Guilty of the Whole Law (March 21-27, 2021)

Guilty of the Whole

“For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all” (James 2:10). I heard Christians use this passage all throughout my childhood to talk about Christians who commit “minor sins.” According to them, and myself when I used this same passage later, whoever told a white lie was just as bad in God’s eyes as a murderer. “One can keep you out of Heaven” is a rule I lived by, and it has caused me untold shame, anxiety, and distrust of myself and, more importantly, God and his . Those who preach such things are being honest, but their sermons come from a place of ignorance. When James wrote his letter, he was writing to a specific group of people who were very familiar with the Law. In fact, many were still keeping it and proud of doing so. James’ statement is not a universal condemnation of anyone who makes mistakes; it is a unique critique of the situation among Jewish Christians in the first century. 

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