2001-01-19 - The Grace of Law
1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments, and His commandments are not burdensome.
Two Michigan robbers charged into a Detroit music store, waving their guns. "Nobody move!" one of the robbers ordered. The second robber then moved and his startled partner shot him in the head. This story is sad, but I have to admit that it made me laugh. However, it reminds me of the seriousness of God's commands to us. It also leads me to think about the consequences of not following God commands.
It is popular today among Christians to say, "We are not under law, but rather we are under grace." This is true -- we do live in a dispensation where the grace of Christ reigns, and His mercy is known. But there are both positive and negative commands that we are given in the Bible. The grace of Christ does not abrogate our need to live according to the revelation of God in Scripture.
The words of Christ in Matthew 5:19 are important for us to remember: "Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and so teaches others, shall be called least in the kingdom of Heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." This is a powerful warning to us. Not only are we to keep the commandments of God, but we are also to make sure that we faithfully represent them to others.
In 2 Corinthians 3:1, 2, Paul talks about how the Church at Corinth is a living witness, or letter of commendation to him. It was the lives of those who had turned and followed the faith that were the testimony of the truth of the message. These lives had been changed by the power of the Gospel and their lives were different. They followed the new covenant (verse 6), and that new covenant included certain ways that they were to live their lives, ways and customs that were in conflict with the world around them. But they were to follow the commands of God, not the customs of the world around them.
Lastly, we follow the commandments of God because they are holy. "So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good." Romans 7:12 The commands of God are for our safety, and to follow them is only to our advantage. They are guides for us to live by and aids for us while living in a world that hates the very things we profess to believe. As the verse we started with above says, 1 John 5:3 "His commandments are not burdensome." Rather, the commands of God to us are the very things that make our lives easier and smoother.
Proverbs 6:23 says this well, "For the commandment is a lamp, and the teaching is light, and reproofs for discipline are the way of life." The commands of God are a lamp for us, or a light that shows the way to go. Let us seek to live out the commands of God in our lives, and be guided by them rather than by all the other things that so easily seek to gain our allegiance.
Soli Deo Gloria,