Deuteronomy 6, Psalm 89, Isaiah 34, Revelation 4

If you’re following the schedule, you should read these chapters today: Deuteronomy 6, Psalm 89, Isaiah 34, Revelation 4. Click on any of those references to see all the passages in one long page on BibleGateway. If you can't do all the readings today, read Deuteronomy 6.

It is impossible for people to know how many federal laws there are that are currently in existence. Way back in 1982, the Department of Justice spent 2 years attempting to count the number of federal criminal laws; they came up with an estimate of 3,000. But that was a long time ago and many more criminal laws have been passed. There are also many, many civil laws and other regulations that have the force of law.

In other words, as one pundit put it, you’re probably breaking some kind of law right now. Although Israel’s law may seem oppressive and, in many cases, strange, it was a fairly simple law code. At least the laws can be counted and exist all in one place. Yet it is common for unbelievers and, sometimes, believers, to complain that the Old Testament law is oppressive. According to our passage today, however, God’s law is not oppressive but a gateway to freedom. Verse 2b tells us that God gave Israel the law so that, “…you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life.” Obey God’s law, and long life will be yours. Simple. 

Likewise, verse 25 says, “And if we are careful to obey all this law before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness.” Want to be righteous before God? Keep his laws and all will be well—spiritually and otherwise—in your life.

If it is true that God’s law to Israel was designed for their good and that it is relatively simple compared to our system of laws, then why didn’t Israel just obey it and reap the benefits God provided? The answer, of course, is sin. While keeping God’s law perfectly could make one righteous in theory, in reality it could never make anyone righteous before God. One, nobody can keep God’s law perfectly because we will slip up and sin; two, even if we kept God’s law perfectly, we would still have original sin that was imputed to us when Adam and Eve fell. So, although God’s law offered his people a pathway to a long, economically prosperous and morally righteous life, in reality, it was an impossible pathway to follow successfully. This uncovers the real reason for God’s law: “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin” (Rom 3:20). God’s law showed us what God demands of us morally but our attempts to follow it show us how completely we are morally damaged. When anyone realizes how impossible it is to keep God’s law—even though doing so offers many promised blessings—that person is ready to be saved because he or she will realize how much and how often we fall short of God’s law. Knowing that, then, prepares us to plead with God to save us from the penalties we deserve for breaking God’s law; Christ came to pay those penalties (his “passive obedience”) so that his perfect obedience to law (his “active obedience”) could be credited to us by faith. Here is something to encourage us; when we were utterly powerless to obey God’s law, Christ saved us from the law and its penalties through his active and passive obedience. Receive that salvation by faith never fear the law again.

Now for your thoughts: What stood out in your Bible reading for today? What questions do you have about what you read? What are your thoughts about what I wrote above? Post them in the comments below or on our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/calvarybiblechurch/. And, feel free to answer and interact with the questions and comments of others. Have a great day; we'll talk scripture again tomorrow.