Luby’s-Style Legalism

I notice how some people drive and will break one or two laws while fastidiously observing all others. James said, “For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws.” In other words, violate one law of a thousand and you’ve become a lawbreaker, just as guilty as someone who violates them all.

James is not being a legalist here. Far from it. He is instead talking about an attitude of selfishness. I had a friend with the Kansas City, MO police department. He once told me that he thought that speed limits were stupid. Many folks on the road would seem to agree with him. You see, if you only obey the laws that you agree with—that you think are reasonable—then you are not following in humble submission. Such obedience comes from a selfish heart that has decided, “I will determine what’s best. I will do what I think I ought.”

James has harsh words for someone like this. “If you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.” The person who picks and chooses which of God’s commands to obey like a cafeteria lunch demonstrates that he is unwilling to trust God. He has decided to do his own thing, regardless of what God wants.

That’s something to think about.

Published by Rob

I teach, therefore I am.

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