Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Christians and the Law of God

I guess it is sometimes hard for those touched by the grace of God to understand how some fall into the error of justification by keeping the law of God.  There are many places in Scripture that seem to clearly refute this error.  One in particular stands out in Exodus  20:1.  God specifically reminds Israel that they have already been delivered from Egypt; they have already been redeemed from Pharaoh's rule.  After all his army was destroyed and they were no longer in the land.  Then and only then does God give them the Law.  If he had given them the Law while they were still in Egypt and said that if they performed well enough he would deliver them, then works unto salvation would have some footing, but this simply is not the case anywhere in Scripture. 
The Law, among other things, was the way a redeemed people could serve and glorify the God that made and saved them.  As we journey through Romans in our Sunday messages we have found this to be one of Paul’s points as he moves from chapter 11 to chapter 12 in which he starts to lay down some specific duties on the ones whom God has delivered from the hand of the enemy of sin and death.  The good news is that salvation is accomplished and therefore always must precede any duties laid on God’s people.  The duties or laws of God are simply the Lord showing people who have now been enabled to love him how to show that love.  To see the duties of being a Christian as restrictive only reflects an unregenerate heart.  Perhaps an illustration will show my point.
I recently joined the growing crowd of those men who have wimped out and bought a GPS.  Gone are the days where it is considered manly to reach a destination on your own instincts whether you get lost or not.  The basic use of a map or GPS is to get to a certain point and to get there the most effect way; quickest, cheapest, etc.  But in following that map, you willingly place yourself under its guidelines.  When the irritating voice says turn right, you turn right!  You have given up some freedom but only because your freedom will take you all over the place and perhaps hinder you from reaching your goal. 
Now the point to remember here is that the goal is not heaven because that has already been guaranteed to us in Christ.  The goal as saints is to honor the Lord in all that we do.  Thus the Royal Law of Liberty gives us directions as to how best honor our God, not how to gain access to Heaven.  They keep us from wandering all over the place and dishonoring the Lord by human wisdom as we are trying to serve him.  Simply put they give those who love Christ directions on how to love him as he desires.  Only those who want to serve him will use the “map”.  Those who don’t love our Lord have little interest in “map reading”; they will just wander through life doing their own thing and never reach the goal. 
The danger, though, is that sometimes saints lose sight of this as their love for the Lord waxes cold and so they lay little importance on the map, seen in their lax regard for the Bible and church and become lost in their efforts to serve the Lord.  Perhaps this coldness also causes them to see God’s laws as restrictive, but properly understood, they are actually enabling.  It is the religionist whose heart has not been changed that see the Bible as telling him to do something he does not want to do; as stopping him from having “fun”.  May we guard ourselves from such coldness.

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