The Law

amosesrembrandt

 

Oh, how I love Your law!

It is my meditation all the day. – Psalm 119:97

This is a verse that really smacks me upside the head. I just don’t know how to say that with much more impact or clarity. It really is a dividing line between those that say they love Jesus and those that really do love Jesus. Our relationship to the Bible is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of our hearts.

How can we really love God without knowing God and how do we know God without reading His Word? The Bible says of itself that it is sufficient for all things pertaining to godliness, righteous living, correction and instruction and then it summarizes that statement by saying “so that the man of God can be complete and thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

So it really seems to make the most sense that if you say you are a man of God you would be quite infatuated with the Word of God doesn’t it?

But what about “The Law”, that seems so harsh and unloving…it seems so legalistic to many modern day evangelicals.

The law or the Torah is simply a precept or a statute, and it primarily refers to the Decalogue (Ten Commandments) or the Pentateuch (Books of Moses). The law is a reflection of the heart of God. God is all these things and to have a proper understanding of God we must understand and love the things that He loves.

Why is this important?

Loving the law of God gives us wisdom and understanding. It is the most important thing we can gain, in fact it is said to be more valuable than gold or fine silver.

I have more understanding than all my teachers… – Psalm 119:99

I understand more than the ancients. – Psalm 119:100

God’s Word restrains us from evil and is a light unto our path. In other words it keeps us on the straight and narrow. It causes us to hate evil, to despise false ways, and bad thinking. How can one gain knowledge and wisdom without knowing God’s precepts and commands?

I have restrained my feet from every evil way, that I may keep Your word. – Psalm 119:101

Through Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way. – Psalm 119:104

The professing church today is full of those that really don’t care for the Word of God, much less the Law of God. They don’t read the Bible, they don’t know the Bible, and what they do know of the Bible is generally misquoted or taken out of context. The Bible should be the lifeblood of a Christian. It is like a gold mine that can never be fully harvested. It should be something we can never get enough of as we desire to grow in godliness. Jesus said if you’ve truly been born from above you will hunger and thirst for it. (Matthew 5:6)

The Law is the heart and etiquette of God and those that pick and choose, or those that dislike or even despise the law are at enmity with God no matter what their mouth might say. This is a real gut check. It’s a great way to examine yourself to see if you are truly in the faith. What is your relationship to your Bible?

Teach me, O LORD, the way of

   Your statutes,

And I shall keep it to the end.

Give me understanding, and I

   Shall keep Your law;

Indeed, I shall observe it with my

   Whole heart.

Make me walk in the path of

   Your commandments.

For I delight in it.

Incline my heart to Your

   Testimonies,

And not to covetousness.

Turn away my eyes from looking

   At worthless things,

And revive me in Your way. – Psalm 119:33-37

 

Kevin

 

If you find a professing Christian indifferent to his Bible, you may be sure that the very dust upon its cover will rise up in judgment against him. — C.H. Spurgeon

Depart From Me…

Antinomianism is alive and well in the professing church today.   It won’t take you long, or many Facebook conversations, to find out the reality of this statement. Many people desire to “be blessed”, many people desire a savior, and I’ve not met that many people that say they are unconcerned about an eternity in hell. But…they don’t mind going out and living like the devil.

So what is this word “Antinomianism”? And why is it such a big deal.

“Antinomianism teaches that “the believer was completely free from all obligation to the Law and any concession to legal duty was an infringement of free grace.” Roman Catholicism attacked Protestantism for allegedly granting a license to sin through its doctrine of justification by faith alone.   The council of Trent, in its decree on justification (1547) implicitly accused the Reformers of abolishing the law for the Christian.

In their view of the law, the Reformers spoke of three distinct “uses” or applications of the law.

  1. Civil – guide the civil magistrate in rewarding good and punishing evil (Romans 13:3-4; 1 Tim 2:1-2) Luther wrote – “The first understanding of the use of the Law is to restrain the wicked…This civic restraint is extremely necessary and was instituted by God, both for the sake of public peace and for the sake of preserving everything, but especially to prevent the course of the Gospel from being hindered by tumults and seditions of wild men.”
  2. Evangelical – drives sinners away from their own righteousness to trust in Christ alone. (Galatians 3:10, 24, Gal 2:17) Calvin said the law warns, informs, convicts and lastly condemns, every man of his own righteousness…
  3. Directive or normative – it serves as a didactic “rule of life” to guide believers in ways that are pleasing to their God and Savior. The law drives sinners to Christ through whom they “become doers of the law”. – James 1:22” [1] – From A Puritan Theology by Joel Beeke & Mark Jones

 

2 Corinthians 7:1 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

What is Paul referring back to when he says “therefore”?   We must look back at what Paul just said. He supports his upcoming argument with his previous statement, and as is the manner of Paul he consistently uses the Word of God, just as we should when we argue for the truth.

2 Corinthians 6:17 Therefore

“Come out from among them

And be separate, says the LORD.

Do not touch what is unclean,

And I will receive you.”

What we will consistently see is an argument against the Bible to support man’s sinful desires, and often we will see the twisting of the Scriptures to get them to say what we want them to say.   This is most often done in church going people, or people that want to hold onto their sin.   Thus Antinomianism, which means “against law”. Antinomians love to argue against the law. They want to be free from the guilt of obeying the law, but yet their conscience continues to bear witness against them and so they suppress the truth in their unrighteousness.

So what are we to understand about God’s law as New Testament believers? Are we under the obligation to keep the law? Can we keep the law?

One thing all must do, and all are responsible to do, is to understand God’s Word in full context. The best way to interpret Scripture is with Scripture. If you see something that doesn’t seem to make sense, use other Scripture to help you interpret.

Psalm 119:1-2 Blessed are the undefiled in the way. Who walk in the law of the LORD! Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, Who seek Him with the whole heart!

Psalm 119:11-12 Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You, Blessed are You, O LORD! Teach me Your statutes.

I won’t have the space to highlight all of Psalm 119 and the heart of a true believer, but it’s unmistakable, that there must be a heart transformation, and a burning desire to follow God’s law, IF, you are truly saved.

Paul knew this so well and he continued to drive home this point.

Romans 6:1-4 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death…even so we also should walk in newness of life.

The whole message of Scripture is a newness of life. It’s unmistakable, and those that want to continue in their sin are deceived. This does not mean sinless perfection. It means gaining ground on sin consistently. It means we will grow in holiness, because without holiness we will not see God.

This is the life of a Christian, or you’re not a Christian. This must be stressed, because it causes self-examination. It causes lamenting and mourning when we fall back into sin. It’s a constant desire to repent and turn from our sin. The stakes could not be higher. Don’t be deceived by the deceitfulness of sin and risk that you will someday stand before the righteous Judge and hear these words.

And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ – Matthew 7:23

 

Kevin

My Bible…

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Psalm 119:159-162 Consider how I love Your precepts; Revive me, O LORD, according to Your lovingkindness.  The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.  Princes persecute me without a cause, but my heart stands in awe of Your word.  I rejoice at Your word as one who find great treasure.

I’ve been thinking recently about those that claim Christianity but never crack open a bible.  They don’t bring them to church, they rarely go to them for guidance and they don’t use it in the way it has been prescribed by scripture.  Can you truly be a “Believer” and never, if rarely, open God’s Word?

I know you can in extreme examples such as the thief on the cross, the Lord told him he would be in paradise with Him today.  This man never went to church and probably never read the Tora.  He was saved to glorify God, just like all Believers.  I’m not talking about something like this.  I’m talking about Joe Christian that attends a service frequently, probably weekly and would identify himself as an evangelical.  He might even say he’s “born again”.

I want you to look around this weekend when you go to church and see how many people are carrying their bibles.  Take a sampling and then do an estimated percentage in your head.  Would it be shocking if it was less than 50%?  How about less than 10%?  How many read their bibles daily?  According to a recent article by Christianity Today, 80% of church goers don’t read daily.  Here is the article.

http://blog.christianitytoday.com/ctliveblog/archives/2012/09/lifeway-research-ed-stetzer-most-churchgoers-do-not-read-bible-daily.html

 

Are you in awe of God’s Word and find it as one who finds great treasure?  This may give you an indication of your condition before God.  Don’t check out just yet.  Why would I say that?

In Matthew Chapter 5 Jesus begins His Sermon on the Mount with what it means to enter the kingdom of heaven.  Do you remember this?  This is a road map to salvation.  You will be “Blessed” makarios – supremely blessed such as a blessing reserved for the “gods”.  I don’t intend this to be a lesson on the Beatitudes but I want to point to verse 6.

Matthew 5:6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.

This tells a considerable story about those that don’t hunger and thirst for righteousness.  They won’t be filled right?  You can’t hunger when you’re not hungry.  You can’t thirst when you’re not thirsty.   Jesus tells us if we’ve been poor in spirit and mourned over our sin, if we’ve become meek (power under control of the Spirit) we WILL then do these things.  This is a natural outflow of what happened to us in salvation.

Jesus said you will know them by their fruits.  What fruit is He talking about?  When Jesus changed my life, I had a desire to know Him more.  I wanted Him and His Word.  I craved Him like a hungry and a thirsty man starving in the desert.  It was my changed nature.  I didn’t force myself to “like” the bible.  It just was that way.

People come to church or profess Christ for lots of reasons.  Does it include a testimony?   “I was this….” (You insert all the nastiness you were) And now “I’m this…” (God changed you to something completely different) without a dramatic change in your life, your profession might not be real?

How many times have you been saved?  If it’s more than once you’re probably not saved.  Does that sound judgmental to you?

Matthew 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.   What was it like to be poor in the ancient world?  It was humiliating to say the least.  You had to beg for every scrap of food you ate.  You had to beg people to be merciful; crouched in the corner too ashamed to even look up.  This is what Jesus is describing.  We must come to a point where we realize we can do nothing for ourselves.

When did you realize that your sin separated you from God?  When did you understand that your sin had you headed to hell?  Don’t dismiss this today, I beg you.  Can you be saved without reading your bible?  Maybe, but I think it’s very rare.  Romans 10:17

The other reality of this is what Jesus called the wide road that leads to destruction and many go in by it (Matthew 7:13-14).  Read God’s Word and be saved.  I implore you today.  If you claim salvation and don’t hunger and thirst for God’s Word, I encourage you to examine yourself.

There is dust enough on some of your Bibles to write ‘damnation’ with your fingers. —Charles Spurgeon

Kevin