12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty (James 2:12).
Do you know what the word “liberty” means? How would you define it? Sometimes it’s helpful to understand a word by considering it’s opposite. The opposite of liberty would be confinement. If you are confined to your house you are not at liberty to go anywhere else. So to be liberated or at liberty means that you are set free.
In our verse for today James speaks of the law of God as that which brings liberty. This is very interesting expression and should be understood in light of all that Jesus did in the New Testament. When someone because a Christian they receive the Holy Spirit. God, by his Spirit, begins to grow that person more and more into his likeness through their whole life. They never attain perfection but are constantly growing through the power of the Spirit into who God wants them to be.
Before someone becomes a Christian, the law of God is not a law of liberty as James speaks of it here. It is simply a perfect standard that they can’t live up to. But once someone becomes a Christian they receive Jesus’ perfect record of law keeping as their own. Now the law does not stand in condemnation over us but is a reflection of God’s perfect will for his people. By the power of the Spirit of God in us we experience the joy of his will in our lives when we follow his law. When we fail we repent and trust Jesus’ perfect law-keeping in our place through his perfect life lived.
James wants us to be aware that God’s law is still present, but not in it’s power to condemn, but rather as a means to seeing the most blessed way to live. All our lives should reflect a love for God and his will. Obedience always brings a blessing and that blessing is true liberty, true freedom.
Read Hebrews 4:13
• Will everyone stand before the judgement of Jesus at the last day?
• What is your hope on that day? (Jesus’ perfect blood covers my lawbreaking.)
• Since my debt has been fully paid, where does the power to follow God’s law come from? (Condemnation is no longer the issue, that has been settled. We are God’s children and he will not disown us. We now follow Jesus by his Spirit in us. We see his law as the best way to live.)
Our Father, thank you that you have revealed your heart to us. Through your Word, we know what pleases you and we know that what pleases you will make us most happy. Help us to see that obedience brings blessing. We want to be free. Thank you for setting us free and giving us new eyes to see your law not as a burden but as true blessing for living. In Jesus’ name, Amen.