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Law = Love?

This month we are delving into developing a better understanding of God's law. Last week we discussed that although we often have a negative and restrictive view of law, God’s law is actually a good thing. We tend to think of law, especially God’s law as a harsh set of rules from a punishing God. However, it is actually a form of mercy from a loving Father to help us and protect us from our sinful nature.

Think of the rules we set for children. We don’t give them rules to punish them, restrict them, or keep them from having any fun or enjoyment in life. No, we give them rules so that they have protective boundaries. We give them rules because we love them and we don’t want them to get hurt or experience harmful consequences from negative choices. We know that without these rules and boundaries, children do not have the ability to regulate themselves so they need a guideline of appropriate behavior to help them. We are no different. Because we lost our moral authority and ability to distinguish what is good for us and what is not during the fall of Adam and Eve, we also need help regulating ourselves. We need boundaries. We only need to look around in society and see the reality of our inability to do what is best for us and stay in what we would consider normal moral parameters. Violence and chaos are rampant everywhere. It that no matter how hard we try, we can’t keep ourselves in check on our own. Paul could relate to this situation all too well as he describes in Romans 7 :21-25 “21 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.”

Seeing this need, God stepped in as the loving Father that He is and gave us those needed boundaries for our own good in the form of His law. He also gave us the savior we needed in His son because we have proven over time our inability to obey God’s law on our own.

So the law of God serves as a boundary to help us, to keep us safe, hold our sin nature in check, and to serve as a mirror to show us our sin nature and need for a savior. The law makes us aware of what sin is and what sin is not. It shows us which behaviors are helpful and which are harmful. Its purpose is not to restrict us or keep us from having a fun and enjoyable life. In fact, the opposite is true. When we follow God’s law we are able to live a free and abundant life in alignment with Him; protected from the harmful consequences of sinful behaviors. This brings true joy. Jesus illustrates this in John 15:10-11 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete”.

So this week, I encourage you that if you are one of the many people who have had a negative view of God’s law, begin to consider changing your perspective. Reflect on how God’s law is actually a good thing from a Father who loves you and always has your best interest at heart. Reflect on times that following God’s law instead of choosing sin may have actually brought you joy and freedom. Lastly, I encourage you to read Romans 7:14-25 which gives the perfect illustration of the true purpose of God’s law, the effects of our sin nature, and our desperate need for a savior.

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