Summary: Since we all are law breakers, we need to seek mercy. Those who have found mercy from God’s judgment should no longer judge other’s with partiality but with mercy.
A LAW OF LIBERATING LOVE
Getting a proper perspective can help change our attitude. A COWBOY out west was driving down a dirt road with his dog riding in back of the pickup truck and his faithful horse in the trailer behind. He failed to negotiate a curve and had a terrible accident.
Sometime later a state trooper came upon the scene. An animal lover, he saw the horse first. Realizing the terminal nature of its injuries, he drew his service revolver and put the animal out of it’s misery. He walked around the accident and found the dog, also hurt critically. He couldn’t bear to hear it whine in pain, so he ended the dog’s suffering as well.
Next he tried to locate the cowboy who had suffered multiple fractures when he was thrown out of his pickup. As the officer broke through the weeds he saw him. The cop asked, "Hey are you okay?"
The cowboy took one look at the smoking revolver in the trooper’s hand and quickly replied, "Never felt better!"
Getting a proper perceptive can change our attitude and behavior. The perspective of our text today should help us gain the understanding that we all need God’s mercy.
The Divine Law of the Old Testament is impartial and indivisible. To break it at one point breaks it all together because it is one unit. It applies to all people equally. Since therefore we all are law breakers, we need to seek mercy. Those who have found mercy from God’s judgment should no longer judge other’s with partiality but with mercy. For the person who refuses to give mercy on the human level will receive no mercy on the divine level. We would be wise to let mercy triumph over judgment so that we too might be judged with mercy. Let us follow the royal law, the law of love that is to be impartially extended to one’s neighbor.
I. FULFILL THE ROYAL LAW, 8.
II. THE INDIVISIBLE UNITY OF THE DIVINE LAW, 9-11.
III. MERCY RECEIVED BECOMES MERCY GIVEN, 12-13.
In verse 8 we are called upon to fulfill the royal law of love. If indeed you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR (the one near you) AS YOURSELF," you are doing well.
The law of love, you shall love you neighbor as yourself, is called the Royal Law because it is the supreme law and is to be the source of all other laws governing human relationship. It is the summation of all God’s laws (Mt. 22:36-40; Rom. 13:8-10). It is also called royal or regal (basilikon for basileus, meaning king) because it is decreed by the one true King, the King of Kings (Jn. 13:34).
Love is the law of His Kingdom, it is the law of liberty. To fulfill the royal law is to carry it out, to put it into practice. Obedience to this law of love is the answer to prejudicial favoritism. There would be no reason for the Divine Law if each person truly loved his neighbor as himself. Love for God motivates us to obey the Word of God and treat people as God commands.
This generation needs to go "back-to-basics." Nothing is more basic than the "royal law." Frustrated, angry Christians contradict their calling. Football coach Vince Lombardi was fanatical about basics. Once, his Green Bay Packers were defeated by an inferior team. At the team meeting, the players had no idea what to expect. Lombardi gritted his teeth and stared holes through one man after another. Finally, he spoke: "‘OK, we go back to basics this morning...’ Holding a football high enough for all to see, he continued to yell: ‘Gentlemen, this is a football!’" that is like telling a piano player, "This is middle C." It is like telling an artist, "This is a paintbrush." yet, countless Christians and churches need to go back to basics in just that simple way. Christians need to love their neighbor as themselves.
Far too often Christians treat each other in a non-loving prejudicial manner. They gossip or talk about others instead of praying for others and reaching out to help them overcome their weaknesses. [Business meetings become times of verbal brawls, committee meetings erupt with anger, and] Christians who are too busy to stop and reach out to a hurting neighbor contradict the royal law. Christ’s people need to get back to basics!
Where Christians apply this royal law of love homes are remade, church are transformed, neighborhoods become true communities. James says some were loving and experiencing its results (Mt. 25:21). They were living in the power of the resurrected Christ, who alone can enable us to fulfill His command to love others as ourselves.