It appears that there is no wiggle room when it comes to God’s law. The law of God is not a series of detached injunctions, but a basic unity that requires perfect love of Him and our neighbors. Although all sins are not equally damaging or heinous, they all shatter the unity and render us transgressors; much like hitting a window with a hammer at only one point shatters the entire window. James addresses his very religious readers and says, “You are lawbreakers. If you have ever said an unkind thing, if you have ever cursed the chariot driver who cut you off on the Appian Way, and if you have ever shown favoritism—then you’re no better than a murderer. You have broken God’s law. You deserve his judgment.” But here’s the good news. All of us have sinned, even religious folks. All deserve judgment. But guess what, God offers you mercy, so receive it. His mercy triumphs over judgment for all who would repent and believe!
Questions for further thought:
1. According to verses 10–12, how would you respond to someone who said, “I’ve kept seven of the Ten Commandments. That’s a passing grade, right?”
2. According to that standard, are you a “transgressor” of the law? How do you feel about that? Does that seem harsh to you?
Challenge: If you have been working hard to keep God’s rules, and you’re troubled by this assertion that breaking even one command makes you a lawbreaker, talk with a pastor or teacher about this. Ask how to unpack the idea of God’s “mercy.”
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