Tuesday, 9 July 2019
So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. James 2:12
James now gives a summary statement based on what he has been speaking about for quite some time. He says, “So speak and so do.” He had shown earlier in this chapter that those who speak with partiality sin, in particular verses 2-4. He had written about being doers of the word at the end of the previous chapter, in particular verses 22-27.
He now combines those thoughts to show that believers are to unite proper speaking with proper action. In this conduct, our speaking and our doing are to be considered as done by “those who will be judged by the law of liberty.” This takes the reader back to his words of verse 1:25 –
“But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”
The “law of liberty,” as explained in verse 1:25, is where liberty defines the perfect law. It is what is obtained from it. And so, it is a law which is completely different than the bondage of sin leading to death which is found in Adam. The law of liberty is the gospel where sin is not imputed. Because this is so, the believer should strive all the more to conduct his affairs in holiness. Rather than a license to sin, he is given the freedom to act apart from sin, and it is that law of liberty by which we will be judged.
In this, we are to speak and to do in accord with our position in Christ. To understand what that means, James will continue on with further explanation. His words in the coming verses will combine the thought of speaking and doing with real, practical examples of what he means. But his words in the second half of this chapter are also some of the most debated over and misunderstood verses in the epistles, and so they must be carefully evaluated.
Life application: In evaluating James 2:12 & 13, the context needs to be considered. It is certain that if you have accepted Jesus Christ, you are forgiven –
“I write to you, little children,
Because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.” 1 John 2:12
Forgiveness in Christ is a done deal. From the moment you receive Him, you are forgiven of every sin you have committed and of every sin you will yet commit. One cannot lose his salvation. However, judgment for a believer is based on rewards for faithfulness.
The law of Christ gives freedom from sin and condemnation, but it doesn’t give freedom for licentiousness. It is most important to keep these things in their proper perspective, and this is what James is relaying to us in his words.
Saved believers will stand at the judgment seat of Christ to receive rewards based on the life we live in Him. Because of this, we should speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom. And how can we do anything else! Jesus gave His life for us. Shouldn’t we then do our utmost to bring Him the honor and glory He deserves? Live for Him today, tomorrow, and always!
Lord Jesus, give us the ability to be merciful to others, just as you have been to us! If you have forgiven all of our transgressions, then we should remember that others deserve the same. Remind us that when they turn and ask for forgiveness, we need to show the same mercy that we have been shown. Thank You Lord for Your goodness to us! Amen.