Paul Kretzmann Commentary - James 2:10 - 2:13

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Paul Kretzmann Commentary - James 2:10 - 2:13

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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

The will of God to be kept in all parts:

v. 10. For whosoever shall keep the whole Law, and yet offend-in one point, he is guilty of all.

v. 11. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the Law.

v. 12. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.

v. 13. For he shall have judgment without mercy that hath showed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.

The solidarity, the unity of the will of God is here brought out. For in connection with the fact that a carnal preference of persons is a transgression of the holy will of God, the apostle argues: For whoever keeps the whole Law, offends, however, in a single thing, has become guilty of all. A person might argue that an offense of the kind as explained by the apostle really did not amount to much, that the fault, if it might be designated so, would surely be overlooked by God. But as a matter of fact, he that transgresses, stumbles, becomes guilty in any single point pertaining to the Law of God, no matter how insignificant it might seem by comparison, is considered a transgressor of all. To profane one commandment means to have broken all.

This is now illustrated: For He that said, Thou shalt not commit adultery, also said, Thou shalt not kill; if, then, thou dost not commit adultery, but committest murder, thou becomes a transgressor of the Law. The will of the Lord is one and cannot be divided any more than His essence and qualities can be divided. Both adultery and murder are prohibited by God, and the adulterer cannot offer as an excuse that he has murdered no one, nor can the murderer escape by pleading that he has not become guilty of adultery. In either case the Law has been transgressed; in either case the guilty one is punished according to the same rule, which says that the soul which sinneth shall die.

The advice of the apostle therefore is: So speak and so act as those that want to be judged through the law of freedom. The Christians, as Christians, are not under the Law, but under grace. Their life of sanctification is governed by the law of freedom, that is, they govern their words and actions by their love toward God, by their relation to their heavenly Father as His dear children. Because they are free and have become the servants of righteousness, they find their delight in speaking and acting as it pleases their heavenly Father and Christ. It is in this way, according to this standard, that the Christians want to be judged.

Those that do not want to heed this fact will be compelled to heed the warning: For the judgment is merciless to him that did not practice mercy; but mercy will boast in the face of judgment. If a person does not practice mercy and charity in this life, also in his behavior toward his neighbor of low degree, then the judgment will likewise deny him mercy; he will be treated according to the full measure of justice and be condemned. If, however, a Christian has shown himself merciful at all times, full of charity to all men under all circumstances, then he need not fear the Last Judgment, but may exult at the thought of it, since God, out of His boundless mercy, will then dispense mercy. See Mat_5:7.