James 2:10-13 NKJV
In the 2nd Chapter of James, he took a bit of a right turn when he changed the subject from showing partiality to following the whole law.
In James 2:10-11 he wrote, “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.”
I don’t know about you, but if I had to be perfect for even five minutes, I know I’d fail. I’d either forget or I’d get busy and miss the ‘bus’. Part of the reason I know I’d fail is that Jesus made it clear that its what is in our heart that matters.
In Matthew 5:27-30 we learn, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.”
By Jesus’ explanation, even if we think sin, we sin.
Even when Jesus spoke those words, he knew that no one in the crowd could be perfect all the time. Quite frankly, that’s why Jesus came.
He came to stand in the gap for us because we were not able to be perfect all the time. So, I’m a realist. Just like everyone, I have good days and bad days.
I know that I cannot keep the whole law. According to the Mitzvot in the Torah, there are 613 Laws of Moses. I might be able to remember twenty, but I’ve never had a great memory. I know 613 is way out of my reach!
According to James, if we stumble on one law, we become a transgressors of the whole law!
At this point, James sort of does an about face, and I am really glad he did! His next words give me hope, and great peace.
In James 2:12 he says,“So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty.”
He tells his readers they will all be judged according to 2 Corinthians 5:10, “ For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”
We will be “judged by the law of liberty.”
So, the criteria for judgment changed because of Jesus.
We know from Romans 3:21-25, “But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”
All have sinned, AND all are justified freely by His grace!
Whew!!! That’s awesome!
Then, going back to James 2:13, we learn, “For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” That sounds a little wordy, but it really goes back to we reap what we sow.
I have found a LOT goes back to we reap what we sow.
The same is true of Matthew 7:2, “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”
We reap what we sow.
However we judge, we will be judged. By whatever measure we use, that measure will be given back to us. When we give mercy we receive mercy.
I kinda think (at least for me) that puts a whole new light on how I judge another person. It makes me realize I need to ask God to give me a gracious heart. I need be all about giving GRACE and passing grace on. I desire to give mercy so I’ll receive mercy.
You know, sometimes I think I write this blog so God will teach ME. I can’t honestly say I am in charge when I write. I spend a lot of time praying and listening, and I ask God to direct my words. Every time I write, God teaches me, directs me, and even convicts me. Every time I realize how good God is to teach.
And I am really grateful!
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Give Grace and Mercy
Ask God to give you a gracious and merciful Spirit, and write down what God gives you so you’ll remember the gift.
In God, Deborah