The Law of Liberty

Here’s a most remarkable couple of verses from James 2:12-13 that had not caught my attention before. “So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment will be without mercy to anyone who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.”

The translation (paraphrase?) that caught my attention is from Christian Prayer: “Always speak and act as men destined for judgment under the law of freedom. Merciless is the judgment on the man who has not shown mercy; but mercy triumphs over judgment.”

James has already mentioned the law of liberty in 1:25. “But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act – they will be blessed in their doing.”

The law of liberty (or law of freedom) sounds so … well … libertine to our American ears, but if we view our liberty as a means of personal freedom rather than as a means to service, liberty itself becomes a harsh task master.

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