Please Help Us Keep These Thousands of Blog Posts Growing and Free for All
So speak and so act as men who are to be judged by the law of liberty. (James 2:12)
The Israelites under the Mosaic Law were in slavery, while Christians are free from the penalty of sin. (Gal. 4:24-26) This freedom that Christians possess is exemplified in what the apostle Paul called the ‘spiritual Israel.’ If they, like the Israelites, were under the Mosaic Law, they would be judged as transgressors, not being innocent nor capable of having a righteous standing in the eyes of God. Thus, Christians need to behave as such, fully realizing that they are not under the Mosaic Law but under another law, “the law of liberty.” “The genitive “of liberty” (ἐλευθερίας [eleutherias]) remains descriptive, depicting a “liberating” law.” They are no longer enslaved to sin, which sin the Mosaic law made more noticeable or prominent. (Rom. 7:8, 10) What they say and do will be judged by God under the conditions of his new covenant. – 1 Peter 2:16.
Jeremiah 31: 31-34 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
31 “Behold, days are coming,” declares Jehovah, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant which I made with their forefathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares Jehovah. 33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares Jehovah: 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. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know Jehovah,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares Jehovah. For I will forgive their error, and I will remember their sin no more.”
This law of liberty does not exempt Christians from obeying God, for he writes his law on their hearts. They have a living faith in Christ, knowing that they will be judged as God had promised. God will see that they have genuine faith, as it will be evidenced by their works. Jesus Christ is the mediator of this new covenant that Jeremiah prophesied and Paul quotes in Hebrews 8:8-12, and it is his propitiatory (covering over) sacrifice that the new covenant is set in place. God the Father says, “I will forgive their error, and I will remember their sin no more.” – Jeremiah 31:34.
Accordingly, Christians under the law of liberty know that God is not some fault-finding God, seeking to find wrongdoing within them. The Psalmist makes it clear that God makes allowances for our human imperfections and our limitations. “If you, O Jehovah, should mark errors, O Jehovah, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.” Micah, the prophet, tells us, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does Jehovah require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk modestly with your God?” – Psalm 130:3-4; Micah 6:8.
James tells his readers that they need to speak and act like men who are to be judged by the law of liberty. We are told to speak and act because it is with our words and actions that favoritism is shown. James wants his readers to understand that the very law of God, which they were breaking, was the same law that would judge them when God judges them. These needed to understand, comprehend, and accept responsibility for their impartiality before they would ever make the necessary changes to their Christian self. They needed to speak and act as Christ would expect them to do, i.e., setting aside favoritism and replacing it with loving-kindness for all. Moo writes, “God’s gracious acceptance of us does not end our obligation to obey him; it sets it on a new footing. No longer is God’s law a threatening, confining burden. For the will of God now confronts us as a law of liberty—an obligation we discharge in the joyful knowledge that God has both ‘liberated’ us from the penalty of sin and given us, in his Spirit, the power to obey his will. To use James’s own description, this law is an ‘implanted word,’ ‘written on the heart,’ that has the power to save us (Jas. 1:21).” Christians are to be judged by God’s law of liberty. God’s law set Christians free from the wages of sin, death (Rom. 6:23), but believers are still judged by the law of liberty, which in this context, restricted people with favoritism.
 Craig L. Blomberg and Mariam J. Kamell, James, vol. 16, Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008), 119.
 Douglas J. Moo, The Letter of James, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: Eerdmans; Apollos, 2000), 117.
Leave a Reply