Faith: God's law defines perfect love
Do you believe that God's Law is all about His wrath and eternal condemnation? Do you believe you do not need to keep it?
Often people, even Christians, believe this; however, this is not what God says about it, but rather that His Law actually defines perfect love.
So, we might ask, how does the Law reveal God's perfect love when it often sounds like nothing more than a list of commands that if not kept spells out our condemnation?
It sounds this way because as sinful humans we have lost our ability to see God for who He is, a loving Creator whose divine will has but one purpose, and that is, that all things within His creation and eternal kingdom are designed for our good.
If we see God's Law in this light, we can begin to appreciate that the law is not about condemning us, but about God's gracious will that we live in harmony with Him and one another. It means that if we see the Law as good, we will also see another truth, which is, the law actually defines God's nature to be loved. In other words, the law reveals God's perfect righteousness to us.
This may sound odd at first glance, but it's not if we take into account that when God asks us to willingly and faithfully keep His law our lives actually reflect His divine nature. Jesus' life, for example, fully demonstrated what God's love looks like when He kept the law perfectly.
Consequently, Jesus, who is God, and thus the author of the Law, calls us to faithfully keep it because He did not come into the world to condemn it under the law, but came to redeem us from our inability to keep it perfectly because of our sinful nature.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believes in him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3:16-18)
These familiar verses wonderfully express how God kept His law of love by sending His Son Jesus to fulfill what it requires, and that is that we keep all that the law demands. And so, Jesus did. Through His perfect obedience, He did what we cannot, He fulfilled the law by dying on the cross for the redemption of our souls from sin. On the cross Jesus demonstrated what perfect love looks like according to His law.
So, what does this mean for us? Simply, that if Jesus kept the Law it must be good for us to keep because in doing so we are following His example. When we keep the law we are saying to our Savior we desire to show love toward Him and one another.
On the other hand, if we reject Jesus' command to keep the law and choose to break it, we are actually rejecting His love. It is we who are choosing to be condemned under His perfect justice. It is we who are rejecting the forgiveness Jesus won for us by dying on His cross.
And, we are in fact casting judgment upon Jesus as we continue in the false belief that He is a demanding, unloving tyrant who only desires to condemn us for breaking His law. But this is not true!
Jesus, rather, asks us to strive to keep the law the best we can, but not because we fear His wrath, but because we have His forgiveness even when we fail to keep it.
This is His gift of grace to us, and through it He teaches us that to keep His law is to demonstrate to the world the perfect love the Father, Son and Holy Spirit have bestowed upon us.
So keep God's Law because it's perfectly good to do so! God's blessings!
Les Uhrinak is pastor at Mission of the Cross Lutheran Church in Crosslake.