Meditation Commentary on James 2:8-12
8If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well; 9but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. 11For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty.
This passage is one that seems so simple, yet is very challenging to carry out in our everyday lives. It is one that, if merely applied by Christians, could change the world drastically.
“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” What a straightforward and seemingly easy instruction to carry out! Why is “the royal law” not something that everyone follows with great joy? In verse 9, we find that showing “partiality” is committing sin. The word used here comes from the Greek word, “prosopolepteo,” which means to “have respect to persons.” I believe that this question and many other questions relating to sin are answered by one simple word, “pride.” Pride is such a nasty thing that hinders many peoples’ walk with the Lord. 1 John says that pride is not of God.
When I look at my own life, I would like to think that everyday, in every situation, I esteem people equally – looking at them through God’s eyes – not judging them or comparing them to myself or others. However, this is not always the case. It is so easy to let deceitful thoughts and motives creep into my head, and next thing I know, I’ve broken the second greatest commandment – loving others as I love myself!
Verse 10 addresses an issue that I have faced so many times while witnessing to unbelievers. People tend to think that if they’ve lived “a good life,” they have the right to go to heaven. Often, living a good life is defined as never killing anyone, going to church, not stealing, etc. According to this verse, we clearly see that all sins are the same in God’s eyes, and if you’ve committed one, you’re guilty of committing all.
From meditating on this passage, I am reminded that it is impossible for us as humans to accomplish anything good in the Lord’s eyes. It is only through God’s grace and forgiveness that we can have assurance of salvation and have and effective ministry!