How Often Do You Look? Part One


You might be wondering about the title of this article. After all, there seems to be something missing. How often do I look at what? The answer lies in the first chapter of the book of James. In the context of teaching that a man must not only be a hearer of the Word, but a doer, James also wrote, “For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was” (James 1:23-24). Most of us have no doubt spent considerable time examining our reflections in a mirror. Over time, those reflections have changed. What we now see is not what we once saw. That is just a fact of life. With that being understood, we can forget how we used to appear. James used this knowledge to teach a great spiritual lesson. He wrote, “But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed” (James 1:25). There is a lot in that verse, so let us break it down a little bit at a time.

First of all, let us explain what “the perfect law of liberty” is. For years, those under the Old Law of Moses were “cursed”. As Paul put it, “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith” (Gal. 3:10-11). There was no freedom/liberty under the Old Law. The reason for this is that no man obtained true forgiveness of his sins under the Old Law. “For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins” (Heb. 10:1-4). With the introduction of the Gospel/New Law man-kind could finally be rid of the “curse”. Paul stated, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith” (Rom. 1:16-17). Thanks to the New Law of Christ/the Gospel mankind can finally be truly free. Paul also wrote, “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace…But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness” (Rom. 6:14-18). Therefore, “the perfect law of liberty” is the Gospel of Jesus Christ/the Law of Christ/the New Testament.

Next, let us notice that a man must “look” “into the perfect law of liberty”. How is that accomplished? The only reasonable explanation is that a man must read/study the Law of Christ. The Gospel will not do any good for a man who will not learn It and obey It. Under the Old Law, Hosea was distressed that his peers had forsaken studying the Law of Moses. He wrote, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children” (Hos. 4:6). Timothy was instructed, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15). The young preacher was to be diligent in his efforts to learn how to utilize God’s Word correctly. That could not be done without reading/studying. Today, when people refuse to read their Bibles, especially the New Testament, they are ignoring the one thing that will instruct them into freedom from sin. This lack of “looking” “into the perfect law of liberty” is not just a problem in the world at large. Sadly, many of those who are children of God have stopped diligently reading/studying God’s Word. Many things that were once well understood in the church are now either forgotten or ignored. We must take the initiative to “look” “into the perfect law of liberty” on a regular basis. It will help us to grow and develop as God would have us to do (2 Pet. 3:18).

to be continued…

~ Corey Barnette