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But he that looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, being no hearer who forgets but a doer of a work, he will be blessed in his doing. (James 1:25)
James now compares the man who not only hears the Word but also actually applies that Word to his life. James says the man who applies the word looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty. The Greek word used for “looks” is the word (παρακύπτω parakuptō), which means to bend inside, lean over, or stoop down to look into, to examine something. The sense here is of one seeking to better look at something by leaning forward and peering at it. (See John 20:5, 11; 1 Peter 1:12) “The same verb—translated as bent over—pictures the apostle John staring into Jesus’ empty tomb (John 20:5). John’s look led to an obedient faith (John 20:8).” (Lea 1999, 267)
One who wants to obey the law of Christ does just that, as he peers into the perfect law to inspect, examine, and study it, with a heart motivated toward obedience. He can visualize himself as it relates to being a biblical father, husband, son, or to herself as a biblical mother, wife, or daughter. The law is perfect in the sense that it is complete. Everything in our imperfect state needs to walk with God to have and maintain a righteous standing before the Father and the Son. It is a pathway to salvation through the grace of God. – Proverbs 30:5-6; Psalm 119:105, 140.
Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32) The Word of God frees his people from slavery to sin and death, putting them on the path of life. (Rom. 7:5-6, 9; 8:2, 4; 2 Cor. 3:6-9) This “law of liberty” is a reference not to the Mosaic Law, but to the new covenant, in which the Father declared, “I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (Jer. 31:33) Christians are under the principles of the Mosaic Law, but not under some long code of rules and regulations but rather the inspired, inerrant Word of God, which enables them to know the will of the Father. (Matt. 7:21-23; 1 John 2:15-17; Gal. 5:1, 13-14) In other words, they have a developed fine-tuned Christian conscience, which leads them in the way they should go, not because of some fearful dread of displeasing some all-powerful being. The Christian’s worship is out of love and is principally positive, not negative. – Matthew 22:37-40; see James 2:12
James also says that the doer of the word does not just obey it occasionally, but abides in it. The Greek word for abide is (παραμένω paramenō), which means “to remain by or near” para, “beside,” hence, “to continue or persevere in anything.” (Vine 1996, Volume 2, Page 127) He is abiding in these things because he is daily striving to live these truths out in a manner that is pleasing to his master, who gave him these commands. This is moving beyond a mere examination of it. This one is different from the man who had looked into the mirror, being dissatisfied with what he saw, but nonetheless walking away, forgetting or even losing interest in what he saw. The Christian perseveres and continues to pore over the perfect law with the mindset of keeping his life in harmony with it. (Ps. 119:9, 16, 97) We need to be immersed and engaged fully with the Word of God as it guides us through this imperfect age.
The Christian, who has moved over from being a forgetful hearer into the world of being a doer, has a biblical mindset. This biblical mindset leads him to every decision he makes, no matter how great or small. Before, he had been one who may have sat listening respectfully, but then failed to act on the insights he gained from the Word of God. Now, he takes everything that he hears from the Word to heart (his inner person), the seat of motivation, and puts it to work in his daily life. He now has an inner joy that he had never previously known. The Word of God proves to be beneficial in ways he had never imagined. (Ps. 19:7-11; see 1 Tim. 4:8.) He draws absolute comfort from the fact that he has a righteous standing before God and that God finds him pleasing.