Published on
March 7, 2024

James 2

“For whoever keeps the entire law, yet fails in one point..."

Author Photo
Steve Wiggins
Author Photo
Steve Wiggins
Read Time
4 minutes
James 2
“For whoever keeps the entire law, yet fails in one point, is guilty of breaking it all.”  James 2:10 (HCSB)

I am an artist. Being an artist is a “condition” that should be covered by insurance. When a group of pastors gets together, it’s called a “conference.”  When artists get together, it’s called a “support group.”  As an artist, I get stuck in the conceptual realm of thought and depend on others to handle my details.

Periodically, my wife will ask me to help her by writing a list of chores for me. Usually, she’ll say, “There’s a lot here, but PLEASE MAKE SURE you do #’s 1, 2, 3…”  Those items are the PRIORITY items. If I don’t complete the list but cover the priorities, she’s usually happy.

While not everyone is an artist, if we’re honest, we must admit we’ve all had the “priority list” approach to God’s Law. None of us has completely followed God, so the natural assumption is that God won’t hold anyone accountable for falling a little short.

We try to avoid the BIG sins: murder, stealing, and adultery (although our culture seems to be growing more tolerant of adultery). But when it comes to lying, coveting, or observing the Sabbath, we figure God doesn’t care as much. We say, “If I do the PRIORITIES on the list, God will be happy.”  Guess what? God’s standard is perfection.  

“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is Perfect” Matthew 5:48 (HCSB)

The Ten Commandments are not a prioritized list. They are God’s directive, His character, and standard articulated to mankind. He itemized the Commandments so that we can comprehend facets of His Holiness. By commanding that we keep the entire Law, God is commanding us to keep His character. Anything short of the complete Law is unacceptable because it humiliates God’s character.

You may say, “Well then, NOBODY can please God through the Law!”  I agree, and so does Scripture. That is precisely James’ point, as he was writing to the Jewish believers dispersed worldwide. James laid out the impossibility of men being justified before God strictly on the merit of their good deeds.

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”  2 Corinthians 5:21 (NKJV)

The only way to keep the entire Law is through a saving relationship with Messiah. Jesus took upon Himself the judgment that our sin deserves. He atoned for our sin. He fulfilled the Commandments on our behalf. Furthermore, He offers that atonement to us (lawbreakers) free of charge if we turn from our sin and receive His salvation.

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