“One who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man shall be blessed in what he does” (James 1:25).
James 1:21-24 contrasts hearers of the Word and doers of the Word. Hearers don’t respond to Scripture or benefit from its truths—though they may study it in depth. Doers receive it in humility and obey its commands. James 1:25 adds that they are blessed in what they do. That means there is blessing in the very act of obedience.
James calls Scripture “the perfect law, the law of liberty” (v. 25). It is “law” because it’s God’s obligatory behavioral code. Grace doesn’t eliminate God’s moral law—it gives us the spiritual resources to obey it, and forgiveness when we fail. That’s how Jesus fulfills the law in us (cf. Matt. 5:17).
Scripture is “the perfect law” because it is complete, sufficient, comprehensive, and without error. Through it God meets every need and fulfills every desire of the human heart. In addition, it is “the law of liberty.” That may sound paradoxical because we tend to think of law and freedom as opposites. But as you look intently into the Word, the Holy Spirit enables you to apply its principles to your life, thereby freeing you from the guilt and bondage of sin, and enabling you to live to God’s glory. That’s true freedom!
“Look intently” translates a Greek word that pictures bending down to examine something with care and precision. Stooping implies humility and a desire to see clearly what Scripture reveals about your own spiritual condition. It’s an attitude as well as an action.
As you study Scripture, let this be your underlying attitude: “Lord, as I gaze intently into your Word, reveal the things in my life that need to be changed. Then grant me the grace to make those changes so I can live more fully to your glory.”
Suggestions for Prayer
Memorize Psalm 139:23-24 and make it your sincere prayer.
For Further Study
Read Hebrews 4:12-13.
• To what is God’s Word compared?
• What effect does the Word have on those who are exposed to it?
From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187