Tuesday July 2, 2019
Laws cannot make a man virtuous as God is. Life is more than law.
EPH 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
EPH 1:4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love
EPH 1:5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,
EPH 1:6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.
EPH 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace,
EPH 1:8 which He lavished upon us.
Malcolm Muggeridge was residing in the USSR as a foreign correspondent with his pregnant wife when she came down with typhus, which could have killed her. It was the first time that anything tragic had happened to them. He doted over her, scared for her life, forgetting all of their problems, he only wished for her to recover. She did. Soon after, out walking in the Russian forest he says that he tried to sort it out in his mind. “How suffering, rather than pleasure, should be the sacrament of love. The imperfection of the flesh so much more crucial than its imagined perfection.”
It is because of our imperfections that we crave laws. Laws will keep us in line. They will make us less imperfect. But God says a curious thing. He doesn’t give us a grade for how much of the law we keep and how much we break. He says, “If you break one part of My law, you break it all - you are guilty of it all.” All of us get an F. So, thus failing, all of us who know that nothing more than an F is possible, we want something far more than we want the Law. We want love. In love there is redemption and forgiveness.
We also find that people who cannot love are the harshest when it comes to laws.
1JO 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
1JO 4:8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
1JO 4:9 By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.
1JO 4:10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
1JO 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
1JO 4:12 No one has beheld God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.
1JO 4:13 By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.
1JO 4:14 And we have beheld and bear witness that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.
1JO 4:15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.
1JO 4:16 And we have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
1JO 4:17 By this, love is perfected with us, that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world.
1JO 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.
1JO 4:19 We love, because He first loved us.
1JO 4:20 If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.
1JO 4:21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.
The house that Christ indwells cannot be a house of law. There is no virtue or goodness greater than Him, and so the house must be made of Him.
It’s not that the Law allowed sin, it just that laws cannot make a man virtuous as God is. Life is more than law. The OT saint might have seen the heart of the Law and concluded that sin was more than a clear violation of the 613 commands; that the Law revealed God, hence all the commandments could be stated in two commands: to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself. The Law, looked at by a humble believer and lived under for years would lead him not only to know his need for a Savior, but to know that the heart of God was infinitely gracious, merciful, loving, and also strict in judgment to those who rejected Him.
Picture David and the over 70 psalms that he wrote. David, a man after God’s own heart, came to see something in God that was not directly revealed, and, which David did not clearly see, but could put to poetry. Think also of Moses. Why did he desire to see the glory of God so badly? He knew that there was more to see, but he could not see it. We in the body of Christ, new men, can see what some of them, so few of them, wanted so badly to see. We are the Lord’s house. He made a house out of people.
Hence the importance of the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus took the Law, the commandments, and brought them to heaven. When He did that, the commandments were absorbed into an infinite number of commandments which came alive to us, all of which comprised the way, the truth, and the life of the Person of the Son of Man, our eternal Master and Husband. God made us new so that His truth, His entire law, the law of Christ, could actually be written on our hearts.
I can imagine such an OT saint coming to grips with the revelation that there is far more to God than the commands in the Mosaic Law. I can imagine him straining and squinting with the eyes of his heart to see the mercy of God for himself, but only grasping at shadows, like Moses in the cleft of the rock and David reflecting over his lines of poetry, many of them filled with prophecy.
Then the Son of God enters this world and men need no longer squint at the prophetic future or decipher poetic imagery.
The shadow faded and the real Man stood before us and invited us look upon Him, behold Him, fellowship with Him, and follow Him.
1JO 1:1What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we beheld and our hands handled, concerning the Word of Life —
1JO 1:2 and the life was manifested, and we have seen and bear witness and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us —
1JO 1:3 what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, that you also may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.
1JO 1:4 And these things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.
And that same One bid us to drop the commands of the Law and pick up our crosses and follow Him, which life would include the commands of the Law and much more. No longer following laws, but a divine Person. Not a spirit or ghost, or even an angel, but a real human, One who could be followed and imitated.
ed to His death;
PHI 3:11 in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Gaining Christ, possessing Christ’s righteousness, knowing Christ, having the power of Christ’s resurrection, experiencing Christ’s sufferings, being conformed to Christ’s death described Paul.
Paul references Christ eleven times in that short passage. Instead of trying to follow laws, Paul found that he had to follow a person as