The Apostle James speaks prominently of the “Royal Law.” What does he mean, and what does that mean to us?
James called on the church not to show partiality or favoritism. He called on believers not to look on “the face” but to look on who our fellow believers are. They are those who belong to Christ. James said, “If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law, according to Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing well” (James 2:8).
How do we fulfill this royal law and “do well?” What does this mean?
First, love trumps everything. The first and greatest commandment is to love God with all our being. The second fits closely with the first. We should love our neighbor as we love ourself. If we do this and think of our duty to love in this way, we do well because we please God.
This love shows up in practical ways as we worship and fellowship together.
Second, the royal law implies that loving God leads to loving our neighbor. If we love God, we also love His children. We cannot please God without loving those for whom He gave His Son.
Third, this means that everyone counts. In this sense, its not just that we shouldn’t give the rich person special attention but that everyone should get the special attention that comes from being a child of God.
It’s easy to look at people and make judgments. We are at least tempted to do this all the time.
When we do so, we make distinctions among ourselves and we become “judges with evil motives.” This should not be the way we function in the kingdom of God.
Finally, the royal law is the greatest of laws. It comes from the king Himself. Nothing should be more important than the edict of the king that we love our neighbor as we love ourself.