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Janet's Corner

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Lesson 10: Real Faith Loves

As we’ve moved into chapter two of James, he begins with the truth that real faith does not show partiality or personal favoritism - respecting one person above another because of the distinction we make as we judge others. We judge according to what we see or who they are. Our thoughts and motives aren’t pure in that judgment, but as James says, they are evil. The truth that the Word of God teaches us is that God judges the heart of another and He chooses another according to His own heart. How we need His eyes of heart to see and embrace others.

What does real faith do? He directs us right to the truth of God’s Word - The Royal Law which brings us liberty. Let’s see these truths in verses 8-13.

Real Faith Loves!

In verses 8 and 9 James uses a contrast as he instructs us in the truth.

The contrast:  If you love, you are fulfilling the law and doing right.

If you show partiality, you are breaking the law and sinning.

If we walk in love, we fulfill the law and do right:

"If you are fulfill or keep the royal law…" (verse 8)

What is the royal law? It’s from scripture, not man made.

A.  Given by God the Father - Leviticus 19:18 – given in the Old Testament by God the Father to his people through his prophet Moses…"Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD." A law given by our Father affirmed by His Son,

B.  Commanded by Jesus - The greatest commandment - Jesus in Mark 12:29-31…"Love the lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength the second is this ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these." All throughout His teaching, Jesus command us to love one another.

C.  Fulfilled by yielding to the Spirit of God within us - And it is possible to fulfill the law of love through the obedience of faith as we rely on the Holy Spirit filling us with God’s love for others.

Romans 5:5 " …the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit." Love is a fruit of the Holy Spirit in Galatians 5.

God the Father , the Son and the Holy Spirit enable us to fulfill or keep the royal law of love, given by a king for his kingdom to operate rightly!

If we walk in love, we fulfill the law.

If we love one another we do right or as NAS says, we are doing well.

The contrast in verse 9 is if we show partiality, we are committing sin because we are breaking the law of love. Remember this is all given to us by James in the context of showing favor to someone while neglecting someone else. Partiality is sin.

Verse 10 gives us an explanantion. Read it..So if we think we’re keeping the whole law, but stumble (trip up) in just one point, we’ve broken all of it. It is not just adultery or murder that identifies us as sinners in need of a Savior and forgiveness. Showing favoritism identifies us as sinners as well.

Aren’t we free from the law since we are under grace? Let’s see what the scripture says:  Jesus came to fulfill the law - Matthew 5:17-19.. "…nothing will disappear from the law until all is accomplished…" vs 19 "Any one who beaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven." Jesus did not come to take away the law, but to fulfill it and calls us to do the same as we are…Released to serve - Romans 7:6 , "…we have been released from the law, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit" Paul teaches us that we have been set free from our sins and we are now free to obey the law of God to bring glory and honor to him.

We do this as instruments of righteousness - Romans 6:13 - We fulfill our responsibility to the law, by presenting our lives as instruments of righteousness to our God! We need to walk by the Spirit to fulfill the law. If we do, we will not be showing partiality. We can love others, not judge them.

As we walk in love fulfilling the law, it brings freedom

    1.  The law of liberty is the Word of God. So what do we do in this area? The plumb line is dropped for us in James…verse 12.  So speak and so act as those who will be judged by the law that brings freedom – the law of liberty! We identified the law of liberty in James 1:25 – as we look into this law of liberty intently and abide by it, we will be blessed. John speaks that abiding in the Word of God will bring knowledge of the truth and freedom!

 

    2.  Freedom to us - Now James says we will be judged according to this law of liberty. The Word of God is man's judge. Jesus, in John 12: 47-48, says that His very Word will judge man. So this is a truth we have to receive. Our lives will be judged according to His Word, not man’s judgment. So verse 12 calls us to obedience. Speak and act as if we will be judged by this law of love that brings liberty! It does not restrain us, but releases us to serve our God.

    3.  Freedom to others - In II Corinthians 5:4, Paul teaches us the truth that Christ’s love compels us, constrains us, shut us up like a river held in by its banks, to share the gospel with others. How do others know we are Christians? By our love. How do others see Jesus today? They will know we love God, by how we love others. And they will have the opportunity to experience the same freedom.

So speak and act as thought you were to be judged by the law of liberty because…

4.  Mercy triumphs over judgment - Verse 13 goes on to say why we find freedom. If you don’t show mercy to others you will be judged without mercy. It’s the call of Jesus to give mercy. Matthew 5:7 (the Sermon on the Mount) Jesus says…"Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy." We don’t show mercy to gain mercy, we show mercy because we have received mercy. I pray that you have each realized God’s great mercy in covering your sin through the death of his Son Jesus Christ. We have received forgiveness. That’s mercy!  We have received mercy from God, we are to give mercy. The practice of mercy to others is evidence that we have been transformed by the grace of God. We deserved punishment for our sin, but received mercy!

The bottom line is that mercy triumphs over judgment! We see this principle used in regards to the Tsunami relief effort. The western world is hoping that with their relief efforts toward the Muslims during this time of crisis, the Muslims could see them as merciful, not judgmental. This principle is used in missionary work, the emphasis is not to preach fire and brimstone, but to meet physical and emotional needs. Mercy triumphs over judgment!

How has mercy triumphed over judgment in your own life?

How about as you have walked the road that God has given you…how have you received mercy from another, when they could have judged you?

Have you extended mercy instead of judgment?

A Good assessment question for us to ask ourselves – Am I merciful or judgmental?

If we keep the royal law, walking in love, we will do well!

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