God’s Perfect Law of Liberty

Mike Johnson

James 1:25 says, “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 work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”  This verse reveals some important points about God’s perfect law of liberty.  Those who obey this verse are put in contrast with the mere “hearers” of verse 22. Consider what is said in this passage about the perfect law of liberty.

  1. It must be LOOKED INTO. This is not speaking of a casual look or a glance at the Word of God.  The word in the Greek means “to gaze carefully by the side of, to peer into or to peep into” (Roberson’s Word Pictures).  It is the same word used in John 20:5 where John is described as looking into the empty tomb of Christ.  The NASB translates it “looks intently.” It is important that we engage in a very serious study of God’s Word.
  2. It is PERFECT. The word translated “perfect” means complete or full. This makes it clear that God’s law, the Bible, is God’s complete revelation for us today. It is all we need, and there is no need to use man-made creeds as guides. A number of passages speak of the finality and completeness of God’s revelation (Jude 3, II Tim. 3:16-17, Gal. 1:6-10, Rev. 22:18-19).
  3. It is a LAW. Some say we are not under “law” today.  It is true we are not under the Law of Moses, but a number of passages make it clear we are under a law.  The Scriptures point out we are under the law of Christ (Gal. 6:2, I Cor. 9:21), the law of the Spirit and life (Rom. 8:2), and the law of love 13:10).
  4. It is a law of LIBERTY. The expression “law of liberty” may seem like  a contradiction to some.  But, true liberty can only exist where there is a law.  Those who follow their own passions and desires are the “servants” of Satan (Rom. 6:16-17) as they yield to him.  True freedom is in Christ.  Jesus said, (Jn. 8:32) “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Through Christ, we can be free from sin (Rom. 6:18).
  5. It must be obeyed.  Our verse says we must “continue in” the perfect law of liberty.  The NASB says, “abide by it.”  The verse also says one must be a “doer of the work” (“doing it” – NIV). This section is speaking of obedience to God’s Word.  Verse 22 says, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”  I Corinthians 15:58 says we must be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.
  6. It will PRODUCE BLESSINGS. We are also told that the person who obeys these instructions “would be blessed in what he does.”  How is this the case?  First, obeying the perfect law of liberty produces happiness here upon this earth.  Please note the following ways this can be seen.  Faithful Christians will generally make good choices in life which will result in greater happiness (Eph. 6:2-3).  2.  Also, Christians can  have a clear conscience.   3.  Christians have a relationship with God which allows them to communicate with Him through prayer, 4. There are assurances regarding God providing the physical necessities of life (Mt. 6:33).  Second, in a separate category, faithful Christians will receive the ultimate reward which is a home in heaven (Mt. 25:46).  Psalm 19:11 points out that we are warned by God’s Law and then says, ” . . . And in keeping them there is great reward.”

HOW DO YOU REGARD GOD’S PERFECT LAW OF LIBERTY?