Thursday, August 15, 2019

The Christian and the Law

"Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like" (James 1:22–23).

God’s law is like a mirror: it reflects things. The first thing the law of God reflects is the righteousness of God. The law is not given in abstraction, but it reflects the character, values, and concerns of the Lawgiver. As God Himself is righteous, His righteousness is reflected in His law.

The second thing that the mirror of God’s law reflects to us is ourselves. It shows our sinfulness. How many people do you know who look at themselves in a mirror all the time? We say such a person has a “narcissus” complex. If we look into the mirror long enough, we will begin to see our blemishes and faults. If a man looks in the mirror, it is usually to make sure that he has removed all the stubble from his face. When a woman looks in a mirror, it is usually to make sure she has covered up or highlighted everything she wants to change by means of makeup. A mirror shows us our “faults.”

If a person looks into the mirror of God’s holy law, he will surely see many faults. Only if a person makes himself the standard of judgment can he view himself as faultless. In order to evade a sense of sinfulness, people must stop measuring themselves by the mirror of God’s law and start measuring themselves against other people’s faults.

As a mirror, the law shows our need for salvation, not just once but every day. It continually drives us back to Christ, our Savior, and Guide. It humbles us and shows what we need to do to please God.

The Bible teaches that when we actually obey God’s commands, He will bless us and we will be happy. That point is made in James 1:22–25. If we listen to the law, but don’t obey it, we are like people who forget everything we see in a mirror. The law has shown us our blemishes, but we don’t do anything about them. If we obey, however, we shall find that the law “gives freedom” (v. 25). The man who looks into the mirror and then takes steps to change his ways, “will be blessed in what he does” (v. 25). In this way, the mirror transforms us “with ever-increasing glory” (2 Corinthians 3:13–18).

A mirror that projects a distorted image is discarded as useless. Likewise, many Christians have discarded the Scriptures—and the Law—because they believe it is errant in what it teaches. They think it, rather than they, is distorted. Be careful to continually submit yourself to the Scriptures’ authoritative reflection of Truth.