For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. James 2, verse 10.
James is one tough cookie. Right on the heels of reminding us that loving other people is the right thing to do, he reminds us that one slip up means we’re sinners. Not just sinners: damned sinners.
I hate it when the guy with the tough talk is right.
But James is right. It didn’t take long for me to break all of God’s law this morning, proving myself unfaithful to Him and unworthy of Him. The residual angst from too many undone tasks yesterday, the ‘me-first’ attitude of getting ready in the morning, the fleeting thoughts of resentment, lust, bitterness, and envy when I logged on the morning news sites: all proving I’m worthy to be damned. All proving I’m separated from God. Small sins? Yes indeed, but large enough to keep a chasm between my Lord and me.
After all, it wasn’t capital murder that caused Adam and Eve to fall away from God. It was selfish idolatry; a simple “no, I know better” kind of attitude. That whole murder thing didn’t come about until a few years down the road when their son thought he knew better, too. The thing is that it didn’t take murder, lying, conspiracy or anything that complicated to separate man from his Creator. All it took was a selfish change of heart. How tragic is that?
And since that’s the case, then how miraculous is it that all it takes is Jesus saving us, then turning things around by changing our hearts. All that we ever need to know about how we are saved is contained in the words “Jesus died for you.” All we ever need to know about how to live as a Christian is found in those words “Love God with all your heart, then love your neighbor the same way.” All we ever need to know about the future is found in hearing Jesus say “come all you who are weary and I will give you rest.” James tells us the cold, hard truth that one transgression makes us guilty of breaking every one of God’s laws. Yet he uses the rest of his missal to remind us that, even as that’s true, the bigger truth is that Jesus took away all our guilt about it.
The weird thing about all of this is that it can be a tough thing to tell people about the Gospel, that Jesus loves them and wants them to know Him. Some folks are all Cain and want to do it on their own. Some folks just disobey, like Adam, Eve, and me. And some other folks too…who are you and what’s He saying to you?
Lord Jesus, tell me your hard truths. Teach me to know that such hard truth is a soft yoke to bear and a pleasure to live out.
When did you break all of God’s law?
What about doing that bothered you?
How can you do better today?