Originally posted at a biblical perspective in September 2007.
Previously: God’s word gives life to those who find it
We had asked, So now that we have spiritual life, do we need to obey the Law any longer?
Well, remember the purpose of the Law: to give physical life to those who adhere to it. So I guess the answer to that question would be:
Only if you want physical life! And all that pertains to it: health, needs met, happiness, marriage and children blessed, etc.
But actually, it is because we have such a disconnected and disjointed view of Scripture that we ask that question. We are so used to reading the New Testament without the Old, without the insight of the Old, which was not the way it was for Jesus, the disciples, or Paul. When they mention Scripture in the New Testament, they are talking about the Old Testament exclusively, since there was no New Testament yet. They interpreted and saw everything through the lens of the Old Testament. So they were very familiar with several passages of Scripture which are less familiar to us:
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put My law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be My people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Jer 31:31-34
“Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.” Eze 36:24-28
We ask, Must we obey the Law? as if it is a dreaded chore. Many people tell me the Law is bondage, but you will not find that idea in Scripture! Read Psa 119 sometime, and see the delight which David takes in the Law, and the blessing obeying it returns to his life! In the New Testament as well as the Old, God requires obedience from His people – this principle did not pass away when Jesus rose from the dead. The New Testament writers equated obedience with a renewed heart and being led by the Spirit! The heart that is reluctant to do the will of the Lord is the heart that does not love Jesus. Jesus said that (Joh 14:21). Paul testifies that those who practice Law- lessness, which is unrighteousness, will not inherit the kingdom of heaven (1 Cor 6:9-10). And John says that those who say they know Jesus, but break the Law, are liars (1 Joh 2:4).
Our English understanding of the word “Law” is actually to blame for some of this; it is misleading for the word which is used in Hebrew, which is torah. I began to do some research into this word, and what I discovered amazed and delighted me! To be continued …
Continued in law or torah.