Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The Law and the Gospel

You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men
(Mark 7:8).

Jesus called the people back to God’s Law, because they had substituted their own traditions for it. Why is the Law important? Because it tells us what is pleasing to God. God’s revelation, which clearly defines for us the difference between sin and righteousness, is found in His Law.

Perhaps the idea of the Law does not appeal to you. You say, “I’m free from the Law. Surely you are not going to ask me to study the Law.” Well, I am suggesting that you study the Law, like you have never studied it before—not that you come under bondage to it, but that you might more clearly understand what sin is.

There is a vital connection between God’s Law and God’s Gospel. People all around us want to separate these two. Some want to live by the Law and seem to have no time for the Good News of salvation. If that is how you approach the Law, you are headed for a miserable life, because apart from the Gospel, the Law kills.

On the other hand, there are those who dismiss the Law altogether and want the Gospel and only the Gospel. This, however, is impossible. You can have the Law without the Gospel and be miserable, but you cannot have the Gospel without the Law. You cannot grasp the Gospel unless you know that Christ has come to satisfy the demands of the Law. You cannot demonstrate your appreciation for the Gospel unless you keep the Law to the glory of God.

The Pharisees did not recognize Jesus because they had ignored the Law of God, which would have pointed out their sin and also pointed to the coming Messiah. Instead, they authored and embraced their own traditions, which made them feel righteous and which blinded them to the identity of Jesus. The same is true today. If we do not hold to God’s Law, we will wind up with our own traditions, and be blinded to Christ.

The way we purge our minds of human error and readjust to God’s ways is by studying His standards. Read and study Psalm 119:97–104. List all the benefits of studying the Law that are mentioned in these eight verses. If you have the time, do the same with verses 105–112. Where does the path in verse 105 lead?