What Does It Mean to Be Guilty of Breaking All of God’s Law?
May 30, 2024 Blogs by: Tim Jennings, M.D.

The Bible tells us:

For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it (James 2:10 NIV84).

I have heard various arguments made about this passage that focus on our behavior, a rules-oriented approach, identifying various “laws” of God and alleging that not keeping one rule means we are guilty of breaking all the law. But the only way that James’ description can be true is if we understand that God’s law is design law and reject the idea that God’s law functions like human law, imposed rules that require legal oversight and infliction of punishment.

If we think God’s law is imposed rules, then what James wrote is not true. It is not true that a person who cheats on their taxes is also guilty of child molestation. It is not true that when someone commits adultery, they are also guilty of murder or selling drugs to kids.

Would you accept as true the declaration that because you lost your temper and cursed your neighbor that you are guilty of rape? No! You would say, “I am not!”

Instead, James’ statement that breaking one point of the law makes one guilty of breaking all the law is only true when we realize that God’s law is design law, the law of love built right into reality. It doesn’t matter the specific way we are selfish; any form of anti-love, anti-truth, anti-righteousness is breaking the law.

  • If we bear false witness against our neighbor, we fail to love.
  • If we dishonor our parents, we fail to love.
  • If we commit adultery, we fail to love.
  • If we murder, we fail to love.
  • If we steal, we fail to love.
  • If we covet, we fail to love.
  • If we have other gods, we fail to love.
  • If we take God’s name, calling ourselves Christian but misrepresent Him by teaching He is an imperial dictator and source of death, we fail to love.
  • If we find false images of God worthy of our affections, we fail to love.
  • If we don’t remember the Sabbath and, therefore, don’t embrace and apply the truth it reveals to us, we fail to love.

Failing to love is the transgression of God’s law; the Ten Commandments were added for the need of fallen humanity, to help expose to our minds that our natural hearts and minds fail to love. That is why we need to be reborn with a new heart and right spirit that loves God and others, which is exactly what James was describing:

If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. … For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it (James 2:8, 10 NIV84).

I invite you to reject the imposed-law lies about God and His government and return to worshiping Him as our Creator, the one who built reality, who is love, and whose laws are the design protocols of love that the fabric of the cosmos operates upon.

See this blog for more on the Design Laws of God

And for more on victory see our blog Victory Through Intimate Love.

 

 

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Tim Jennings, M.D. Timothy R. Jennings, M.D., is a board-certified psychiatrist, master psychopharmacologist, Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, Fellow of the Southern Psychiatric Association, and an international speaker. He served as president of the Southern and Tennessee Psychiatric Associations and is president and founder of Come and Reason Ministries. Dr. Jennings has authored many books, including The God-Shaped Brain, The God-Shaped Heart, and The Aging Brain.
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