When the Law is Good News

When we properly understand the requirements of God, we find ourselves in dire straits.  God’s Law is exhaustive and inflexible.  It prescribes not only the actions required of God, but also the mandated attitudes.  The Law tells us that which we are never to do; it also prescribes that which we ought always to do.  As such, it is our holy taskmaster.  It is always in our head and heart.  It is always on our back.  And it is always reminding us of our failures, for none of us fully keep the Law.  None of us are righteous.  All have sinned and have fallen short of God’s required standard, and the consequences of our rebellion are temporal and eternal separation from God.  The Law is horrible news, for it saves none and damns all.

However, when we properly understand the Gospel, we find ourselves enjoying temporal and eternal sabbath.  Jesus Christ is the friend and savior of sinners, and as such he is our divinely provided substitute.  He is our Law Keeper — the perfect worshiper who loved God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength. Additionally, he is the Lamb of God who was slaughtered for our transgressions. When we rest in the mercy, grace and love of God displayed through Christ, we find ourselves rescued from the condemnation of the Law.  It is only then that the Law becomes good news.  The Law that formerly condemned us, now commends us.  We are given all the blessings and benefits of a perfect and flawless Law Keeper.  This is not due to any merit or righteousness of our own, but only due to the faithfulness of Jesus Christ who fully kept the Law in our place.

But what now?  Are we done with the Law?  Is the Moral Law somewhat similar to our foreign language requirements in high school?  Was Law-Keeping just a stage in life from which we are now free?  The answer is “Yes” and “No.”  Yes, we are free from the Civil Law as given to Israel.  Yes, we are free from the Ceremonial Law as practiced by Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and the rest of ancient Israel.  Yes, we are always free from the religious laws and traditions of men that go above and beyond that which is found in Holy Scripture.  However, we are never free from worshiping God rightly.  We are never free from becoming more and more like Jesus.  We are never free from advancing in holiness, and neither would we want to be, for this is our new passion and desire.

David said:

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether.  More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. (Psalm 19:7-12)

Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes; and I will keep it to the end. Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart.  Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it.  Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain!  Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways … Behold, I long for your precepts; in your righteousness give me life. (Psalm 119:33-40)

Let your steadfast love come to me, O Lord, your salvation according to your promise … I will keep your law continually, forever and ever, and I shall walk in a wide place, for I have sought your precepts.   I will also speak of your testimonies before kings and shall not be put to shame,  for I find my delight in your commandments, which I love.  I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love, and I will meditate on your statutes … Oh how I love your law!  It is my meditation all the day. (Psalm 119:41-48, 97) 

Jesus said:

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)

Paul said:

So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. (Romans 7:12)

John said:

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. (1 John 5:1-3)

Therefore, enjoy the Law of God.  It revives our souls, causes our heart to rejoice, and makes us wise.  The benefits of Lawful living are plenty.  Enjoy the rest of Jesus, but also his tender yoke.  Rest in him, but also learn from him, and do not fall prey to the false teaching of legalists or antinomians.  For Christians, the Law is not burdensome.  For Christians, the Law is good news.  It is delightful!

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Scripture Reading Plan: 

Saturday, December 7 – Daniel 7-8; 1 John 5

Sunday, December 8 – Daniel 9-10; 2 John 1

Monday, December 9 – Daniel 11-12; 3 John 1

Tuesday, December 10 – Hosea 1-4; Jude 1

Wednesday, December 12 – Hosea 5-8; Revelation 1


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