The Law

God’s Law is more than the 10 Commandments. Way more.

God’s Law is every demand that your existence places upon you. It is the total demand that you fulfill your humanity. That you do all that you are supossed to do, and that you do it in the manner that God has intended for you to do it. And that is, ‘perfectly’.

“You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)

Are there any pressures in your life? Do you have to eat? Do you have to pay the rent or the mortgage? (no bailout jokes) Do you have to be a good employee so that you can bring home the paycheck? Do you have to pay your taxes  . Do you have to be a good parent, or a good son or daughter? Do you have to stay healthy and take care of your body?

All these things and much, much more are manifestations of God’s perfect Law.

No one, absolutely no one, from the villager in Papua New Guinea to the cabbie in Cleveland,  is exempt from these laws of nature which are given by God for our existence in the world which He created.

Do we live under the law?  You betcha we do. Every last cotton pickin’ one of us.

We all do our best to manage under the sheer weight of it. Although some do a much better job of it than others, it isn’t easy to handle for any of us. The demand of the law is relentless. It never quits demanding from us. Day after day, week after week, year after year…it is always upon us…always demanding …never ceasing.

We can escape it here and there, for short periods. We call these holidays, or vacations. A week, or two…maybe three or four. It ‘s great!  But then it is over and we must again be good  for something. The bills just keep coming and the world keeps nipping at our heels.

I saw a friend of mine yesterday. He’s 45 years old and is in the hospital, a victim of a couple of strokes. The last one severely affected his brain stem and the chances are good that he may not make it. He is dying, and there is a good chance that he may not be alive yet as I write this.

He was a very bright man with a wonderful creative mind and a sense of humor that was infectious.

That is all gone now, unless God decides that Jerry should be healed to continue the fight in this world.

Jerry had an awfully tough life in so many ways. The law started in on Jerry when he lost his Mom when he was only ten…and it never let up on him from there.

But He did the best that he could.

His pastor, who is also my pastor, went to see Jerry the other day to remind him that he has a Savior. To remind him, no…it was more than a reminder…to hand Christ over to Jerry, once again. To tell Jerry that he belonged to Jesus and that Jesus would not fail him. That Jesus will always take care of him, and that if he were not to make it, then Jesus would be right there for him… to raise him from the dead.

When I saw Jerry yesterday, he could not speak to me. I didn’t know if he could hear me. I whispered into his ear and told him that I loved him and that he could count on Jesus to give him life again. It was a promise on the cross, it was a promise in his baptism, and it is a promise that God loves to keep.

While I stood there beside his hospital bed, with all the machinery and the beeps and buzzes, and activity of people engaged in trying to save the lives of people being crushed by the weight of the law and facing the ultimate expression of that law, death…the thought struck me that soon I would be there too. The law would eventually put me down. Death would have me soon, as well.

But Christ really did defeat death on that cross. He really did come out of that grave. He really did everything for me that I could never even dream about doing for myself.

He did it for me.   He did it for Jerry.   And He did it for you.

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40 Responses

  1. Steve – I think you are contradicting yourself in this post.

    You said, Do we live under the law? You betcha we do. Every last cotton pickin’ one of us.

    Then at the end you said, He did it for me. He did it for Jerry. And He did it for you.

    Now the question is, which is true?

  2. Bino,

    Both are true.

    Ever hear of a paradox?

    Christianity is full of them.

  3. Steve – If there are paradoxes in the Bible, we have to come to a conclusion that it is not the Word of God…

  4. I don’t think so.

    Jesus was fully man…and yet fully God.

    Seemingly contradictory. But both are true. And Word of God.

  5. Steve – Isn’t there a difference between ‘seemingly’ contradictory and actually contradictory?

  6. Bino,

    Yes I think there is a difference.

    By faith we know that Jesus was man and God. We trust it.

    By faith we know that God is loving and merciful, when all the evidence in the world shows us otherwise.

    By faith we know that we are no longer under the law for righteousness, although the world demands from us that we ‘do’ certain things in order to get along.

    In order to live, you must die. Is it really true? Aren’t we living now…or are we not?

  7. That we no longer live under the law for righteousness, does not actually contradict Jesus who said that not one jot or tittle of the law will be taken away until the appointed time.

  8. Steve – What you think of ‘Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.’ (Galatians 3:25)?

  9. Bino,

    I think it is great!

    We are free in Christ! I love it!

    The religious project to make ourselves acceptable to God is now over… because of Jesus!

    But that is for our righteousness.

    Now we must continue to live in this world, and get along. And although we DO NOY HAVE TO keep the law for our righteousness any longer, we want to keep the law because we know it is for our sakes and the sakes of our neighbors that is was given.

    Another thing the law does is keep us from getting too upity. It is a tool that GOD USES to produce disappointment in us, and sorrow over our sin. That creates humility and humility keeps our faith alive and our realtionship with God dynamic, and living…not staid and reliant on an event that happened years ago when we “made our decision” for Jesus.

  10. What a beautiful post! That’s what I want someone speaking to me and mine on the day of or brink of the end of this physical existence that we call life! That there is a true LIFE that will never end…that the way has been opened for us…even if we haven’t been able to meet that “mark” called perfection… that the Father, our Father, isn’t mad at us…that Jesus is there to see we make it home…on which ever side of eternity this event leaves us…

    Thank you for sharing that Steve!

  11. Nancy,

    Thank you very much, Nancy.

    We will all be there, and the Good News is, as you say, our Father is not mad at us…in Christ Jesus.

    Our Judge will be the One who died for us!

  12. Psalm 19 gives us three uses of the Law. It orders our lives,reveals our sin and shows us how to follow Jesus. Jesus said: If you keep my commandments,you will abide in my love.

  13. When we’re at death’s door, there is no more law to be preached.

  14. i keep on knockin….
    The REASON we follow the law is so different. we are not subject to penalty are we? if we are not subject to penalty, can it be said we are under the law? If an ambassador from another country commits a crime, he will not be penalized. Is he under the law?
    We follow the law, and MORE than the law, out of LOVE not fear of penalty. i will not be punished for my sin, will you be? Jesus paid for my sins.

  15. If we rob a bank, that sin is paid for by Christ…right?

    Right.

    But we go to prison. Right?

    Right.

    The law is still in effect and we live under it.

  16. Biblical speaking, when God regenerates a person, that person has a new nature that delights in the law of God. If you really believe what you say you believe, then your life will reflect it (if you love Me you will keep My commands). A Christian delights in the commandments of God.

  17. According to Webster, a paradox is “something apparently absurd or incredible, yet may be true in fact; a tenet contrary to received opinions.” How full the Word of God is with paradoxes. Here are a few:

    1. The only way up in the kingdom of heaven is down (Matt. 20:20-28).
    2. The pre-requisite for spiritual strength is weakness (II Cor. 12:9-10).
    3. The most mature in the kingdom of heaven are the most child-like (Matt. 18:1-4).
    4. The church is the only society on earth where unworthiness is required for membership. Being a sinner is the prerequisite for salvation (I Tim. 1:15).
    5. The blessed of God are the poor, the hungry, and the persecuted. Those who are not blessed are the rich, full, and loved (Luke 6:20-26).
    6. The believer gains assurance of his own personal acceptance before God based wholly upon something he personally had nothing to do with, but what Somebody else has done (Rom. 4:5-8).
    7. The believer is instructed to be totally content and totally discontent at the same time (Phil. 4:12).
    8. The believer would not dare come before God on the basis of any work performed, yet longs to be rich in good works (James 2:19).
    9. The believer knows he is without a shred of righteousness before God, and yet knows he stands without a shred of sin before God (I John 1:8-10).
    10. The believer is at the precise same time happy and sad, rejoicing and miserable, pessimistic and optimistic (Rom. 7:14-25).

  18. Steve – I think we simply go in circles and reaching no where, so I think I am done with discussing this issue. I have shared pretty much everything concerning law and grace in one of your previous posts. There is no point in repeating all of it again here.

    Definitely, we don’t agree on this issue. And that is absolutely okay. I have argued with the same points you bring up before and later on I had to come to a conclusion that I can’t do the Christian living and gave that responsibility to Jesus. Now He lives in and through me. I am a branch, and I am at rest. I don’t struggle.

    I believe Apostle Paul encourages us to live ‘in the new way of the Spirit’ so in that case, it’s not I who live, but he lives in Him. He does the living.

    There was a point of time that I was burned out in my Christian walk. There was no joy of the salvation whatsoever. God revealed the truth of His grace to me and boy does it make a difference!

    Anyways, I just wanted to share that with you.
    Love you, brother!

  19. I’m with Ike on this one….

    When we are regenerated in Jesus Christ, we are transformed then to desire what our Master desires in us.

    We are no longer seeking to gratify our wants, but what the Lord wants. He alone satisfies the thirst of those who drink of Him (Rev.22:17).

    When we drank form the “Living Water”, we became no longer in need or want of anything else, but HIm. Our deisres, wants, pleasures and needs rest in Christ Jesus’ loving and gracious hands, Amen (Eph.3:17-19).

  20. Ike,

    I like the list pf paradoxes you put together. Nice work!

    I’m not so sure about your previous comment.

    Romans 7 seems to contradict that a bit.

    I love Jesus (although weakly at times) and I still am quite the sinner.

    Thanks, Ike!

    – Steve

  21. Brigitte,

    Good point!

    What good does it do to preach the law to someone who is about to be swallowed up the law?

  22. Jules,

    You are correct, Jules, when Jesus gets a hold of us we are transformed.

    But we also retain,,,get this (a shameless plug)…the old Adam!

    And he keeps trying to assert his sinful self and get into the self-justification project.

    ‘Simul ustes et peccator’ was one of the key catch phrases of the Reformation…”At the same time totally justified, yet totally sinful.” (or something like that, anyway)

    Thanks, Jules.

    – Steve

  23. Bino,

    Maybe you are right, Bino. You and I seem to be at an impasse on this one.

    We are not alone. Christians have been disagreeing on this from the start.

    I do appreciate the opportunity to discuss this and disagree with someone in a civilized tone without throwning accuastions hither and yon.

    Youand I have also had our agreements on some of these posts. Over at your site (which I enjoy very much) I believe, when I first found you.

    So, on this one, we can agree to disagree (for now)…until you come to your senses.
    That was a joke. 😀

    Thanks, Bino!

    – Steve

  24. According to Scripture, the moral law is a revelation of the character of God. It therefore exposes sin (Rom. 7:7), but it also points to the nature of the believer’s “future” glorification. Salvation has as its purpose the recovery of sinners to the image of God in Christ; the provisions of redemption are not therefore a substitute for the law, rather, as Paul writes, it is by the gospel that “we establish the law” (Rom. 3:31). Christ died, believers are told, “that the requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us” (Rom. 8:4). “Free from the law” means deliverance from its condemnation through Christ; not exemption from the moral perfection it requires. It is the deepening awareness of the holiness God requires that leads the Christian to a growing awareness od sin, and to humility before God.

  25. Romans 5:17,

    “For it, by the trespass of one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life life through the one man, Jesus Christ.” (NIV)

    Romans 8:1-2,

    “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the spirit of Christ set me free from the law of sin and death.” (NIV)

    Hebrews 2:14-15,

    “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death-that is, the devil-and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” (NIV)

    Death is a tyrant, ruling over people and bringing every person under its fear and into its grip. As a result it also is true that those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift (cf. Rom.5:15) of the righteousness reign through the one man, Jesus Christ.

    The Lord Jesus Christ is the agent of all God’s provision for people. Wereas death reigns like a tyrany over all, believers in Christ, who receive God’s grace, reign in life. In the one case people are dying victims under a ruthless ruler; in the other they themselves become the ruler (cf. Rev. 1:6) whose kingdom is one life. The fact is that “those who receive” God’s grace and gift emphasizes that the provision is made for all in Christ’s sacrificial death and offer to all by God must be appropriated by an individual by faith to beacome effective (John 1:12).

  26. Sorry about the misspellings.

  27. Bino,

    Take a break from being ‘right’…Steve is watching his good friend and mine, whom we love, die and you want to exercise your sophistry?

    Have some compassion man! I read in that post that Christ was being shared
    to a dying man and you want to qualify aspects of ‘christian living’
    or ‘not living’ as you point out to all of us.

    If you disagree with this blog all the time, why show up? This blog points to Christ not our self righteousness ‘in Christ’…..

    Sheesh!

  28. brent Gordon,

    Compassion? Christ being shared to a dying man? Well and good, buddy! Why the title of the post is ‘The Law’? Have you thought about it?

    Think before you type your judgment!

  29. Bino,

    Brent and I are watching a beloved friend fight for his life, and feeling helpless to do anything.

    We are both very upset.

    I don’t blame you for engaging me in discussion over the topic of the law. As you said, the title begs discussion.

    I am ok with our discussion.

    – Steve

  30. Brent,

    Thanks, my friend, for coming to my defense. I appreciate it very much.

    I wouldn’t blame Bino.

    If anyone is to blame, it is me.

    This is probably not the time for me to be discussing theology.

  31. beg to differ, without death, would we need theology? Well we might need it, but would it have an impact on us? I find death a reminder that this brief time is about pleasing Him. And that is what theology is all about. No matter who is right,[and steve is wrong] it pleases God that we care. I’m praying for your peace, Steve.

  32. Thanks, Willohroots.

    I think death is a reminder that there is NO pleasing Him.

    The only One who pleases Him is the one who has been faithful and keep the law…perfectly. None other than Jesus the Christ Himself…and Him alone.

  33. Steve,
    I have read the post and comments a couple of times and I just felt compelled to share a few verses. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.
    1 Corinthians 15:16-19

  34. Jeff,

    Those are very comforting verses.

    I thank you, my friend.

    – Steve

  35. “While I stood there beside his hospital bed, with all the machinery and the beeps and buzzes, and activity of people engaged in trying to save the lives of people being crushed by the weight of the law and facing the ultimate expression of that law, death…the thought struck me that soon I would be there too. The law would eventually put me down. Death would have me soon, as well”.

    I have to say that this totally silenced me yesterday.

    As someone who stood that same watch in 2005 for my beloved wife, I know, Steve, exactly of what you speak. I know, however, in my own experience of that moment that I encountered a point of what I can only define as absolute relief a few short hours before her passing – the entire ‘mood’ changed, and I found a comfort and surety in the promises of God (which came vividly to mind) as I shared those last moments of my beloveds mortality – even there, in the pit of death, I knew the He was most certainly hers, and that such love is indeed stronger than death.

    Yes, Steve, we all face that moment unless He returns before it, and it does indeed show the ‘weight’ of our current bondage. Our prayers are with your part of the family of Christ there, suffering at this moment, my friend. May the consolation of the true light in this darkness be yours, and Jerry’s, and may it be seen by all at this moment.

    Yours, by pure grace, in the fellowship of His sufferings,

    Howard.

  36. Howard,

    You certainly are no stranger to the power and harsh reality that is the law of death.

    It has hit you in a way that you will never forget. Stealing away from you, in the prime of your lives, your most beloved Kay.

    But, as you say, Howard, in a way that I never could, there is more to the story. Death does not have the final word. There is new life promised, and it is the ultimate expression of the love that our Savior gives to us.

    We thank you for your very kind words, your true words of fellowship and comfort for Jerry and myself and for his family.

    Thank you, my friend.

    Steve

  37. Whether we live or whether we die,we are the Lord’s. Romans 14:8

  38. That is so well put, Howard. God bless you.

  39. How good that you could be there for your friend with the Good News that Christ has conquered sin, death and the devil. He has fulfilled the Law for your friend. Praying that God will grant you His peace and comfort.

  40. Raggedy Lamb,

    Thanks so much, Raggedy Lamb.

    Your prayers mean the world to me.(more than the world)

    – Steve

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