But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in the doing.

James 1: 25

 

Liberty means many different things as that meaning is often determined by the context of the use of the word. For a sailor who has been on a long cruise it means the opportunity to go ashore and enter into freedom from the rules that govern life on the ship. Prisoners experience liberty as they are set free from confinement. Patrick Henry is quoted on the subject as he concluded his remarks before the Second Virginia Convention on March 20, 1775 with this famous statement, “I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!” Henry was speaking about freedom from oppressive rule and he was counseling revolution as the means to achieve that form of liberty. It might seem that liberty in its truest sense involves taking action; it is not passive.

 

That is the point that James is driving at here, too. Christ perfects God’s law. His death and resurrection free people from our captivity to sin and its death, which is what made the law incomplete on its own. This law that Christ has perfected is the only way by which people can enter into the true liberty that God desires for us to enjoy. This liberty, like all forms of freedom, comes with responsibilities attached to it. In Christ, we are free to live fully, vigorously, and passionately within the will of God as He has expressed it in His Word. We are free, but to enjoy and employ that freedom we are required to submit ourselves fully to Christ. In what is one of creation’s greatest paradoxes our most important freedom also demands our total servitude.

 

As servants of Christ, followers of the true reigning King, we are to be people who are not content to just hear good sounding words and become satisfied that we are different from our culture by virtue of a momentary period of association such as attending church or a bible study. Those are good things, but that is not all that Christ desires for us to do with our liberty. We are free to speak truth into our culture and to do so in a manner that brings loving care and righteous zeal into the conversation. Our liberty should remove fear and self-protection from our approaches to others whether they are neighbors who do not seem to know God or are people from vastly different cultures with foreign languages and customs. The liberty that Christ so painfully purchased for us demands that we, in turn, touch our world with the love, truth, and saving grace of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets, but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

James 1: 25

 

Just in case you haven’t taken a moment recently to look around at the world that surrounds you or, for that matter, looked in the mirror, this is a flawed and imperfect place. So, when someone claims to have their eyes fixed upon perfection, the claim and the claimant are highly suspect. Still James is saying that there is something perfect that not only exists but it is accessible to anyone who looks into it. It is a bit like Dorian Grey’s mirror except that rather than deceiving us, it shows us the complete and total truth. Christ’s mirror is wonderfully and graciously honest.

 

When we look into the image that appears there, as we are in Christ, we see ourselves as set free beings. This perfect law that James is discussing is the gospel of Jesus Christ. It takes the totality of God’s moral and ethical code that sets out the framework for righteous living and it makes it possible for us. It is by grace that we find acceptance from God, and it is through Christ that we are changed from the condemned sinners that we have been since birth into the beloved co-heirs of God’s Kingdom that is our eternal status. The freedom that we now enjoy does eliminate the need to do any form of work or to put out any type of effort that is done in order to gain God’s acceptance, to achieve status in His eyes, or to secure a place in eternity. However, this newly minted freedom is not passive and it does call upon us to act.

 

There seems to be proven validity to the idea that the things that we hear are not made real until we do something with them. We can fill our minds with ideas and with facts that have no lasting effect; yet, when we convert this knowledge into action, the ideas seem to become incorporated into our very being. As God’s truth becomes more and more of the person that interacts with the world, we encounter the transformative process that Christ promises to His people. The Spirit of Christ informs our hearts and instructs our minds so that we have a sound basis for living in a manner that brings honor and glory to Christ. Then, as we actually enter into every aspect of this living with a sincere desire to engage our world with peace, justice, righteousness, and reconciliation as our intended outcome, we will be blessed by living in the complete liberty that only Christ can grant to us.

But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets, but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

James 1: 25

 

Just in case you haven’t taken a moment recently to look around at the world that surrounds you or, for that matter, looked in the mirror, this is flawed and imperfect place. So, when someone claims to have their eyes fixed upon perfection, the claim and the claimant are highly suspect. Still James is saying that there is something perfect that not only exists but it is accessible to anyone who looks into it.  It is a bit like Dorian Grey’s mirror except that rather than deceiving us, it shows us the complete and total truth. Christ’s mirror is wonderfully and graciously honest.

 

When we look into the image that appears there, we see ourselves as set free beings. This perfect law that James is discussing is the gospel of Jesus Christ. It takes the totality of God’s moral and ethical code that sets out the framework for righteous living and it makes it possible for us. It is by grace that we find acceptance from God, and it is through Christ that we are changed from the condemned sinners that we have been since birth into the beloved co-heirs of God’s Kingdom that is our eternal status. The freedom that we now enjoy does eliminate the need to do any form of work or to put out any type of effort that is done in order to gain God’s acceptance, to achieve status in His eyes, or to secure a place in eternity. However, this newly minted freedom is not passive and it does call upon us to act.

 

There seems to be proven validity to the idea that the things that we hear are not made real until we do something with them. We can fill our minds with ideas and with facts that have no lasting effect; yet, when we convert this knowledge into action, the ideas seem to become incorporated into our very being. As God’s truth becomes more and more of the person that interacts with the world, we encounter the transformative process that Christ promises to His people. The Spirit of Christ informs our hearts and instructs our minds so that we have a sound basis for living in a manner that brings honor and glory to Christ. Then, as we actually enter into every aspect of this living with a sincere desire to engage our world with peace, justice, righteousness, and reconciliation as our intended outcome, we will be blessed by living in the complete liberty that only Christ can grant to us.