The Law of Liberty
By David J. Stewart
James 2:12-13, “So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.”
This is a very interesting passage of Scripture. The Bible here is speaking about judgment for the believer and not the unsaved. The unsaved will be judged at a separate judgment, at The Great White Throne of Judgment (Revelation 20:11-15). All believers will be judged at The Judgment Seat of Christ (2nd Corinthians 5:10,11).
The Word of God tells us that as believers we are NO longer under “the curse” of the Law (Galatians 3:13); however, we are still held accountable to The Law of Liberty, i.e., we are under a system of grace and liberty today and are still expected to fulfill the Law (Romans 3:31; 6:15). Howbeit, obedience to law is NOT required in order to be saved. We are still under Law (not the Mosaic law; but the “law to Christ,” 1st Corinthians 9:21).
Christ’s Law is a perfect Law of Liberty. It is perfect or complete in that it is a system which contains laws and commandments which are not grievous (1st John 5:3), and yet, it is a system of grace and liberty (Galatians 5:1-14). We have liberty from sin when we obey it (Romans 6:1-15). Christ’s Law is the ideal harmony of law and liberty.
Carefully notice the stern warning in James 2:13, “For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy...” For those believers who harbor hatred in their heart and shew no mercy, God will treat them the same way on Judgment Day. We read in Micah 6:8, “...what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Many believers today refuse to be merciful, being judgmental and hypocritical instead of tender-hearted and forgiving (Ephesians 4:31-32)—God will shew no mercy toward them either on Judgment Day.
Christians Still Held Accountable for Sins Committed
The Law of Liberty is still THE LAW, and we are accountable to God to obey all of It. 2nd Corinthians 5:10 states, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” No one will escape judgment, not even Christians. Jesus said in Matthew 12:36, “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” The big difference is that the believer is SAFE in Christ Jesus, having no fear of criminal prosecution with unbelievers at THE GREAT WHITE THRONE OF JUDGMENT. All believers will stand trial in civil court at THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST, an entirely different judgment, risking loss of rewards and having to face the embarrassment and tears of their failures in life. Some believers will receive no rewards (1st Corinthians 3:15). Others will shine as the brightness of the stars for having turned many to righteousness, i.e., Christ's righteousness, while here on earth (Daniel 12:3). The Bible tells us that we will give account for the GOOD and the BAD, so realistically, even the best of Christians will walk away happy and sad, happy for the good things they did in this life, and sad over the bad things they did. This is much like the 7 Churches in Revelation chapters 1-3, where the Lord had something good and bad to say about each, except the church of Laodicea which He had nothing good to say about.
Thankfully, we as believers are no longer under the indictment of God's Law. We have been pardoned completely. This is a remarkable gift from God, the significance of which few people can truly comprehend and appreciate. Being pardoned for a crime is not an easy thing, but Jesus Christ willingly paid for our crimes, sacrificing His precious blood to pay for our sins, so that we could be made the righteousness of God in Christ (2nd Corinthians 5:21; Romans 10:3-4). Thank you Lord.
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” —Galatians 5:1
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"In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ."
—2nd Thessalonians 1:8