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Read Introduction to James


“There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?”


A self-assertive attitude causes criticism of others (v.11). Self-righteousness always causes contempt of others. This was the attitude of the Pharisees of Jesus’ day. James now gives a powerful argument against judging fellow believers. 

There is one Lawgiver,

All the law can be summed up in one sentence – “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Criticism of others places self above the law. When we place ourselves above the law, we place ourselves above the Lawgiver, the true originator, and Judge of the law. Criticism of others is criticism of the law. We sit in judgment on the law when we judge others. 

The word “one” emphasizes that God has ultimate authority over the law in a mutually exclusive sense. God is the ultimate being that brought the law into existence. There is one Lawgiver who at once both gives the law and judges the law. We did not help God institute His laws, so why do we act as if we can autonomously judge others? 


All law comes from God because God is the ultimate law. 


All human laws originate from God’s laws, whether biblical law, natural law, or civil law. All good laws of men stem from God’s law. We cannot climb upon the throne of God and make the same kind of judgments He makes because He is infinite, and we are finite. 

God’s laws always benefit man for man’s good. His laws do not favor some over others. We cannot manipulate His law for subjective purposes because His law is always true to His character. God never demands anything of us that is not consistent with Himself and His own acts. He is always true to Himself.