Lately, there’s been a passion in me to faithfully read the scriptures of God. I say that because it is easy to get swirled up in hype and forsake the beauty and power of an ancient, sacred, and holy scripture.
Last night I was at an amazing worship event where God spoke deep revelation to my heart and I basked in his presence. Then a pastor from LA with ripped jeans and a strange Southern/hipster accent spoke about Jesus and grace coming near to us. I was on board with that. YES, God came near to humanity, God came to earth and lived with us and among us. It is powerful to know the initiation and the pursuit of God coming to us out of love.
But then he began to paint this picture of the law of Moses as something at odds with grace. The teacher and preacher in me starts to rattle a little because it just does not do the scriptures justice.
I don’t doubt that God still met people there because probably 50-100 people accepted the grace of God in their lives. That is amazing and I’m so thankful! My prayer is that those people seek to know the goodness and holiness of the ancient texts instead of discarding them as the “old law”.
Here is the thing. People love to hate the law and love grace. This exposes a deep misunderstanding not only of God’s word but of God’s heart! How can the law of Moses be summed up? When Jesus answered this question he was quoting directly from the law. “Love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might” (Deut. 6:4). Jesus adds “and love your neighbor as yourself” but that is also a summation of the law. The law teaches to not withhold your help from your neighbor and to look out for the stranger, the orphan and the widow (Deut 10:17-19; 22:1-3).
The law was not given to enslave or put God’s people into bondage. It was a gift, an identity received after their liberation to remember who they were and who their God was. This is how the world would know that these were God’s people whom he delivered and rescued from the land of Egypt. This is how a bunch of slaves would become a nation and that nation would be a blessing to all other nations. Again and again the law says “remember.” Remember that it was the LORD who delivered you. Remember that you were once slaves, but now you are free. The law served as a remembrance of identity, belonging and purpose.
It’s clear through history and felt-board Bible stories that sin was crouching at the door, corrupting us and vandalizing the shalom of God – the way God intended things. The law was good and pure, but it wasn’t strong enough. We were tempted, seduced and led back into the chains of slavery by sin.
So my point is this…don’t hate the law, hate sin. It is sin that brings death, the law only reveals that. And what the law could not do, being weakened by our flesh, God did…by coming to us in the flesh to battle and overcome the power of sin and death.
The law could not save us from sin and death, but grace came near. Thank you Jesus for coming so near to us, for clothing yourself with flesh and suffering at the hands of your own people. You conquered the sinful flesh with its death sentence and you shared your victory with all of humanity. My life and my freedom is found only in Christ. Amen.