Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Law and Love (Part 3 of 3)

In the final segment of this series we look at our response to God's love expressed through the giving of His law.


The Law as an Instrument of Love

We began with the understanding that God gave us his commandments out of love but we sinned against him by breaking his commandments. We brought a curse upon ourselves, but God demonstrates his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, God sent his son to pay the penalty for our sins and remove the curse.

Jesus Christ was the perfect image of God because he kept the law perfectly. He never sinned. His righteousness made him the only possible representative to stand in the place of sinners and receive the full wrath of God in our place. If we realize that Jesus Christ took the penalty for your sins, died and rose again in victory then how can we possibly express our gratitude for giving us new life?

Jesus didn’t make it complicated, he said, “If you love me, then keep my commandments.” God loves us by giving us his commandments and we love him by keeping them. When we behave like we belong to His family then we exalt him before a fallen world.

But not only are the commandments given in love and obeyed in love but Jesus said that love and obedience are the same thing. When our Lord was asked, what is the greatest commandment, he answered:

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matt. 22:37-40

Bishop Augustine condensed it even more, he said, “Love God and do as you please.” The apostle Paul said in 2 Cor. 5: 14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

The love of Christ controls us, the commandments and our love for Christ cause us to no longer live for ourselves.

I want to leave you with a picture of a kite.
My family went to fly kites over in the park. My three year old son and six year old daughter had some pretty generic delta wing kites which worked fine and they brought them joy. My twelve year old daughter had this great nylon kite that looked like an Iguana. It was a beautiful piece of artwork. It had an enormous tail and perfectly balanced to ride the wind.

It flew amazingly high and it danced and responded effortlessly to each gust of wind that moved it. It expressed such freedom and grace as it beautifully lived up to its expectations.

Suddenly we heard my daughter cry, “Oh no!” I looked up and the kite seemed to be fine but now I noticed that the string in her hand was no longer pointing skyward toward the kite. The string had broke. The kite danced gracefully only a moment longer and then began to tumble and flip and flop and then fall.

You see, even the finest built kite is useless without a string to constrain and control it.

We are so much like that kite. We are designed for greatness. We, like our heavenly father, are able to reason, to make choices, to love, to work, to build, to lead and create. We love freedom but for many we get confused about what freedom should look like.

Only the blood of Jesus Christ sets us free from sin and the penalty of death. After that, he gives us the freedom not to sin and to live an abundant life. Now that life includes struggle, that’s true, for in this world there will be troubles, but be of good cheer for Christ has overcome the world and the penalty for your sin. When we fail to be obedient, we confess our sin and rely on Christ’s perfect obedience to the law.

Jesus said, you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free. God’s commandments and our loving obedience to them form the string on the kite. Without it, we can never live as the true children of God.

Prayer: We pray with the sweet psalmist of old that you would this day open our eyes, that we may behold wondrous things out of your law.

1 comment:

Shawn L said...

Hello Brother. Saw you this week on Wednesday

I know the topic of the Law is one of so many paths throughout the scriptures so we must seek to be biblically aware of all aspects.

Before Faith Came
-----------------
For example, God's Law is holy and just, but because of sin we are cursed under the law. Consider the fact that the ministry of death does not exceed the ministry of righteousness and it's glory.

Before faith came we were held captive under the law.

Those who believe they are justified by the law are severed from Christ.

Ephesians 2 "For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. "


In Christ
---------
In Christ there is no condemnation is the point of those verses showing the galatians their folly of thinking they could be
justified by lawkeeping.

Ezekiel 36:26 "And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you
to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I
will be your God"

After we have believe the Gospel and faith has come, we are now under the Christ's instruction. The law no longer condemns us because we have been justified by faith. We no longer are enslaved to it. There is a liberty that we enjoy in Christ. These passages in scripture do not mean we are
without law in all aspects as we have found in Jesus' teaching and
throughout the new testament. The Scriptures speak of the law in so many ways. There is a sense that we can and must say that "we are not under the law, but under Grace", but this does not render us without law in all respects.


This topic is so encompassing of so many texts and aspects something I myself struggle with grappling all aspects of how a Christian is to view the Law, but may God give us Grace to see the truth.