Why should a Christian, saved by grace, be concerned with obeying the law? I mean after all aren’t we just supposed to do the best we can with what we have? A lot of us have been dealt difficult lives, we have baggage that is no fault of our own, surely God does not expect us to follow all these laws! He loves us, he died for us, Jesus paid for our sins, I mean can I not just do what I want?
Good question… lets pick the thought apart.
In the Garden of Eden man’s relationship to God was what some theologians call a “Covenant of Works”. A covenant of works means if Adam did his part he could stay in eternal communion with God; if Adam did not do his part he was condemned to eternal separation from God. We must not get confused into thinking that Adam would receive special treatment because of his obedience. God did not say, “Now Adam, if you will go two years without eating of the tree I will give you a special treat. And if you go 5 years, then Adam, you will get an even more special treat. And Adam, believe it or not, if you make it 10 years without eating of that one tree then I will let you in.” Not even close. See Adam already had everything. He had all of God. Nothing held back from Adam. He had it all. The only thing Adam had to do to stay was not eat of the one tree.
The one tree in the middle of the Garden was not meant to be a punishment, it was meant to show one thing and one thing only. That single tree represented God’s sovereign reign over his people. That one tree said in essence, “I am God, I know what is best; you are not, obey me out of love.” But the temptation from satan was, “God is trying to hide something from you.” (Genesis 3:5) Satan won, (not completely, it backfired on him, but he won this battle) Eve & Adam lost, and here we are. Now we all view any law as, “Someone is trying to hold me down and hide something from me.” But what if the opposite is true?
If you come to Open Range Church this is going to be a little redundant, but you need to hear it. What if the law was meant to set you free and not bind you down?
The saying goes, “Father knows best.” And I have found that to be true. However, I did not find it to be true by trusting the saying, I found it to be true by experience. Somewhere in my late twenties, early thirties I found myself declaring the wisdom of my dad a lot. A whole lot. Especially when I had kids. (I think I just heard him say amen) It dawned on me was that he was not as big of a kill-joy as I thought he was, he just wanted to protect me from pain. He wanted to keep me from making mistakes. He wanted to set me free. He loved me. At the time I just thought he was making up weird things to keep me from knowing all that he knows. Trying to hold me back. I was a moron. Still am.
So let us tie all this up. What if God, in his sovereignty wants to give us life, as Jesus said he does? And the way he chooses to give us life is laws to live by. Laws to protect us? And what if we stopped looking at the laws and what does or does not apply and just trusted that he is good and that he is right and that he is just and we can trust him? Now I know there are some weird laws in the bible, you guys have pointed some out, but I am going to show you that even those weird ones were laws of love. They may have been cultural, but they displayed the sovereign love of God.
Now I am not suggesting that we are supposed to obey all of the laws in the bible. Many of those were for the Israelites in their day and age to protect them from harm and danger. But what I am saying is we cannot dismiss the function of the law. (More to come on that)
One more thing, what if we believe that we have all of God? Every bit of him right here with us through Jesus. No longer in a Covenant of Works, but now a Covenant of Grace. Jesus paid the debt of the Covenant of Works, that’s done, now we get to live in grace. We have it all. Nothing held back. No more to get on this earth. All of him he gives to us. And in our obedience to the law we love him back. We live in his peace. Think about this. And I will be back shortly.