Today's Little Lift
by Jim Bullington
Some biblical texts are richer than others in practical and meaningful applications. For instance, it takes some effort on my part to get a practical lesson from, “Of Ezra, Meshullam; of Amariah, Jehohanan; Of Melicu, Jonathan; of Shebaniah, Joseph; Of Harim, Adna; of Meraioth, Helkai; Of Iddo, Zechariah; of Ginnethon, Meshullam;” (Nehemiah 12.13-16). Don't get me wrong, there is a practical lesson there, but it takes work to see it. Some passages aren't like that; the gems are exposed without so much as a spade to turn over the surface soil! Today's message and the two that follow are based on such a text. It is absolutely replete with meaning. I beg your attention as we begin.
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” (James 1.22-27).
Our emphasis today is on The Perfect Law of Liberty. It follows on the heels of lessons that pointed out the need for active faith and love; we are challenged to “be doers of the word, and not hearers only.” This perfect law is one of a kind. It is complete in every regard – nothing lacks! The framers of our constitution were some of the brightest men to have ever undertaken such an effort. Yet, in slightly over 200 years we have found it necessary as a nation to enact literally countless ancillary laws and regulations. One source I consulted said that in the United States of America, there were more than 40,000 new laws that went into effect on January 1,2010. Our laws may be good, but they are far from perfect. The law of which James wrote was and is perfect!
Further, it is the law of liberty. We have already indicated that it is one of a kind and so it is. This is why it is called THE perfect law of liberty. There is none like it and never will be. The mind behind the law was Divine. The design behind the law was essential to defeat the most sinister of evils. The subjects of the law are the neediest in that each and every human being stands in need of the benefits of the law. The price of the law, the blood of Jesus Christ, could not be achieved through the combining of every resource on earth. The rewards of the law are temporal and spiritual, but beyond that, they are eternal! Liberty from the guilt of sin is and has been the quest of every generation in almost every culture. While some have denied the reality of sin, those cultures eventually exhibit the most bizarre and demented acts imaginable. God knew that we needed laws, but He also knew that we needed a means to redeem us from the penalty of law. For that reason, He conceived, executed, delivered, protects, and intends to judge us in accordance with The Perfect Law of Liberty.
The Perfect Law of Liberty outshines the laws of men like the sun outshines a penlight! It has no need for revision or alteration. It will ever be revoked or repealed. It will stand intact when every other law, even the laws of physics and science, will have become inoperative and obsolete. This perfect law of liberty is the singular hope of lost mankind. We do well to honor that law and even better to worship and praise the Lawgiver!
1. In the affairs of men, has there ever been such a thing as a perfect law? Why or why not?
2. Will any change to the perfect law of liberty ever be necessary? Why or why not?
3. Why is such a law essential for humanity? Why don't we just obey the laws we have and have no need for redemption?
4. Can a person honor God without honoring the perfect law of liberty? Why or why not?
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