Judged by the Law

Scripture: James 2:12-13, ‘Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!’


Observations: James has been talking about not showing favouritism, and in this context he tells us to ‘Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law.’ According to James, even though we are saved by Christ’s righteousness, rather than our own, we will still be judged according to the law. God cares about what we do, whether we choose to obey his will and do what is right, or whether we reject his will and do what is wrong. In fact, God has given us the Holy Spirit to help us live according to his will. James sees the law as a positive thing, it is the expression of God’s will and those who live by it find freedom. James also gives an example of what it means to live according to the law, they will be merciful. If we ignore God’s desire for mercy, then God will not be merciful towards us. How can we expect God to act towards us with mercy if we refused to be merciful towards others? That’s exactly what Jesus was talking about in his parable of the unforgiving servant (Mt 18:21-35). However, James leaves us with a message of hope, ‘mercy triumphs over judgment,’ and that’s true for us as well. God is indeed merciful to those who put their faith in his Son, Jesus Christ.


Application: James point is that the law expresses God’s will, or God’s character. By obeying the law we are seeking to be like God. When we are merciful towards others we act like God who was merciful towards us. To reject the law is to reject God. It’s important to remember that the law won’t save us, but that doesn’t mean we can do away with it. In fact, only as we do life God’s way will we find freedom. And remember, always err on the side of grace, because mercy triumphs over judgment. It is better to humbly forgive someone than to proudly judge them.


Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, You gave Your law so that we would know what it means to live in relationship with You, and while much of the law has been fulfilled in Christ, it still reveals how You want us to live. Lord, help me to obey Your will, help me to speak and act like You want me to speak and act. Help me to become more like You, that I will be merciful as You have been merciful to me. Lord, may I only put my trust in Jesus for my salvation, but may my trust in Jesus result in a desire to do what is right, what brings You honour. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.


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