Wednesday, September 3, 2008
How Sinful is Man? James 2:10
James 2:10, "For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it." ESV (To read all of James chapter 2, click here.)
"For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." KJV
"For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all." NASB
"For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all." NKJV
This is both a stunning and frightening verse. We are told quite simply, yet profoundly, that if we have broken God's law even once, then we are just as guilty as if we had broken all of it.
If we look at just the 10 commandments, James 2:10 tells us that we have worshiped other gods, made false gods, taken the Lord's name in vain, abused the Sabbath, dishonored our parents, murdered, committed adultery, stolen, lied, and coveted.
Although the implications of this verse are scary, we can also benefit a great deal from it. The reason is that this verse places all people on the same level before God. No one is better than anyone else. We are all guilty of breaking all of God's law. We have all grossly sinned. We all deserve physical and spiritual death.
If we grasp the depth of these truths, there is then only one logical conclusion: we both deserve to die and are going to die unless someone else saves us. This then ought to cause us to run to the beauty of the gospel message.
Additionally, this verse magnifies the holiness of God. God, who is without sin and perfectly pure, does not simply count individual sins against us. Rather, because He is perfectly holy, He must require absolute obedience from His subjects. If we sin just once, that means that we have eternally blasphemed against God. This is why if we sin once, it is as if we have transgressed the entire law.
When we ponder God's complete perfection and our corruption, it shows us just how amazing and horrific Jesus' sacrifice on the cross really was. God did not in any way forget about any of our sin. Instead, He placed the punishment for all of our lawbreaking upon the head of Christ on the cross. What a great sacrifice!
The forgiveness of our absolute corruption magnifies the wondrous glory of God.
In light of James 2:10, we must cry out, "Hallelujah!" What else can we say?