Scripture: James 2:8-11 8 If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. 9 But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11 For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.
Devotional: In this passage, James is really teeing it up for those who tend toward rule following rather than Christ following. One can feel quite good for keeping the royal law of loving your neighbor, but just as quickly get shot down for breaking another law, thus being guilty of breaking it all. Doesn’t it just make you want to throw in the towel with all the law keeping?
If so, that’s the whole point. The law exists to point out that you are powerless to keep it. You are a lawbreaker, unable to perfectly keep the law. That’s why you need Jesus, 100% God, and 100% man, who sacrificed Himself to pay the penalty for your lawless ways.
In case you are tempted to totally disregard the law and keep on sinning, that’s not the point either. The apostle Paul addresses this in his letter to the Romans: “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means!” (Romans 6:1-2). Ultimately, we are called to depend upon the Spirit of God to empower us to live as followers of Jesus Christ, seeking to love above all else, and to live according to His calling: in holiness and righteousness. Righteousness that comes through faith in Jesus Christ.
- How do you best deal with the tension of desiring to keep God’s law, knowing it is impossible for you to do so?
- How might this spur you on in trusting in Jesus as your righteousness?