In which there is a “perfect law of freedom”

by Craig on February 15, 2011

But the one who peers into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres, and is not a hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, such a one shall be blessed in what he does. (James 1:25)

Sorry everybody, I kind of left you with a cliffhanger on Thursday. Then Saint Valentine hijacked the site on Friday, then Deep into Scripture took the weekend off, and yesterday Valentine pushed my 1,000 thank you’s to God over here – that’s a long time to hang on a cliff.

Sorry.

But today I get to share what this phrase means. What is the “perfect law of freedom”?

Let’s say I’m a 1st century Jewish Christian – what would I think?

There would be four types of “law” I’d be familiar with.

First there’s the Roman Law.

The Laws of Rome did offer freedom – for citizens. They stated that “all whose life is regulated by Roman law are free.”

But this can’t be it, because lots of Roman laws violated God’s law. That’s not perfect – and so it can’t be “the perfect law of freedom”.

One down.

The next “law” I’d be familiar with would be the Stoic philosopher’s Law. You may have heard of the “Stoic” philosophers. If not, think of them this way. They were the Oprah’s of their day – rock star philosophers.

Their law was based on “reason common to all rational creatures”. It sounds good, but the Scripture – the kind the Jewish Christians would have had, the OT Scripture, it warned against this kind of “law”.

“Sometimes a way seems right to a man, but the end of it leads to death!” Prov 14:10

So not this one either.

The third would be The Law of Moses. Now there’s a candidate.

But nope – Paul pretty well obliterated the idea of that Law being perfect. We needed a Savior even though that law was in place.

So not that one either.

But there is one more candidate.

Our Lord left us with a law when he said that all the commandments of God are summed up in two – love God, and love others.  (MT 22:36).

This one’s the winner. You just don’t get much more perfect than the “Jesus words in red” portions of the Bible.

The law of love is Isaiah 31:31-34, fulfilled,

“The days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers the day I took them by the hand to lead them forth from the land of Egypt; for they broke my covenant and I had to show myself their master, says the LORD. But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD. I will place my law within them, and write it upon their hearts; I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer will they have need to teach their friends and kinsmen how to know the LORD. All, from least to greatest, shall know me, says the LORD, for I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more.”

To me – that’s kind of a breathtaking answer to what the “perfect law of freedom” is.

The law of love

the freedom to do love

this is how we are to be known.

Not bound to letter of law,

but the spirit of it,

it’s from God,

through God

yup,

love,

Love is “the perfect law of freedom.”

God Bless

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Debbie February 15, 2011 at 2:00 am

This was just so good. “Not bound to the letter of the law, but the spirit of it.” Thank you and God bless you for teaching us!

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Craig February 15, 2011 at 9:43 am

You know, I don’t look on it as “teaching” – there was an old me who would have taken that title and run with it. There is a new me that says – no – I share what HE teaches. It’s sharing – I’m just the messenger. But thank you Deb. thank you. God Bless.

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Anonymuss February 15, 2011 at 11:50 am

This is so good! I love that He writes His law on our hearts so that even the most illiterate among us can ‘read’ it! Thank you for bringing the Isaiah passage out again for us to read! The spirit of the law…we always know it when we see it, don’t we? And it is never harsh or condemning.

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Craig February 15, 2011 at 12:32 pm

Amen – never condemning – BUT – convicting – it’s the tug on the shoulder. We still need to be about doing love – but Christianity is about LOVE much more than the “dont’s” There is a balance in everything isn’t there? GOd Bless you A.

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Lisa notes... February 15, 2011 at 4:24 pm

Thanks, Craig, for spelling out the four laws for us. I’ll take “love” any day!

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Craig February 15, 2011 at 4:45 pm

Me too Lisa – me too. God Bless.

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Dianna McBride February 15, 2011 at 5:24 pm

Thank you, Craig, for explaining each of the four laws and sharing the validity of “love” as the perfect law of freedom.

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Craig February 15, 2011 at 5:28 pm

Love is the thing. It’s why I write of it – to get Love – is to get God. To do love is to be like God in this small way. Law constrains, love frees – it is the perfect law of love. Thank you for reading Dianna – God Bless and keep you.

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