If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.
The Occasion to Sin
Royal law or “sovereign law”: the idea is that this law is supreme or binding. What is the Royal Law? Love your neighbor. If you fulfill this, you do well. According to the scripture, this most likely is written in reference to Leviticus 19:18 which states, “Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD..”
This same law is given throughout scripture: Matthew 22:39 says, “And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” And in Romans 13:9, “For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Lastly, according to Galatians 5:14, “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. “
Love thy neighbor as thyself. This is the Royal law. This law, when combined with the command to love God, summarizes all the Law and the Prophets. “James is not advocating some kind of emotional affection for one’s self, for self-love is clearly a sin;” Though the fact of self being primary is evident. The command is to pursue meeting the physical health and spiritual well-being of our neighbor.
Pastor Chance Strickland
Harpeth Baptist Church
Kingston Springs, TN