James 2:8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. ESV
In today’s passage James uses an unusual term. He refers to the ‘royal law of scripture?’ What is this royal law and where did it come from?
James tells us that the royal law is to ‘love our neighbor as ourselves.’ Jesus referred to this law as being a commandment.
Matthew 22:35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” ESV
First of all, we see that Jesus said that this law is a commandment. Secondly, we see that Jesus said that it is linked directly to the commandment to love God. And thirdly, we see that Jesus said that on these two commandments (love God and love others) – rest all the Law and the Prophets. Wow! No wonder James calls this a royal law. According to Jesus, these two commandments are the heart and soul of all the commandments. Paul reiterates this as well. “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” Galatians 5:14 ESV
Consider what else James tells us about this royal law.
James 2:9 But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. ESV
James tells us to show partiality and favoritism is to be guilty of breaking the entire law of God. Again I can only say – Wow!
As we bring this week’s study to a close, let us once again carefully read James’ word of admonition –
“My brothers, Show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.” James 2:1 ESV The New Living Translation says – “How can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others?”
I pray that this week’s study has caused us all to stop and think very carefully about how we treat others. God bless you my brethren.