Daily Devotional

James 2:10

"For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it."

We can look at a verse like this and think it’s too harsh. ONE failing makes you guilty of breaking the whole law? How is that fair?! At first read, it may seem unfair, but I think if we shift our perspective we will be reminded of how great the grace of Jesus Christ is.

Romans 3:23 reminds us that all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. God has set a standard and his standard is perfection. Since God Himself is perfect it would be out of his character to settle for anything less than perfection.

The last house we lived in had a huge picture window that almost covered an entire wall. Through it, there was a beautiful view of rolling hills and just about every night there was a perfectly framed sunset for us to enjoy. We didn’t always enjoy the view through that window however because we also have kids and for some reasons, kids leave smudges everywhere they go. More often than not, this large window was one large smudge.
I remember as a kid my parents had a little plaque that said “Cleaning the house while the kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk while it’s still snowing.” We lived in Pennsylvania which got a lot of snow. No one was ever out shoveling the walk WHILE it was still snowing because they knew it was pointless.

One could similarly argue there was no point cleaning our large window because as long as there were kids in the house, it would continue to be riddled with smudges. Perfection was unattainable, so why bother? Even though that was true, my wife Megan would diligently tackle the window of infinite smudges on a regular basis.
One time in particular I remember sitting down in a chair facing that window and it was spotless. Megan had cleaned it to perfection. As I sat there, I didn’t even see the window, I could see right past it to the beautiful sunset that was taking place. As I was drinking in the glorious view, one of my children went up to the window, put both hands on it, put their mouth on it, and blew. I admit, it was pretty funny, but it was also perfection-shattering. The window was no longer perfect. The rest of it was clean, but try as I may, I couldn’t look past the hand and face prints.

One spot, just one mark made that window no longer perfectly clean. The same is true of us. One sin is one sin too much because it shatters perfection. The truth of the matter is we’ve all sinned a lot more than one time. Even if we only sinned once a day (good luck) we’d still sin about 30,000 times in an average lifespan. No, we are far from perfect and have no right to have anything to do with our perfect God.
This is where one of my favorite verses comes into play: Romans 5:8, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

This is why I appreciate a verse like James 2:10. It reminds me that even just ONE sin is too much. It reminds me that even though I have committed far more than ONE sin I am not a lost cause. I have a Savior who traded His perfection for my iniquities. Because of the grace of Jesus Christ, I am forgiven and the same is true for all who believe.

English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.