There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save, and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another? Princes and states are not excluded, by what is here said, from making laws; nor are subjects at all encouraged to disobey human laws; but Yahweh is still to be acknowledged as the supreme Lawgiver, who only can give law to the conscience, and who alone is to be absolutely obeyed.

Matthew Henry – James 4:12

His right to enact laws is incontestable, because He has such a power to enforce them. He is able to save, and to destroy, so as no other can. He has power fully to reward the observance of his laws, and to punish all disobedience; He can save the soul, and make it happy for ever, or He can, after He has killed, cast into hell; and therefore should be feared and obeyed as the great Lawgiver, and all judgment should be committed to Him.

Since there is one Lawgiver, we may infer that it is not for any man or company of men in the world to pretend to give laws immediately to bind conscience; for that is Yahweh’s prerogative, which must not be invaded.

As the apostle had before warned against being many masters, so here He cautions against being many judges. Let us not prescribe to our brethren, let us not censure and condemn them; it is sufficient that we have the law of Yahweh, which is a rule to us all; and therefore we should not set up other rules. Let us not presume to set up our own particular notions and opinions as a rule to all about us; for there is one Lawgiver.


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