James 2:8-13

Our Scripture reading for today is:

James 2:8           If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. 9 But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11 For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.

James 2:12           Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!

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A few comments:

This is certainly one of the most important and beautiful set of verses in James!

For those of us who think that we are “doing pretty good” in observing the law of God, James reminds us that even if we stumble once, we have, for all practical purposes, abrogated them all. Our love for God and others is shown to be lacking…

What does it mean that the Law gives “freedom”? It truly is one of those truths that doesn’t seem to follow in our mind, but shown to be true even in secular studies… we all know that it is living within a ordered and structured life that a child experiences freedom to grow and mature in beautiful ways. Since God’s law is GOOD, when we live within it we are set free from the bondage of sin!

And then there is the subject of Mercy! Mercy is so beautiful! How can we be so begrudging when we are given the opportunity to be merciful?

Here is a quote from the 4th century Christian Bishop St. John Chrysostom:

Mercy is the highest art and shield of those who practice it. It is the friend of God, standing always next to him and freely blessing whatever he wishes. It must not be despised by us. For in its purity it grants great liberty to those who respond to it in kind. It must be shown to those who have quarreled with us, as well as to those who have sinned against us, so great is its power. It breaks chains, dispels darkness, extinguishes fire, kills the worm and takes away the gnashing of teeth. By it the gates of heaven open with the greatest of ease. In short, mercy is a queen which make men like God.

May God bless in in our mercy!

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