Today’s reminder is from a recent Theocast episode hosted by Pastor Jon Moffitt and Pastor Justin Perdue.
Justin: What does it look like to live in a way that God would say is good? And what does it look like to live in a way that’s good for my neighbor? How do you know? Well, you know, from the law, as given in the moral law and the Old Testament, and also as expounded upon in various commands and imperatives in the New Testament. That’s all it is, love of God and love of neighbor. That’s all that the imperatives and the commands and the New Testament are, an expounding upon what it looks like in more detail to love God and love neighbor.
Jon: Right. Jesus even says this. This is the summation of the law: to love God and love neighbor. Or, even when he says in Galatians 6:2, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Right? So I think it’s important to understand that the law does not go away, and the value of the law does not go away, but the purposes of the law do. In other words, we do not live under the law in fear of its retribution. We live under the law looking to it as saying, these are reflections of the nature and heart of the Father. Right? If you think about most of the laws outside of love God, there are negatives in that, in saying, all right, your heart is going to desire a woman other than your wife, but you cannot do that. Your heart is going to desire the objects of another person, and you’re going to covet them, but you should not do that.
Justin: You’re going to be angry, and at some so much, you almost want to kill your brother, and you can’t.
Jon: That’s right. But when we fail in those areas, which I John says, you will – you’re going to fail, Hebrews four says you can with boldness run – this is where the difference of the law comes in. Because of the moral law, it’s different in that we can run into the father’s presence and ask for mercy in time of need. Justin, let me ask you this. Why, if the law is no longer relevant, why would you run into the presence of the father and ask for mercy? Right? Because you violated the law, right?
Justin: Right. You understand what sin is. I mean, Paul says this, we know what sin is because the law exists. How do you know that you should honor your father and your mother? You intuitively understand these things, again, because this law is written into you. But you understand explicitly that it’s sin to not honor your father and mother because God said so.
You understand that it is wrong, in a pointed way, to bear false witness about your neighbor because God says so. And these are all things in your sinful nature that you’re naturally going to do because you’re naturally self-absorbed and self-interested as a fallen human. So God has to tell us, in terms of prohibition, don’t do these things. Even though we intuitively know this, kind of, because we all have a conscience, because we’re made in God’s image, and covenant works is a thing, we also need this clear teaching from the scriptures in form of law so that we can look at something and say, “That’s sin.”
Jon: That’s right. Well, and under the old covenant, if they did not abide by the law, they could be kicked out, if not killed, of the community. Under the new covenant, this is what’s so glorious, Jesus says, “I lose none.” Right? We are adopted children. There’s nothing that can separate us from the love of God. So we love those passages because they draw us into the heart and protection of the father.
But yet the father then says – this just goes back to Romans seven – your heart is going to desire things that are contrary to me. And so this guide is still here. This fence is still here to show you that this is the opposite of who I am. This is what I love about Hebrews 12, looking unto Jesus. Why? Because Jesus is the reflection of God. Jesus is God. So as we look to Christ, we understand the way in which our heart’s desire should be. And I love that the law just becomes those lines on the road that say, “Here, this is where you want to stay as you’re following Christ,” not out of fear but out of gratitude, knowing that as I stay within these lines of my heart and gratitude and lust, all of this, I am doing it knowing God has liberated me from the consequences of the law, and I now live under the righteous declaration of Christ.
Everyday Grace 034