“One Lawgiver”

In this brief passage, James commands us to speak not against one another (Jam.4:11-12). “Speaking against” one another here is, or at least includes, judging a brother or sister in Christ. When we participate in this sin we also speak against the law and judge the law. The law James has in mind is probably the “royal law,” “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (1:8). The royal law is the law of “King” Jesus Who also demanded that we not judge one another (Matt.7:1; cp.Rom.14:13). Judging is not the loving thing to do, and so when we judge another we speak against the law’s authority in our lives. But what does it mean to judge the law? It is possible that James was addressing a situation in which some were judging the conduct of others according to their own standards. Therefore, they may have been judging the law of God by adding their own laws. In doing this they judged the law incomplete in governing the conduct of Christians. They were in effect adding laws, and becoming lawgivers. But as verse 12 says, “There is one Lawgiver, Who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?”