Sin is far too easily dismissed. “It wasn’t a big deal.” “No one got hurt.” “It wasn’t a major curse word.” We think that everyone is watching that show, doing that thing, laughing at those jokes, and saying the same things. We offer a long list of excuses and explanations as to why our sins haven’t been so bad. But we forget that breaking any law makes us a lawbreaker.
When you were a kid, how did you try to get out of trouble?
What the most common ways you’ve heard people excuse themselves from guilt over sin?
As we’re discovering, holiness is more than just making the right moral decision when faced with temptation. It’s a matter of living out Christ’s character that resides in us. It’s a way of life.
Where are you being most challenged to live out holiness today?
In James 2:8-11 we discover that setting our lives apart for Christ moves beyond moral choices. It extends even further than not showing favoritism.
If you fulfill the royal law prescribed in the Scripture, Love your neighbor as yourself, you are doing well. If, however, you show favoritism, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the entire law, and yet stumbles at one point, is guilty of breaking it all. For he who said, Do not commit adultery, also said, Do not murder. So if you do not commit adultery, but you murder, you are a lawbreaker.
Refusing to show favoritism is motivated by something deeper. It comes from a life fueled by love. This idea is so important that James referred to it as “the royal law prescribed in the Scripture” (v. 8). The law of love is royal because it’s anchored in the very nature of God. First John 4:16 says:
We have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us God is love, and the one who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him.
In pursuing holiness, we’re ultimately pursuing Christ’s presence in our lives. John shows us that to have God’s presence in our lives is to have His character of love in our hearts as the key witness of who He is.