Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Oh, how I love Your law!!!

"You are good, and do good;
Teach me Your statutes."
Psalm 119:68

     In our last internship class, we were talking about the gospel...which, is a huge "buzz" word lately, and so we spent some much-needed time actually defining: what is the gospel?  We talked about the reasons God gave us the law... 
     Lately, however, there is just something that the Lord has pressed upon my heart...so much so that I couldn't even sleep the other night because it is literally "burning" in my heart (and no, I don't just mean heartburn!, although, that keeps me up too sometimes.  Six pregnancies, what do I expect?)
     Anyhow!!  Back to the point.  There are many reasons that God gave the law, and the most clearly seen is of course to show us our sin and need for a Rescuer... but the one that is burning in my heart, the one that causes me to shout along with the Psalmist: "Oh, how I love your law!!" is that God gave us the law to reveal Himself.  To show us who He is, His character, and His ways.  Through the law, I see what things God loves, what He prefers, what matters to Him.  And this, well this is important for SO many reasons!!!
    Obviously, it is important because we know God more by reading His declaration of His ways!  But for the Israelites, it was imperative that they knew God's character as revealed in the law, because it set the stage for them to recognize their Messiah!!!  God's Word says clearly that in Christ, all the fullness of God's character was made manifest!!  Jesus not only "fulfilled" the law by making provision for our inability to attain to it, but He fulfilled the law because He was the fullness of God's character and His ways, dwelling among us in flesh.  He is Emmanuel...God with us.  The beauty and fullness of God's faithfulness, His mercy, His lovingkindness....The full and complete, rightly-born image of God walking among us!!!
     And, although there is so much more to be said about this... there is a huge implication for "preaching the gospel" to ourselves daily.  In God's desire to call out a people for Himself, and conform them to His image (the image of His Son), He transforms us as we think deeply and meditate on both the WORK (the life, death, and resurrection of Christ on our behalf), and the CHARACTER of Christ. God's WAYS, as revealed in the law, are the same as what we see revealed in the life of Christ...only in their FULLNESS!!  
     This is all swimming around in the "theological" realm of my brain...but let me give you a practical so this will possibly make sense to someone other than me, awake in the middle of the night.
      For example....God's commandment to not covet another man's wife or house tells us something about God: He values and loves CONTENTMENT.  He loves to be a loving Father who provides what His children need, and He delights in His children trusting Him for what they need, rather than continually desiring more.  But we as a people, we are not content.  We want more power, more money, more pleasure, more toys, more "me-time", and more Holiday flavored coffees (sorry, that was the awake in the middle of the night me, dreaming of a Pumpkin Spice Latte).  But you get it.  Anyhow, Christ came, and was the ultimate fulfillment of CONTENTMENT.  He was CONTENT to release all glory, honor, and praise, and to receive what God gave to Him...the inheritance of the saints and the name above all names.  But the cost was great.  It meant His life, His righteousness for our sin.  But He was willing to receive the cup that the Father had given to Him.  And so, it is by His death, and the exchange for His righteousness that I am even able to know and worship this amazing God.  But as I meditate upon Christ's contentment, the beauty of His willingness to fully display what God prefers and loves in being content...well, it is then that Christ begins to transform my wicked and selfish heart, and slowly, one step at a time, "I am crucified with Christ, and it it no longer I who live, but CHRIST lives in me." (Gal. 2:20) And this is amazing, mind-blowing.... The fullness of God's character and His ways...revealed first in the law, and then FULLY in Christ...they begin to make their home in me.  Not fully....but "we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory just as by the Spirit of the Lord."  (2 Cor. 3:18)
     AHHHH!!!  If you've read this blog for any amount of time, you know what a nerd I am.  But man, I could geek out on this for days!!!  Here are some of the Scriptures that I am just eating up as they "burn" in my heart:
"You are my witnesses,' declares the LORD, 'and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he.  Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me.  I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior.  I have REVEALED and saved and proclaimed--I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses,' declares the Lord, 'that I am God.'"  Isaiah 43:9-12
"But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.  For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus' sake. For it is God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."  2 Cor. 4:3-6
There's so much.  All of Colossians.  But hey...don't take my word for it.  Search God's Word!  Look for the beauty of God declaring Himself and His ways through His law.  And then watch, through the story...how God declares His love for fidelity and faithfulness (do not commit adultery, do not worship other gods)...and then, because we are faithless and He is STILL faithful, the fullness of that faithfulness is revealed in Christ...who made provision for us by exchanging His faithfulness in "always being about the Father's business" for our waywardness, and not only secures our place among God's children, but then miraculously begins to cultivate FAITHFULNESS in us, by being "Christ in us, the hope of glory." (Col. 1:27).

"Oh, how I love Your law!!!!"

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