Saturday, February 21, 2009

Law and Statutes and Judgment, Oh My!

In Psalm 19 and Psalm 119, we hear lots of different words for what comes out of God's mouth. As I've said before, so often we hear people say that they "love God's law" because it shows me what I have to do to please Him, and once I know that, then I can just get to goin' on doing all those things, and then He'll just think I'm swell.

But I can't. And so I could never think of "loving God's law" since it showed me what to do and how to be. Well, actually, what I couldn't do and what I ought to have been but wasn't. Now, however, I can say that I "love God's law" in that it is what kills my enemy (my Old Adam). And I can say that I "love God's law" because it shows me who Jesus is, and that He is the perfect fulfillment of God's law.

But then we studied Leviticus and saw how MUCH of God's law is not about "rules" but about how God set up a sacrificial system to make atonement for sin. And that is another way to "love God's law."

When we read about God's judgment, it's not primarily about zotting those who don't measure up and condemning people to hell. It's mostly about the judgment upon Jesus, and how we are judged innocent because the wrath has already been propitiated.

When we read about keeping the law, it's not just rules -- but the Torah, the Pentateuch, the five books of Moses that include plenty of God's grace and promises for those who cannot obey the law as they ought.

When we read about the statutes of God, Psalm 105:7-11 can remind us that God's promise to Abraham [to bless the whole world through Abraham's seed, and to give them their eternal inheritance] is a statute, an everlasting covenant.

God gave us the ten commandments, along with all the commandments about how the sacrifices were to be performed and how the tabernacle was to be built. But we also pray in Psalm 71 about God's commandment to save us.

The testimonies are what has been "testified" or "attested to." So when Jesus says, "This is the new testament in My blood," that is certainly one testimony which the sinner's heart can cling to with joy and no fear. And Jesus says that the Holy Spirit will testify of Him and His work.

Psalm 111 tells us that the precepts of the Lord are the works of His hand, His truth, His redemption, His works, His covenant.

And of course God's word is not only an oral message (of both law and gospel) but God's Word --the eternal Son-- took on human skin and bones and came to live on earth and suffer in our place and die and rise again.

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