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The Law of Liberty – Week 4 / January 21st
“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 word, this one will be blessed
In what he does…”
The Bible is clear about the fact that the Word of God is crucial to our spiritual growth and well-being. Here in the first chapter of James we are exhorted to “receive the implanted word, which is able to save our souls.” (James 1:21) This means that one who neglects the Word of God is really neglecting one’s salvation! The Bible constitutes a written description of the character of Jesus and thus when we feed upon it we do in fact feed upon Him. He is the Word of God (John 1:1) and it is God’s absolute truth. (John 17:17) James calls it a “Law of Liberty” meaning that it frees us from our carnal cravings and enables us to do the will of God. Jesus said that if we abide in His word we would be liberated into all that He has for us. (John 8:31-32) More important still is the fact that that He said that if we continue in His word then we prove ourselves to be His disciples.
So, someone who claims to be a Christ follower but neglects a serious commitment to the word of God is probably not one. Jesus also said that we have to live by the word of God as if it were the bread of our physical existence (Matthew 4:4). In short we are to know it, love it, rightfully divide it, live by it and use it as our only and effective weapon against the powers of darkness. If we fail in this area we do indeed fail in everything!
Paul tells us that we are to let the word of God “wash us” meaning that it must change us and keep us clean. (Ephesians 5:26) Here he is referring to the great washing laver that stood in the temple courtyard. It had a reflective bottom so that when the Priests washed before temple service they could see the dirt on their faces and remove it. It is this thought that James picks up on here in verse twenty-five of chapter one only this time he says that we are to look into the mirror of God’s word and change. Change, godly change is indeed the name of the game! Given the dignity then that the Word of God has we would do well to approach it reverently and regularly and in a way that we recognize that it is “living” and can change us. It is not a history book or a mere academic one. It is God’s character in written form and when we seek its “whole counsel” we truly seek Him.
James, as we have already noted says that we are to receive the Word “implanted.” That is, the Word of God must become part of what we are so that we walk it out and live it out spontaneously. Paul, once again, picks up on this theme in his letter to the Corinthians when he says that we are all living letters that can be read by the world.(2Corinthians 3:1-3) Our dedication to the Word of God should make us the Word of God. Nothing less and nothing more!
It is then obvious from all these passages of scripture that Christians ought to have a radical commitment to their Bibles. They must and should read many chapters a day and they should memorize it and hold it in their hearts in a way that it dictates their actions and choices in life. The Christian who fails always begins his or her journey of failure at the point of neglecting the Bible. I guarantee this.
In closing it is worth remembering that the longest chapter of the Bible is indeed Psalm 119. It is worth a quiet and sobering reading because it will tell you exactly how important God’s law or word is to our walk with Him. Above all we should not read the Word of God in a way that we see our failures and then never deal with them. It is this problem that James addresses in his epistle. Faith without works is dead!
©Malcolm Hedding Ministries