Q: Does the Bible call the Ten Commandments the “law of liberty”? How could the Law liberate someone?
YOU ARE CORRECT ABOUT THE PHRASE. JAMES 1:25 (ESV) SAYS:
But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. This verse makes us take a closer look at the Law, which from the context includes the whole Bible.
Notice James offers two words to describe the Law. The first is “perfect,” which means “lacking nothing,” and we would agree God’s Word doesn’t leave anything out.
If you read Psalm 19, the Psalmist also refers to the Law as perfect and adds that the Law restores the soul. We’ve all heard of restoring old paintings or historic buildings, but imagine the Bible repairing damage done to your inner person. Amazing!
I have interviewed many people who say Scripture turned their lives around. One of them was apologist Josh McDowell.
After he put his trust in the Lord, he said studying the Bible helped him overcome sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of his father. I have also seen the Word change my heart, so I could forgive serious hurts. Awesome!
The second word James used to define the law is “liberty,” which means “the state of being free.” We think of a law as keeping us from doing what we want, the opposite of freedom. However, look at what Jesus said:
And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. (John 8:32 ESV)
Let me give you an example.
Imagine a woman who thinks she’s worthless. However, we can tell her the Bible offers her a different message, one that’s true.
I like that picture I’ve seen on t-shirts where Jesus has thrown open his arms in love, and you can see the cross in the background. He suffered all that agony for that lady who feels useless. Wow! Instead of holding us back, Jesus grants us life.
Remember what He said to Mary outside the tomb of Lazarus. “I am the resurrection and the life.”
Before you place your faith in Him, sin controls you, but He sets you free so you can live the way He designed you. Mind-boggling!
Now let’s go back to the passage in James where we started. The author commends the person who looks — intently peers — into the perfect law that sets you free.
If that individual obeys, James tells us God blesses that person.