It Only Takes One
James 2:8-11 says “8If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: 9But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. 10For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. 11For 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.”
In this lesson we see James coming to the end of his point about the rich and the poor. The two previous lessons from James 2:1-7 taught on our attitude towards people’s social standings; now in these verses James breaks it down into its simplest form.
Verse 8 contains one of the greatest truths in the bible. The verse says “If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well”. From this verse we see that the royal law according to the scripture is love. This one sentence thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself is the fulfilment of all commandments. Luke 10:25-37 explains to us that everyone is our neighbour so following this we are to love everyone. Going through the 10 commandments this truth can be plainly seen. If you love God you will not put other gods before him, if you love God you will not make false idols, if you love God you will remember the holy day to worship Him, if you love your parents you will not dishonour them, if you love someone you will not kill them, if you love someone you will not commit adultery, if you love someone you will not steal from them, if you love someone you will not lie to them and if you love someone you will not covet what they have. Love is the fulfilment of the law. Verse 8 tells us that if we fulfil this royal law according to the scriptures then we do well. It is good for us to love everyone. Keeping in mind the preceding verses spoke of how the people hated the poor and loved the rich so this verse is emphasising that we are to love everyone regardless of wealth or social standings. This is the right thing to do.
Verse 9 gives the clincher. It says “But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors”. The verse says simply that if you have respect of persons then this is a sin and you are convicted of the law as transgressors. You may be asking what the big deal about respect is. Now I’m not saying that we should have a reverential respect to our elders, I’m simply saying that when we lift someone up on a pedestal that isn’t Jesus we have a problem. When someone gets our respect because of what they have and not who they are then this person has become an idol of sorts. This also ties in with my previous point. If we respect someone so much as to exalt them above other people then this is not showing an attitude of love for all people. This is showing a higher love for one person, inadvertently saying that other people aren’t loved as much. This placing people above God and not following the law of love is therefore a sin.
Verse 10 goes into more detail about sin. The verse says “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all”. This is a verse I would often use it giving people the gospel. People would say to me ‘I’ve never robbed a bank, I’ve never killed anyone, I’m a good person so surely I’ll get to heaven’ and this is the verse I take them too. The verse says whoever keeps the law, but offends in just one point, he is guilty of all. People have this distorted view that there are varying levels of sin; but it’s clear that there isn’t. From this verse we can see that one little lie puts you on the same level as a murderer. Now this may seem extreme, but from a holy perspective sin is still sin no matter how big or small. Everyone is guilty of breaking every aspect of the law. No sinner is worse than another. Everyone is on the same level.
Verse 11 goes on to emphasise the previous point. The verse says “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.” The verse is saying that God said do not commit adultery, but he also said do not kill. Now if you don’t commit adultery, but you kill someone, then you are still a transgressor of the law. You have still broken one of God’s commandments. Think of the commandments like this. God is on one end of a chain; you are at the other end hanging on over a pit. There are 10 links of the chain between you and God (each link represents a commandment). Now keep verse 10 and 11 in mind. Say that you broke one of these links; Just one little link. What’s going to happen? You are going to fall. No matter which link you break you are still going to fall. Any link that is broken leaves you with the same result. Everyone’s chain is broken. From the first lie you told this chain was broken. You and I are as guilty as the next person.
Today ask yourself how much love you’re giving. Are you committing sin by exalting someone instead of Jesus? Realise today that one sin separates from God. There are no varying levels of sin; there is just sin. Don’t go around thinking you are good enough to get to heaven, because truth be told no one is good enough to get to heaven. We are all sinners. The only way there is through accepting Christ as your saviour (for more on this read the saved section). Evaluate your life today. Seek where you are going. Sort out any sin in your life. We’re no better than the next person. – Andrew.
Posted on September 18, 2012, in Andrew's Thoughts for the Day and tagged Bible, Christianity, God, James, Jesus, Lord, Love, Religion and Spirituality, Sin, Ten Commandments, Youth. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.