by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Study # 42 June 24, 1998 Harlingen, Texas
Thesis:What does judgment by the Law of Liberty look like?
Introduction:Last week we considered the problem of the power of delusion. We noted that believers who think that God tolerates some of their rebellions against His agenda because of their involvement in other aspects of His agenda are self-deceived. God is not satisfied with, nor does He tolerate, anything less than complete submission to the imperative of love, based upon the reality of love. Now, obviously, there is a problem here, given the fact that James himself admits that we all stumble in many ways--particularly in our speech.
In what way does God exercise a perfect intolerance and a merciful tolerance at the same time? The answer, in a nutshell, is that He makes a distinction between what He knows we know and what He knows we are in ignorance about. This evening we are going to crack the nutshell and see if we can unwrap what is in it.
I. What Does It Mean to be Judged by the Law of Liberty?
A. First question: What is the Law of Liberty?
1. We have already run across it in 1:25.
a. There we saw that it is the equivalent to the living Word that finds its expression internally through the written Word.
b. The issue of that context is that the Word contains specific instruction to enable us to think, believe, and act like Christians.
2. The question is its title as "The Law of Liberty".
a. In what way should we take this title?
b. Clearly, it has to be taken in a way that is compatible with merciless judgment.
c. Therefore, it must mean that it is a Law that sets forth a new principle of freedom that holds us accountable.
1) Point 1: It is not a freedom from being accountable; i.e., it is not a freedom from judgment.
2) Point 2: It must be a freedom to being capable in a way we were not before faith came. [Note Galatians 3:21 and Jesus' "to whom much is given, much is required".]
B. Second Question: How does "mercy" fit into the scenario of judgment?
1. The issue of mercy is the issue of willingness to extend benefit because of the conditions being suffered.
2. The issue of mercilessness is the issue of being unwilling to allow for mitigating circumstances.
C. What is the Bottom Line?
1. Being willing to permit imperfection in one who is clearly committed.
2. Being unwilling to accept clear violation in one who is not clearly committed.