I have been reading the Psalms recently and a theme surfaces with some force. It is the psalmists’ love for God’s law. It got me thinking about Christians today and our love for God’s law. Looking around (and in the mirror) it appears to me that our lives, and too often our lips, suggest we don’t.
First, what do we mean when we say “God’s law?” The psalmists were referring to laws God had given to Moses. We find them in the first five books of the Bible, coincidentally referred to “the books of the law.”
Second, what was the purpose of the law? It was intended by God to create a radically different type of people that would love Him and worship Him as He desired. And, yes, when you are God, you can do that. He knew what would both please (read: glorify) Him and meet the needs of His chosen people, Israel. The law was intended to shape the thoughts, speech, and actions of a nation in order to honor God in every possible way.
It is true that, in Christ, much of the levitical law is fulfilled (Matthew 5:17). Notice that it is not abolished*. Some individuals who are looking for license to live as they please often argue that the laws of God no longer apply. But, surely, no one is arguing – even in our evil day – that the ten commandments no longer apply.
Throughout the gospels, Jesus gave instructions and commands to His followers. In John 14 – 15, Jesus goes to great lengths to explain that a true follower of His will obey Him. John 14:15 declares, “If you love me, keep my commands.”
* Ephesians 2:15 speaks to the abolishing of specific laws that Jews thought made one unclean if not kept.