James 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
11 For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.
12 So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.
13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.
The majority of religions are performance oriented. Their “salvation” is tied to what they do, not in what they believe. Most religions are quite liberal with their belief system.
James was directed to remind us that law keeping can never save us. Paul stated:
Galatians 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
God gave the Ten Commandments to show us His righteous standard. He shows us that no one can keep the Ten Commandments. There are many who claim they do their best to try to keep them and they trust that God will accept their best.
God shows us that He required absolute obedience from Adam. Adam was created without sin. His obedience would not save him. His obedience would demonstrate his love for God. When Adam chose to disobey God, he sinned. He then needed a Saviour. That Saviour would need to be without sin. Jesus Christ is that sinless Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world. Jesus did not become the Saviour because He was sinless. He was sinless and thus could provide salvation. Salvation is a gift that we cannot earn. It must be accepted by faith in God.
In our text, James was led to teach the importance of proper behaviour as a true child of God. He was speaking to brethren. The brethren were those who were already saved. They needed to be reminded of how brethren can and must live.
James used some very practical illustrations in verse 11. God is the One Who declared the law regarding adultery. God also declared that murder is against His law. Based on these two laws, God says if a person does not commit adultery, and yet kills others, he is a transgressor of the law. There are many people today who are guilty of murdering their unborn child(ren). This act makes that person a transgressor of the law.
God is reminding us here that we cannot pick and choose which laws we want to uphold and which ones we want to ignore. In verse 12 James reminds the brethren that we need to speak and do the right thing. The reason we need to be consistent in our walk and our talk is because we are all going to be judged by the law of liberty.
Notice here again that God’s law is the law of liberty. God’s law does not put a person in bondage. A person is in bondage when they reject God’s law and go their own way. The person who stabbed those four college students in Idaho does not know what liberty is. He has to be very careful where he goes and what he says. Those four people that were killed also discovered that they did not have liberty. They were murdered and now they are in eternal torment.
The person who shot those people in the Walmart also does not know what liberty is. He is also dead and in torment today. Then there is the one who murdered the people in that sodomite bar. He was a sodomite himself. Yet, in spite of being “liberated”, he went out and killed five and wounded a number of others. That is not liberty.
God gives us the true law of liberty. True born again Christians that walk in the Spirit do not go around stabbing and killing people. They seek to help others to know God’s peace and blessing.
In verse 13, James was directed to warn us that those who do not show mercy will not be judged with mercy. Keep in mind that James is writing to the brethren. It is possible for brethren to be unmerciful. We have already seen that in the unjust discrimination that some were guilty of at that time. That is still a problem today.
The judgment spoken of here must be at the judgment seat of Christ, based on the context. That is where saved people will be judged. The judgment there is not of whether a person will enter heaven. The judgment is to what the reward or the lack of reward will be. God is merciful. However, when one of His children does not act with mercy toward his brother, then God must also judge without mercy against that transgressor.
On the other hand, those who act in mercy will rejoice in the mercy of the Lord. They will be thankful for God’s just judgment. We see here again as well that we are not judged according to our worthiness. We are unworthy. We are judged according to God’s mercy. The faithful saved person must keep in mind:
Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
There is no room for boasting for the child of God. We live under the law of liberty. That law sets us free from bondage. It is good to know where the boundaries are and to stay clear of them. That is what the law of liberty is for the saved person. In the examples given, the saved person knows that adultery is sin. Thus one of the motivations for moral purity is the law of liberty which declares that adultery is sin. Thus a true child of God does not cheat on his wife. He honours his wife as the weaker vessel. The true child of God does not cheat on her husband either. Divorce and remarriage is against God’s law of liberty. It cannot be accepted among God’s people. James was directed to teach the truth to help people to avoid accepting the lies of the devil. The entire Bible does the same thing. James was directed by God to write these things. Evangelists, pastors and teachers are expected to teach the truth today as well. We have not been given liberty by God to change His law of liberty. We are commanded to uphold His law of liberty.
Mercy is not turning a blind eye to sin. Mercy is not corrupting God’s perfect law of liberty. Mercy is having compassion toward true saints, according to our context. Compassion is being willing to speak the truth to others so that they can avoid the consequences of sin. Compassion is not condoning and endorsing sin.
Jesus showed compassion to the woman caught in the very act of adultery. He forgave her and told her to go and sin no more. He set her free from sin and gave her the way to be free from the guilt of sin. Go and sin no more. Impossible you say? It certainly is when we get in the flesh. However, if we, those who are saved, walk in the law of liberty, we will not sin. The reality is that we do not always walk in that law. We need God’s mercy to help us by forgiving the saint who is truly repentant for sin. That person does not want a quick fix for the moment so he or she can go back and sin again. That person wants to be forgiven and strengthened against committing that sin again.