I’d like to complete this short series on delighting in God’s moral law with three further thoughts that should help spur us on and motivate us to imitate Paul and the Psalmist.
First, take a moment to contemplate what a day in your life would be like if everyone in the world perfectly obeyed God’s moral law. You could trust everything you read or heard. You could make every business transaction without fear of being ripped off. You could go wherever you wanted to without fear of harm from others. You could flip through the TV channels without seeing images that corrupt your mind. I think we can all agree that that would be one awesome day! Well, what kind of ridiculous hypocrites must we be to recognize the benefits of others keeping the law, yet refusing to do it ourselves?
Second, consider the foundation and nature of the moral law. It is the transcript of the character of God Himself.
Many years ago I was terribly disappointed to find that the administrator of one of my favorite websites had decided to leave the Reformed Baptist church he had been a part of. Part of his explanation for doing so was extremely disturbing to me. He told of how in his church they had studied the 10 commandments as they are expounded in the Westminster Larger Catechism, and how troubling that was to him. Anyone familiar with this section of the catechism will agree that it is extremely thorough. (In my opinion it is the finest concise exposition of the moral law in print.) But for this man, the exhaustive precision of what God requires was just too much. He told us that he thought to himself “Who could possibly do all this? Why even try?” I couldn’t believe it. I thought to myself, “What in the world is he going to do next time he comes across Matt. 5:48?”
Well, I have a much better use for this section of the catechism for you. Read through it again, examining the precision and exhaustive detail of the perfect obedience our Creator and Redeemer demands of us. But do that with two considerations in mind: 1. Ponder the fact that this is a description of exactly how our Lord Jesus Christ lived as he walk upon this earth. He perfectly kept every miniscule detail without the slightest deviation of any kind. Do you want to know what Christ is like? Study the moral law. 2. Consider the moral perfections described and realize that this perfection was not just something God came up with willy-nilly. This truly is the transcript of His character, to understand and love these commandments is to understand and love the author of these commandments. We all long to be more conformed to the image of our Lord and Savior. Conform yourself, inwardly and outwardly, to the demands of His moral law so that you will be more like Him.
And finally, I will conclude with what I believe ought to cause every believer to delight in God’s moral law. This has been the desire of my heart since the moment of my conversion. But unfortunately, the church has been so inundated by false teaching and fuzzy thinking about the law that it almost sounds like heresy to many. We delight in the moral law because it informs us how we can please the one who created and redeemed us!
Ralph Erskine put it this way:
A rigid matter was the law
Demanding brick, denying straw
But when with Gospel tongue it sings
It bids me fly, and gives me wings
For the unconverted man, the law is an unbearable burden. Making demands he can never fulfill, and providing absolutely no aid or consolation to anyone guilty of the slightest deviation from its requirements. But the gospel turns the law into something altogether different! Through the gospel, God takes the stony rebellious heart out of us and replaces it with a heart of flesh that seeks after God and yearns to please Him. The law then instructs us how we can show our gratitude and love for Him for whom we now live. Please allow me to make the necessary qualifications.
- Unconverted man can do NOTHING to please God!
- No one can do ANYTHING to earn God’s favor or salvation!
But neither of these truths contradicts the fact that Christians CAN and SHOULD live and behave in such a way that is pleasing to God! Paul Washer put it this way:
“[A lot of people] think that Christianity is you doing all the righteous things you hate and avoiding all the wicked things you love in order to go to Heaven. No, that’s a lost man with religion. A Christian is a person whose heart has been changed; they have new affections.” ~ Paul Washer, sermon, “Dating, Courtship, and Marriage.”
What are the new affections he speaks of? They are the love of Christ and the desire to please Him. But how do we go about accomplishing the desire to please Him? Is it that difficult to understand that one way to please someone is by doing what He tells you to do? It is Christ Himself who said “You are my friends if you do what I command you.” John 15:14.
Our obedience is utterly imperfect, it could never deserve God’s favor, but He looks upon our feeble efforts as a father watching a small child attempt to please him. He has cleansed the multitude impurities from our obedience with the blood of Christ and is truly pleased with it.
2 Corinthians 5:9 Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.
Colossians 1:10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;
Colossians 3:20 Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord.
1 John 3:22 And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.
This is why every Christian should delight in the moral law of God. Every true Christian eagerly desires to please the One who redeemed him. The moral law teaches us how to accomplish the goal of living a life pleasing to Him.
His Throne is Forever and Ever!