Archive for the ‘God’s Law’ Category

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“THE LAW IS THE LAW” – April 4

April 4, 2013

“Then Paul said to him, “God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall!  Are you sitting to judge me according to the law, and yet contrary to the law you order me to be struck?” Acts 23:3

Scales of Justice Brisbane Courts-1=A week ago, I participated in a mediation process on behalf of my company to try and settle a dispute.  Mediation is a strange process.  The adversaries are isolated in separate rooms and the mediator moves back and forth between the rooms in an attempt to resolve the dispute.  However, there is no real resolution.  The core of mediation is an attempt by the mediator to find a compromise at which both parties are willing to let go of the dispute.  There is no determination of right or wrong.  There is no judgment rendered.  There are a variety of issues that come into play; the strength of the case, what can be proven, the cost of litigation, the provable damages, the duration of litigation, etc.  There comes a point in the mediation when you are no longer talking about the issues of the dispute.  You are merely talking about money.  Mediation is the calculation of tangible and intangible costs measured against risk.

Mediation is not justice.

I am not an attorney and I have never pondered very deeply about the law.  However, I have always correlated the law with justice.  I have held that somehow the laws passed by representative governments ensure justice for its citizens.  My latest experience with injustice (from my perspective) and the law has caused me to take a slightly more jaded view of the law.  One of my attorneys told me, after a particularly eloquent rant about the injustice of my whole situation, that I was trying to get the law to be something that it is not.  The law is not justice.

The law is the law.

The law is a tool.  There are some things that the law can be used for.  There are some things that it cannot be used for.  The law can be used with good intentions and it can be used with bad intentions.  The law can be a shield and it can be a sword.

I think that many people have a similar misconception about God’s law.

They think that their justification is in keeping the law.  The law is not justification.

They think that their sanctification is in keeping the law.  The law is not sanctification.

The law is the law.

God’s law is a tool.

“Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary.” (Galatians 3:19)

So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.”  (Galatians 3:24-25)

God’s law was given to us as a guardian to train us, pointing out sin and punishing it.  The condemnation that the law was pointing out is now removed from those who are in Christ Jesus.  There is no punishment from the law for those in Christ.  We still have God’s law to help train us.  It still points out sin.  However, the law is the law.  The law does not save.  The law does not remove our condemnation.

“For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do.  By sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:3-4)

We get into trouble when we start to expect the law to be something that it is not.  We get into more trouble when we use the law in ways that it was never intended.  Paul was struck by a man who was wielding the law like a sword.  Yet, he violated the very same law in his zealous effort to protect the law.  The “whitewashed wall,” as Paul called him, believed that the law was something that it was not.

Obey the Law of God and State

Obey the Law of God and State (Photo credit: Frank DeFreitas)

I wonder how often we are similar whitewashed walls when we live in accordance to our stringent list of “do’s and don’ts.”  Are we living as if our pious performance is achieving something that it can never do?  Many people believe that they will make it to heaven because they hope that their “good deeds” will out-weigh their “bad deeds” on the grand scale of God’s law.  That is a false hope because it is expecting the law to be something that it is not. The law is the law.  It is a tool to point us to the true source of salvation, Christ Jesus.

We need to examine why we are living in obedience to God’s commandments.  Is your obedience coming from a heart that wholly loves your Lord and Savior as a gift or is it coming as an obligation from an unwilling mind that is doing what it must?

Obedience from a grateful heart is an expression of love. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)  Obedience is an expression of love.

Obedience as a duty has an expectation of the law that it can never be.  That sort of obedience leads only to other sins – pride, not loving our neighbor, gossip, hate, coveting, etc.

The law is the law. Jesus Christ fulfilled the law.  Our hope is in Him and Him alone.

What are your expectations of your adherence to the law?

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for freeing us from the law.  Thank you for using it as a tool to show me my sin and my need for a Savior.  Lord, may my obedience be a pleasing fragrance to You.  Examine my heart and my motivation for all that I do.  May my keeping of your commandments be a demonstration of my love for You.  Keep me from sinning in my obedience.  Grant me a heart that is undivided and a willing mind that serves You in gratitude and love.  Amen

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HAVE YOU BEEN PUNKED BY THE LAW? – Nov. 16th

November 16, 2012

“Keep silence and hear, O Israel: this day you have become the people of the Lord your God. You shall therefore obey the voice of the Lord your God, keeping his commandments and his statutes, which I command you today.”   Deut. 24:9-10  

I have had the chance to watch government function at the local level as part of my job. Governments are very good are making laws and ordinances to solve problems. I  have never really been “delighted” by legal code. I have known some lawmakers to be rather self-righteous in their conviction of the laws that they pass. Until, they’re affected by those laws. I have seen many a government official struggle with their own ordinances and standards when their adherence is expensive or inconvenient. It is a statement to a lawmakers lack of integrity when they exempt themselves from their own laws.

God is a lawmaker. God’s law can be very daunting until we consider that God does not exempt himself from his own law. God is not punking us with his law. He did not play some cosmic joke on us by giving us a law that we could never fulfill. God is revealing to us who he is by giving us a law that He will not break. The laws tells just as much about God as it does about ourselves. The law gives us a deposit that we can take to the bank about our incredible God: 

  1. There will never be another god that comes along who is greater than he is. He is the only game in town. If that happens, then God breaks his own law.
  2. God will never serve or worship anything other than himself. If anything is ever above God, then God breaks his own law.
  3. God’s glory is a big deal. It is very important; he will never consider his own name as unimportant. If that happens, then God breaks his own law.
  4. God is holy and will always maintain his holiness. If He allows the holy to become unholy, then God breaks his own law.
  5. God is due all honor and will respond appropriately to maintian His honor. If he allows himself to be dishonored, then God breaks his own law.
  6. God will never take an innocent live. The innocent have nothing to fear from him. If God unjustly takes a life, then God breaks his own law.
  7. God will never break his covenant with his people. If he were to abandon us for another, then God breaks his own law.
  8. God will never cheat us. He will never do an unfair deal with us. His scales will always be fair. When God offers us something, we should take it because it has to be a good deal. If it wasn’t a good deal, then God breaks his own law.
  9. Everything that God says is true. We can trust what he tells us. If God tells us something untrue, then he breaks His own law.
  10. God will never desire something that is not his. When God covets our love and obedience, it is because it is already his.  It is due him. If it wasn’t due Him, he would be breaking his own law.

 God’s law tells us what we can take to the bank about him. This is why we can delight in God’s law. It tells us what an incredible God we have.

PRAYER: Lord, you are incredible. Thank you for your law and what you have communicated to us through your law. Write it upon my heart. Make it a part of me as you change me more and more into your image.  Help me to delight in your law, as I delight in you.   Amen

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