Exodus 19:16-21:21; Psalm 28; Proverbs 7:1-5; Matthew 23:13-39
“What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come […] So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith.” -Galatians 3:19; 24
There has to be a reason I repeatedly teach my 9 year old not to whine or argue. One, I just don’t like hearing it. But more importantly, I’m parenting for obedience. The lessons I lay out for him now will hopefully change into a habitual behavior. My hope is one day he will want to walk in obedience on his own without me reminding him! I can only assist in modifying actions I know please God, but He has to transform the heart.
In a similar way, God gave us His law not to go through the motions but to promote heart change. Through the law God demonstrates His standard of holiness and how we always fall short because of our sin nature (Romans 3:23). Following the law cannot save us but reveals our need for the Savior. God’s commands are right and good. They keep us from grievous sins against Himself and others. Even the cultural laws for Israel were beneficial to the people as they learned to operate as a set apart nation governed by God.
When we reduce the Lord’s decrees to playing church on Sunday we are no better than the outwardly pious legalists Jesus condemned during His earthly ministry. God says He desires mercy, not sacrifice. So what does that mean? Jesus cares more about the motivation of our hearts than how we appear before others. Is our focus to look “holy” with lengthy superficial prayers, checking the church box, or visible acts of service? Or are we more concerned with what the God of this Universe thinks? Our Father inspects the fruit of the heart.
The Israelites trembled before the Lord in reverence and wonder. They couldn’t bear to have God speak directly to them in all His Glory. In Psalm 28, David cries out for God to hear his prayer and deliver him from those who defy God’s ways. Our response should be a combination of these two reactions.
As God’s beloved sons and daughters we have the family privilege to boldly approach His throne of grace. We can cry out to Him in our need, in our thanksgiving, even asking Him to defend us, and He will hear you. Yet this is done with a heart of humility and reverence toward the One who created you. I’m always awe-struck with fear when a storm blows through the area I live in, known for it’s tornadoes. There is such power in the wind and lightning. God is the source of this fierceness. Do you know this kind of God?
When the Lord comes again He will meet us not only as our Shepherd, but as the Great Warrior He is. He will come to end the final war that has raged since the Fall (Genesis 3). His Name is Faithful and True (Revelation 19:11-16). This should bring us to our knees and worship. One day, all will bow the knee before King Jesus and confess Him as Lord (Philippians 2:9-11).
As we seek God, He will fashion our hearts after His own. Over time our desire will be to obey Him more and more as our love for the Lord grows deeper. We won’t be as concerned with what the world thinks of us. We are either being fit for heaven or fit for hell through our obedience or rebellion. Knowing Christ is the one solid anchor we have to hold onto- everything else is shifting sand.
Follow God’s perfect way today. When you realize this isn’t possible to do on your own, go to the One who made our righteousness possible. Jesus fulfilled God’s ways because we never could. Walk with Jesus.
Grace upon grace,