be judged based on the new covenant. – 1 Peter 2:16.

This law of liberty or law of freedom does not mean that Christians are free to do as they please and need not be obedient to God, as the law has been written on their heart. Through a genuine faith in Jessi Christ, Christians are confident that they will be found favorable on judgment day. They will have shown an evident demonstration of their faith. Jesus Christ is the mediator of this new covenant, and it is based on his propitiatory sacrifice that the new covenant is established and that God may complete the words of that covenant, that is: “I will forgive their error, and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jer. 31:34) Therefore, the ones living under the law of liberty (a law of freedom), they carry themselves, not as though God is seeking them out, to find fault with them, but rather as ones who continue in their walk with God, jealously guarding their covenant relationship with him. – Psalm 130:3-4; Micah 6:8.

Human ImperfectionThe law of the Christ is continually connected with freedom. (John 8:31-32) Of course, there has never been nor will ever be absolute freedom for humankind, it is relative to their position under God’s sovereignty. Nevertheless, the law of liberty or law of freedom offers us far more freedom than its predecessor, the Mosaic Law. Unlike the Mosaic law, no one is born under the law of Christ. Factors such as race and place of birth are immaterial. True, genuine Christians freely choose in their hearts to accept to live under and be obedient to the law of Christ, that is “the law of liberty” or the law of freedom. They do not find the law of Christ to be a burden. (Matt. 11:28-30) We have to remember that the Mosaic Law was a part of the object lesson that God has been teaching mankind since he expelled Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, and it was designed to teach man that he is a sinner worthy of death, who is in dire need of a ransom sacrifice that will redeem him. (Gal. 3:19) The law of Christ, on the other hand, teaches us that the long-awaited Messiah came, paid the ransom sacrifice with his perfect life, freeing us from the terrible oppression of sin and death! – Romans 5:20-21; John 3:16.

John 3.16_05Our trusting in Jesus Christ involves our living by the law of liberty, that is, the law of Christ. This would mean obeying all of Christ’s commands, which does not require that we memorize hundreds of laws and statutes. Moses, the mediator of the old covenant was inspired to pen about 613 laws and statutes, the Mosaic Law for the Israelites, Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant, never wrote down a single law. Rather, he perfectly lived this new covenant, this new law, setting the example for us. We have a pattern to follow by walking in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, as we take in knowledge of his life and ministry. (1 Pet. 2:21) If we recall, we would note that the first-century Christian’s worship was called “The Way.” (Acts 9:2; 19:9, 23; 22:4; 24:22) To those early Christians, the law of the Christ was represented in the life of the Christ. For them and us, to imitate Jesus was to obey the law of Christ. Their intense love for Jesus Christ showed that this law was, in fact, written on their hearts. (Jer. 31:33; 1 Pet. 4:8) If we are obedient because of our great love, we will never feel as though we are being oppressed but rather, we will feel liberated, set free from sin and death.

Love was a central part of the Mosaic Law. Moreover, love is the very essence of the law of Christ. Christian law would include the new command to have a self-sacrificing love for one another. In other words, Christians are to love as Jesus loved, being willing to offer their lives on behalf of their brothers and sisters bit figuratively and literally if need be. (John 13:34-35; 15:13) The law of the Christ is an even higher expression of theocracy, that is, rule by God under his sovereignty, than the Law of Moses was.

[1]Kurt Aland, Matthew Black, et al., The Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition (Interlinear with Morphology) (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1993), Jas 2:12.