James 2:10-11: “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. For he who said, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ also said, ‘You shall not murder.’ If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.”
James is continuing his explanation of the Royal Law to love your neighbor. He picks two of the ten commandments, ones that directly tie into how we treat our neighbors. If we have broken even one point of law, we are guilty of breaking the whole thing. Romans 3:23 adds, “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.”
I remember having to walk across a bridge once while I was out fishing with my dad. The bridge was very dilapidated, and I hate heights. Some boards were missing, most were loose, and the bridge wobbled all over the place—a scary moment for a kid. Since just one panel (in this case many) was broken, the whole bridge was broken. Another illustration is the weak link in a chain. It only takes one for the entire thing to break. It is the same with the law. Break one commandment, and you’re guilty.
That’s where grace comes in. If salvation comes from law-keeping, then the cross becomes unnecessary. However, as James and Paul point out, it is impossible to keep the law perfectly. So, we need grace.
Also, don’t use this verse to justify more sin. Don’t tell yourself that because you can’t keep every demand, so why try. Instead, ask for forgiveness where you need it and renew your effort to pursue faith and Christian maturity.
Some questions to consider:
-Where have you stumbled at obeying God?
-Why is grace so amazing?
-Are you using your guilt in one area of life to excuse sin in another?