The Royal Law | The Institute for Creation Research
The Royal Law

“If ye fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, ye do well” (James 2:8).

The command to love our neighbors as we do ourselves is found often “according to the scripture.” James calls it the royal law, no doubt because it is a command “of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory” (James 2:1). On an earthly level, it applies to kings as well as peasants, and it is cited in a context dealing with the sin of “respect to persons” (v.9).

It was cited by the Lord Jesus as second in importance only to the command of total love for God (Matthew 22:37). “And the second is like unto it,” He said, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matthew 22:39). It is also quoted in Mark 12:31; Luke 10:27; Matthew 5:43; and Matthew 19:19.

The Apostle Paul stressed its profound importance in these words: “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Galatians 5:14).

All of these references are actually taken from the original establishment of this royal command by God Himself. “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: I am the LORD” (Leviticus 19:18). God’s evaluation of its importance is indicated by the fact that it is cited eight times in the Bible in six different books.

How to put God’s royal law into practice is perhaps best expressed by God’s golden rule. “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets” (Matthew 7:12).

Of course, obedience to the royal law can never earn our salvation, for no one except Christ has ever obeyed it fully. Nevertheless, these exhortations of Christ and His apostles are directed to His followers, and we who are saved through faith in Christ should seek to follow His example, if we truly love Him. HMM

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