In these “enlightened” days one often hears, from both pulpit and printed page, that God’s laws no longer apply, They were nailed to the cross with the dying Christ, so now we can live in a glorious freedom that Jewry knew nothing of. “We are no longer under law but under grace,” is the oft repeated saying of the Apostle Paul, dragged and mutilated from its context to mean something Paul never intended. They also refer to Galatians, where Paul speaks of the law as a schoolmaster to lead us to Christ. But by their perverted logic, they infer that the schoolmaster has now been executed. In effect such expositors are claiming that the God of the Old Testament ought to be shot dead as well, and that Jesus came to put right all that His Father bungled in past ages. What can we say to such hideous blasphemy?
Have you ever considered the two ways in which the ten commandments can be read? Or the Deuteronomic summary? “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and you shall love your neighbour as yourself.” Now read it as a promise, instead of a commandment. “You will love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and you will love your neighbour as yourself.” There is nothing in the original Hebrew text, or the Greek quotation of it in the N.T. to indicate whether we should read “shall” or “will”.
Here is the beauty of the LAW. In O.T. days the Law was given to Israel to declare the essential character of God. Hence it is immutable. It stands for ever. It cannot be repealed, amended, twisted, or discarded without dispensing with God Himself. But in Hebrews we are told that the Old Covenant was weak, in that it couldn’t perfect anyone. But the New Covenant (clearly spelled out in Jeremiah 31) enables the law to be written in the “fleshly tablets of the heart” rather than “tablets of stone.” Therefore, to those who are “born of the spirit” the commandments become promises, and sons of God find they are enabled to “love the Lord their God with all their heart.”
What troubles me is that the anti-law caucus, consisting of men and women who declare allegiance to Christ, should be so gleefully shooting their schoolmaster. They fail to see that the Old Covenant and the New Covenant are just two sides to the Golden Coin of His immutable character. Let’s read it as God’s promise, and glory in that which our Merciful High Priest intended for His children. And depending to the degree by which we allow the spirit to operate in our lives, the following can become a glorious reality.
“I am the Lord your God, and by the strength of my indwelling spirit you will never parade other gods before me, nor will you make any images or idols of things in heaven, earth, or hell, to bow down or serve them, for you know that I am a jealous God, jealous of your wholehearted love, and that I show mercy to a thousand generations of all those who jealously guard my commandments. You will never take my name in vain. You will remember the Sabbath Day, and enjoy it to the full, because I have blessed it and set it apart from all other days for your benefit. You will honour and respect your father and mother. You will never commit murder. You will not be guilty of adultery, whether in act or thought. You will never appropriate that which does not belong to you, nor will you utter falsehood about your neighbours. In your heart you will never be found longing for, and envious of, those things which belong to other men, whether it be their grand houses, their beautiful wives, their servants, or their possessions.”