For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.
God’s law is not a buffet where we can pick and choose which commandments to obey and which to ignore. James explains that they are all part of a unified whole. Disobeying even one commandment makes us a sinner and law breaker. Breaking one law earns us the penalty of death.
For more about sin—the transgression of God’s law—see our article “What Is Sin?”