“You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” Deuteronomy 6:5
Our study this week is ‘The Law as Teacher’. But the very presence of a law presupposes a Law Giver. God is the Law Giver. Before we accept His law as our teacher, we must accept Him as our sovereign Teacher. The promise is that ‘He shall teach us His ways and we shall walk in His paths’ Micah 4:2. God’s will is our law; when Jesus came to earth, He did not say, “I have come to keep the 10 Commandments.” He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God” Hebrews 10:7, 9. That included obedience not only to the 10 Commandments but to all God’s will, and it included going to Calvary to redeem the world.
Jesus is the ‘true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.’ John 1:9
“One is your Teacher, the Christ.” Matthew 23:10
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” John 14:26
Likewise, when we accept God as our Law Giver, we accept Him not only as Teacher, but also as Ruler of our lives. We delight to do His will, for His law is written in our hearts.
I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart.” Psalm 40:8
Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You. Psalm 119:11
Our highest duty is to love God and delight to do His will. He is worthy of our worship and if we worship Him and fear Him (hold Him in reverence) we will serve Him (Matthew 4:10). One of the reasons we have reverence for Him is when we recognise the holiness of His character as portrayed in the Law.
“For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ” Matthew 4:10
Doing God’s will results in great blessings – spiritual, material and eternal blessings.
Who is the man that fears the Lord? Him shall He teach in the way He chooses. He himself shall dwell in prosperity, and his descendants shall inherit the earth. Psalm 25:12, 13
All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children. Isaiah 54:13
Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with the whole heart! They also do no iniquity; they walk in His ways. Psalm 119:2, 3
The Lord your God will make you abound in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your land for good. For the Lord will again rejoice over you for good as He rejoiced over your fathers, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this Book of the Law, and if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Deuteronomy 30:9, 10
Disobedience to God’s law brings guilt and death.
“Take this Book of the Law, and put it beside the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, that it may be there as a witness against you; for I know your rebellion and your stiff neck.” Deuteronomy 31:26, 27
All mankind is unrighteous and therefore, all mankind has sinned and deserves the wages of sin which is eternal death.
“There is none righteous, no, not one…” Romans 3:10
Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. Romans 3:19, 20
The Law is always a witness against sinful man. It cannot proclaim man righteous.
The Law is Holy, Righteous and Good, but it cannot save us.
But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Romans 3:21-24
Is there a conflict, then, between God’s law and God’s promises? Absolutely not! If the law could give us new life, we could be made right with God by obeying it. But the Scriptures declare that we are all prisoners of sin, so we receive God’s promise of freedom only by believing in Jesus Christ. Galatians 3:21, 22 NLT
Jesus is our Saviour and He saves to the uttermost. He is our Righteousness. He is the only One who has lived a sinless perfect life of obedience and He gives it as a free gift to all who believe in Him. His righteousness becomes our righteousness.
But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:22, 23
Jesus is also our Example. He depended totally on His Father and did nothing out of His own ability. The Spirit of God rested upon Him and gave Him power and wisdom to obey. Likewise, of ourselves we can do nothing (John 15:5) but through Christ we can do ‘all things’ (Philippians 4:13). As we daily acknowledge that of ourselves we cannot produce God’s righteousness and approach God in humble dependence upon Him, His Spirit will make that righteousness real in our lives (John 3:21).
Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.” John 8:28, 29
Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” John 6:28, 29
We too, are called to glorify God by doing His perfect will. He calls us to identify with Christ’s death by denying ourselves and presenting our new lives to Him daily as living sacrifices, so that the Spirit can transform us and reveal to us the perfect will of God.
When Bad Things happen to Godly People
John the Baptist and Job are examples of godly men who suffered for Christ’s sake. Thousands of martyrs gave their life for Christ.
Those who know their God know that their lives are in God’s hands and nothing can happen to them unless God allows it. This is clear in the story of Job; Satan challenged God to remove His protection from Job and God did that. But the purpose of all suffering in the lives of believers is to make us more holy and to give God glory.
For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls… we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:3, 9-11
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
Here is Joseph’s understanding of why bad things happened to him:
But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. Genesis 50:20
God is our Lawgiver, Judge, King and Saviour. He is the Sovereign LORD.
For the LORD is our Judge, the LORD is our Lawgiver, the LORD is our King; He will save us. Isaiah 33:2
God is our Lawgiver and therefore has the power to rule and judge. Man has no authority to judge because he is not the lawgiver. In stating that God is our Lawgiver, Judge and King, Isaiah is describing the role of a monarch who has legislative, judicial and administrative function over us and who is our Saviour.
Our God is the Holy God. His holiness is the divine attribute of perfection by which He is absolutely distinct from all His creatures and exalted above them in infinite majesty (Exodus 15:11, Isa 57:15). His attributes of love and righteousness are manifestations of His perfections.
By virtue of God’s righteousness, He maintains a moral government and imposes a just law on man, rewarding obedience and punishing disobedience.
This Holy God is our King, Lawmaker and Judge.
If we acknowledge Him as King and Lord of our lives, then our greatest pleasure will be found in loving Him and doing His will. We will have no fear of the judgement, for we have passed from death to life and shall not come into condemnation at the judgement (John 5:24, 1 John 4:14-17).
To all who love God and seek to follow His will in their lives, God will reveal to them the fullness of His will. To spiritual children, just starting on the journey of salvation, He reveals the basic concepts of His will as the 10 precepts given at Sinai. As we grow older in faith, we understand that these laws are based on 2 principles – love to God and love to our fellow men. The love we manifest is the very love of God, unchanging, unconditional and self-giving. It is at once, impossible of ourselves, yet wholly possible through the work of the in-dwelling Spirit in our lives. As we grow still more in our knowledge and love of God, we seek for holiness; to be set apart to the will of God, to be and do whatever He wants. We offer Him our lives, so that He Himself can live out His life within us.
Good and upright is the Lord; therefore He teaches sinners in the way.
The humble He guides in justice, and the humble He teaches His way.
All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth, to such as keep His covenant and His testimonies.
For Your name’s sake, O Lord, pardon my iniquity, for it is great. Who is the man that fears the Lord? Him shall He teach in the way He chooses.
He himself shall dwell in prosperity, and his descendants shall inherit the earth.
The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant. Psalm 25:8-14