Bible Studies & Devotionals
From Olive Branch Ministries
By Mark and Tinsley Baker
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The Perfect Law of Liberty
James 1:22. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24. for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.
There are many spiritual laws given to us in God's Word. Some people would say I've never heard of spiritual laws before. However as we read through the Word of God we will see that His Word is full of spiritual laws. These laws are absolutes in God's Word.
They define not only the boundaries but the limitless of God's grace to His children. When we come to understand the truth of the Gospel in it’s fullest we can then come to a place where we can be partakers of His divine grace. Knowing is the beginning of this journey.
On one side there is joy and on the opposite side there is despair. On one side there is light and on the other side the is darkness. On one end of the spectrum there is life and on the other end there is death. You see there is absolutely no co-mingling of these things. When we understand this, it becomes much easier for us to see where all the evil in the world comes from. God is not the author of these things, nor can He ever be. Joy will never walk hand in hand with despair, light will never mingle with darkness, life will never co-exist with death. These things are at totally opposite ends of the spectrum, just as the East is from West and the North is from South. God is as far away from evil as the East is from the West, and the North is from the South. To quote an old saying, never the twain shall meet. They can not nor will they ever.
I think it is important to talk about all of this now with all the disasters and destruction that is going on in the world. Many people would ask, is God the author these things? Did God cause the tsunami. I don’t have all the answers, or have all knowledge, but I know God is not the author of evil, not now, not ever. God can not and will not break His own laws. His laws are set in motion and can not be broken by us as well. We must come to understand these laws if we are going to function properly in them. Laws are given not only to give direction but to govern. Without laws there would be chaos. A system of law and order is the mark of a civilized society. It is similar with spiritual laws. I would also like to point out that when laws are broken there are consequences. This is another sign of a civilized society. It is to our benefit to understand the purpose and the operation of not only natural laws but spiritual laws. It will be much easier for us to walk in understanding of God's Word when we do. This something to keep in mind.
In our opening text, James says in 1:22. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24. for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.
This first hearer of the Word is someone who has received revelation knowledge and does not act on it. You must follow through with what you have received. This is the man who will be blessed in what he does. This is the man who will receive the reward for his obedience to the Word of God. Be aware of who you are in Christ Jesus. Feed your beliefs and starve your doubts. Put God's Word first place in your life. Hear and meditate continually in God's Word. You must act on the heart knowledge you have received. You must continue in what you have looked at. In other words you must continue in the revealed knowledge that God has given you, and not forget what you have been given. Then do something with what you have been given. Then and only then you will be blessed in what you do. This is the perfect law of liberty. I would like to say that all of God's laws are perfect, there are no flaws in them. The flaws come many times from our lack of understanding of God's Word and how to appropriate His promises. Many times a lack of knowledge will lead to confusion and eventually frustration, but it doesn't have to be that way. If we look and continue there in, we will receive what He has already freely given. God's Word tells us we will. Don’t give up, keep on keeping on.
What happens when you look into the perfect law of liberty and do not continue in it, and also forget what you hear? My question here is are there consequences? Sure there are, whether you are one who continues therein as James said or are a forgetful hearer, there will be an outcome either good or bad. James said the consequences are, we will be blessed in what we do if we continue therein, but the opposite of being blessed in what we do would be that we will not be blessed in what we do! Blessings or the opposite of blessing.
-- New American Standard. James 1:22 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.
Not being blessed in what we do sounds like a hard way to go. The New American Standard Bible say if you only hear and will not do what you have heard, you are deluding yourself. This doesn't sound like a feel good sermon to me, this is a serious warning.
This should motivate us to get understanding of God's laws and to begin to learn to walk in them. Let's take a closer look at the perfect law of liberty.
First of all Liberty is defined in the Greek as a loosening or relaxation. In the NT it always carries the thought of relief from tribulation or persecution; Josephus speaks of the rest or relief (anesis) from plowing and tillage, given to the land in the Year of Jubilee.
Liberty is a word much used recently. It is also a word that can be used synonymously with freedom. I would like to say that freedom has never been free. It always has a price. There has never in the history of the world been freedom without bloodshed.
Our liberty or freedom was purchased at a great price. It was the greatest price that could be paid. It was purchased by the shed blood of Jesus Christ. There was no higher price that could be paid. Yet many religious people would have you doing all sorts of things to try and earn your salvation, as if the highest price ever paid was not sufficient. They would heap condemnation and guilt on you if you don’t do all of the things they feel necessary for you to do in order to fulfill your salvation. I would say if you are one of these people that feels the need to do, then you need to take a good hard look at God's Word. The only thing you can do in order to be saved is to receive what has already been freely given. You might say, well that sounds too easy. IT IS. This is the simplicity of the Gospel. It takes man made religion to twist and pervert the simple Gospel in order to make it that hard. Nothing that you can physically do can earn your salvation. If you are in Christ Jesus then you are complete in Him and God sees you this way. The problem is, we don't see ourselves this way. We have been taught what lowly sinners we are. It is true that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23.) but that is not the jest of what the Apostle Paul was saying. Let's read starting from vs. 20.
Romans 3:20. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
21. But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,
22. even the righteousness of God which is through faith in Jesus Christ to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference;
Romans 3:24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
We are being told in this that justification only comes through faith in Christ Jesus. We also see that the law only brings the knowledge of sin. We can not fulfill the law. It would be impossible, but thank God we don’t have to. We have been freely justified in Christ Jesus, we only have to receive this justification before God by faith. Quit trying to earn it, and quit feeling guilty. Start to see yourself as the Father sees you in Christ Jesus. Begin to declare even what God's Word says. I have been justified freely through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. If you have never done this, it may seem difficult. Your mind must renewed to the Word of God. Learn the freedom that is in Christ Jesus.
James went on to say in chapter 2.
James 2:11-13. For 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. So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty.
For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
The law of liberty is the law we will be judged by. Thank God. Thank God for His mercy, for it will surely triumph over judgment. Just as the North is from the South so is our sin from God. We must realize it is not sins plural, it our sin nature that that has been dealt with. As 2 Corinthians 5:17 declares…
2 Corinthians 5:17. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
This new creature is what God sees, not the old sinner. We are no longer the old sinner, we are a brand new creation in Christ Jesus. We may sin from time to time, but that does not negate what we have become in Christ. We must let this new inner man dominate our outer man. So don't get discouraged, but begin to see yourself and walk in who you are in Christ. Begin to see yourself in the perfect law of liberty.
Do you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Do you want to be a joint heir with Christ?
If so, I urge you to earnestly pray the following prayer.
Dear Heavenly Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus. Your word says, "…and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." (Jn.6:37),
So I know You won’t cast me out, but You take me in, And I thank you for it. You said in your Word, "whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.'' (Ro. 10:13).
I am calling on Your name, So I know You have saved me now, You also said, "…that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation." (Ro.10:9,10).
I believe in my heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I believe He was raised from the dead for my justification. And I confess Him now as my Lord, Because Your Word says, "… with the heart one believes to righteousness…" and I do believe with my heart, I have now become the righteousness of God in Christ. (2 Cor. 5:21),
And I am saved! Thank You, Lord!
I can now truthfully say, I see myself as a born again child of God!
Glory to God!!!! Amen.