We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. 1 Timothy 1:8 (NIV).
What is the law? God’s law is the set of boundaries He gave to us, through the Old Testament, to help steer us back to Him in all things. More than just the Ten Commandments, God’s law is a complex set of rules He gave to the Jews of old to live by. It’s not just a bunch of “no’s.” The law, given to us by a holy God, points us to our need for the forgiveness that only He (God) can give. We don’t live by the law now, but if we reject God, we may die by it. To quote Paul in Romans 6, the wages of sin is death and we all die. Yet we can live.
In Romans 7, Paul illustrates that the law is holy in that it identifies our transgressions. It does so in order for us to understand the consequences of sin (death). When we are bound by the law, we’re buried in our sins, and through the law the only sure destination for us is death. Sin – the defiance of God – works against us, using our knowledge of the law, given by a holy God, to mire us in the despair of our wrongdoings.
So many churches (and so many followers of Jesus) get so wrapped up worrying about what not to do that they forget a crucial thing about the law.
It’s holy. It’s loving.
The law of God is holy, given to us by a God of loving justice, purity, and righteousness. The motivation for the law isn’t punishment: it’s love. Jesus Himself said so: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.””
God didn’t give us the law to hurt us: He gave it to us because of love. Because He wants to see us turn to Him whenever the threat of anything wrong approaches us. God’s character throughout all of history hasn’t changed. The same God who flooded the world to destroy every sin-soaked creature on it (except those kept alive in His ark) is the same Jesus of Nazareth who prayed from the cross “forgive them for they don’t know what they’re doing.”
He gave us a code to live by because He means business, namely to join your soul to His in perfect love. So that you and I might shy away from things that could try to tear us away. So that we know the way home when we stray. So that we would trust Him when He gives us tools like the law to properly guide our hearts.
For further reading: Romans 6:29, Romans 7:4-12, Matthew 22:37-40, 1 Timothy 1:9
Lord Jesus, thank You for Your holy law.