Just men reading, memorizing and studying the bible together!

Alternate Plans
Bible Order: Leviticus 5:14–7:38
Chronological Order: Exodus 7–9
New Testament Only: Matthew 21:33–46

Heart In The Right Place

Exodus 21:33–23:33

Heart with orange raysAs I read the details of the Law of Moses I find myself saying “of course you shouldn’t do that” or “of course you should do that”.  Many of God’s commands are just simple common sense.  I think we all know, on some level, what is right and wrong.  You’d think such things wouldn’t require spelling out but clearly they do.  They have to be spelled out because we are extremely self-centered human beings and we do what is wrong as a result of that self-centeredness.

On the exterior of the building that houses the U.S. Supreme Court, and on the wall behind and above the bench from which the Supreme Court Justices hear oral arguments, can be seen Moses with the Ten Commandments.  Don’t let me mislead you, Moses is one of several individuals depicted in these carvings, but it is clear that the United States of America acknowledges Mosaic Law as foundational to our own legal system.  It is clear as one reads God’s law that it is filled with justice.  I wonder if anyone thinks we need a Supreme Court to “interpret” the Ten Commandments or the rest of God’s Law.

I say that jokingly but you know, over the centuries, and even millennia, men came along and attempted to slice and dice God’s commands.  When God said don’t do any work on the Sabbath they had to come along and define what was and was not work.  By the way, they determined that on the Sabbath a man could not carry a handkerchief from an upper level of a home to a lower level as that was deemed to be carrying a burden and thus work.  They also determined that the Sabbath was from sundown Friday until sundown on Saturday, and they defined sundown as the moment when three stars can be seen in the sky.  Rabbinic teaching went on to proscribe 39 different categories of activities that are prohibited on Sabbath.

Now why do you think they had to take God’s commands and dissect them and define them down to their most basic elements?  One reason was because they wanted to earn their way in to God’s good graces and they intended to master the Law by turning it in to a checklist they could follow while defining the Law in a way that gave them maximum leeway to do what they wanted to do.  Another reason they had to dissect the Law was that they had not submitted their will to God’s will.  This means that they needed to strictly define the letter of the Law because their hearts would not naturally obey the spirit of the Law.

Brother, when your heart is completely submitted to God’s will it isn’t hard to obey God’s commands.  When your heart is in the right place, obedience comes naturally.  Our natural state without Christ, however, is constant war with God’s Law.  Many today view God’s Law as onerous.  They think that God doesn’t want people to have any fun; they don’t want to submit to Christ because they don’t want to have to give up all the “fun” things they are currently doing.  But what are those fun things they are doing?  Are they abusing drugs, or alcohol?  Are they abusing their bodies by sleeping around with anyone they can find?  Are they having fun being nasty to others?  I’m afraid what they call fun is simply self-destruction.  What they call fun is slowly killing them.  If you think you have to give up what you think is fun to be in right relationship with God you just don’t get it.  You need to give those things up for your sake, not His.  Christ intends you to have life and have it more abundantly.  That life isn’t found in cheap booze and cheap women; it isn’t found in self-destructive behavior.  It is found in right relationship with Christ which leads you to no longer desire self-destruction but rather fullness of life in Christ.

God’s Law is all about health and happiness.  To fight against His Law is to fight against one’s self.  To a person outside of Christ, God’s Law is a burden because they have to struggle with and against it.  To that person the Law illuminates their slavery to sin.  In Christ, God’s Law is a blessing that only leads to ever greater happiness.  In Christ we are free of sin, and we do not struggle against the Law because God has written it on our hearts.  We are free in Christ because our hearts are in the right place.

Have a blessed day!

Your brother and servant in Christ,

Bill

Dying to self, living to serve!

P.S.  Guys, I want to make it clear that we are free of the Law.  We are no longer under the Law but under grace.  Pork is no longer prohibited to us as the Law states (thank goodness as I love bacon cheese burgers – something my Hasidic Jewish friends find wrong on many levels).  By the same token Jesus said that He came not to abolish the Law but to fulfill it.  To the mind of the Pharisee Jesus violated the Sabbath by healing the sick on the Sabbath.  Clearly they did not understand the difference between the spirit of the Law and the letter of the Law.  Being saved by Christ doesn’t mean we can go and murder people and have sex with animals.  The Law was not abolished; we are simply now able to live by the spirit of the Law through the spirit of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

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