How do you feel about laws? For example, you’re driving along and come to a barricade in the middle of the road and a sign which says “Road Closed.” What do you do? Do you think, “That’s for someone else,” and drive around the barricade? Do you turn around and mutter under your breath, “Why can’t the DOT get their act together?” Or would you be grateful for the warning, take the detour, and imagine how nice the road will be once it’s repaired?
More importantly, how do you feel about God’s law recorded for us in Scripture? Are the Ten Commandments merely “suggestions” from God which you can take or leave without any consequences? Can you recall times when you simply ignored them and continued on the path you wanted? Haven’t you grumbled about how they got in your way and seemed too unreasonable and restrictive?
By nature we resent God’s commands. “The sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so” (Rom. 8:7). We imagine that if everyone else is breaking God’s law and nothing is happening to them, there is no harm in our following along. We lull ourselves into a false sense of security. We reason if God were really loving, He wouldn’t impose and enforce laws.
The truth is that God is deadly serious about His law. It expresses His holy will. It’s not up for debate or negotiation. God could not be more clear and direct: “You shall be holy to Me, for I the LORD am holy” (Lev. 20:26). The penalty for breaking the law is not a secret: “The soul who sins shall die” (Ezek. 18:20).
But why would a loving God stress His law? Where’s the love? God knows we need the law in preparation for the good news of Jesus. If we did not recognize our guilt before God and the eternal punishment we deserve, we would feel no need for a Savior from sin. So God in love exposes our sin and dire situation with His law, so that we will be ready for the saving message that Jesus came to keep the law in our place and on the cross suffer the punishment we deserved.
Don’t ignore God’s law. Don’t discount it as irrelevant to your life. Don’t imagine that it doesn’t apply to you. Take His warning to heart. Confess your guilt and the punishment you deserve. But don’t stop there. Keep going all the way to the cross. Trust in the sinless Son of God who was nailed there. He sacrificed Himself so that the Father would pronounce a not guilty verdict upon the world. David rejoiced, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD, and You forgave the guilt of my sin” (Ps. 32:5).
In tomorrow’s sermon text (1 Cor. 10:1-13) the Apostle Paul urges us not to ignore God’s law as the people of Israel did and then suffered the penalty of death; but rather to take the law seriously, repent of our sin, and find comfort and confidence in Jesus.
Yours in Christ,
Our services are at the usual 8:00 and 10:45 a.m. Choir is at 9:10 and Sunday School at 9:30 a.m.
Bible class is at 9:45 a.m. Thought starter: Are you doing anything different this Lenten season to help focus your heart and thoughts on Jesus?
The public school confirmation class meets at 12:15 p.m.