“But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” -James 1:25
What law is James (Jacob) talking about here? What is the law of liberty? James talks of a person looking into a mirror in the previous verses:
“For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.” -James 1:23-24
So what James is saying is that if we look at God’s perfect law we are looking into a mirror. That mirror shows us our ‘blemishes’. That is the whole purpose of looking into the mirror. If we were going to look into a mirror and not pay attention to the image in the mirror, what good is the mirror? If we look into a mirror and see a blemish we work to get rid of that blemish. So to James and to us the law reveals our ‘blemishes’ and when it reveals them then we are to start doing something about them. If we do not then we are ‘forgetful hearers’ because we heard the commandment but we did nothing about it. So we can see that James understood that God’s law was good and perfect for the repentance of the soul. (Psalm 19:7)
If we were to look into a mirror and it showed us that their was a blemish or a spot on our face then most of us will not go smash the mirror. But how many of us look at God’s law and when we don’t like what we see we smash the law? What James is saying is that we forget what the law says. I say we smash God’s commandments because we do not want to repent of our actions! May it never be! When we look into the mirror of the perfect law of liberty, we need to work to get rid of the blemishes on our faces.
What about the law giving freedom? Laws do give freedom, without laws you have anarchy where everyone does what is right in their own eyes. Then there is no freedom for anyone because everyone takes what they want of need from others. If you could have perfect laws then you could have a perfect society. This is exactly what the commandments of God produce…a perfect society. A society of freedom governed by the laws of liberty.
There is one more distinction to be made here. The concept of liberty now in the United States is not the same concept as in the book of James. When the country was founded liberty meant that everyone would be free to follow God they way they saw fit. Now it means you are free to pursue whatever you want, to fulfil your dreams. The concept of liberty and freedom in the Bible is to obey God’s commandments because they are life, and they lead to life. So freedom comes through discipline and obedience. When you look into God’s perfect Law of Liberty you adjust your walk in order to follow Him and you turn from your ways and follow His perfect way.