Continued from Part I; Walking the Walk, ...and Why
Part II of V: So ...what exactly are God's instructions....
Well, there are the books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy, as well as the Ten commandments...for starters.
Hmmm...but...do we really have to follow Mosaic Law in order to please God?
Well, Yes and No.
Yes, definitely we are to "Love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul and with all our strength." (Deuteronomy 6:5). That's a pretty clear Mosaic instruction, repeated in one form or another throughout the Old and New Testament. But are we supposed to be sacrificing live animals at specified times of the year? The answer to that might be confusing, but ...
Watchman Nee, a Chinese Evangelist, once explained that the purpose of Mosaic Law wasn't in the details of the law itself. The details were just a means to an end. Those detailed rules were needed to show us the impossibility of being "perfect" in our own strength, and our need for a Savior in the form of Jesus Christ. He said -
"...let it be settled at the outset that the fault does not lie with the Law. Paul says, "the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and righteous, and good" (Rom. 7:12). No, there is nothing wrong with the Law, but there is something decidedly wrong with me. The demands of the Law are righteous, but the person upon whom the demands are made is unrighteous. The trouble is not that the Law's demands are unjust, but that I am unable to meet them...The detailed Law had it's purpose; the goal being an understanding of our need for a savior as well as teaching us a context in which we will understand said Savior. The "Scape Goat," for example, in Leviticus 16 was an illustration of how our Savior would atone for us, only, the Israelites didn't know that at the time.
"I am a man "sold under sin" (Rom. 7:14). Sin has dominion over me. As long as you leave me alone I seem to be rather a fine type of man. It is when you ask me to do something that my sinfulness comes to light.
"If you have a very clumsy servant and he just sits still and does nothing, then his clumsiness does not appear. If he does nothing all day he will be of little use to you, it is true, but at least he will do no damage that way. But if you say to him: 'Now come along, don't idle away your time; get up and do something', then immediately the trouble begins. He knocks the chair over as he gets up, stumbles over a footstool a few paces further on, then smashes some precious dish as soon as he handles it. If you make no demands upon him his clumsiness is never noticed, but as soon as you ask him to do anything his awkwardness is seen at once. ...He was as clumsy a man when he was sitting still as when he was working, but it was your demands that made manifest the clumsiness that was all the time in his make-up, whether he was active or inactive.
We are all sinners by nature. If God asks nothing of us, all seems to go well, but as soon as He demands something of us the occasion is provided for a grand display of our sinfulness. The Law makes our weakness manifest. ...When a holy law is applied to a sinful man, then his sinfulness comes out in full display.
God knows who I am...He knows that I am weakness incarnate; that I can do nothing. The trouble is that I do not know it. I admit that all men are sinners and that therefore I am a sinner; but I imagine that I am not such a hopeless sinner as some. God must bring us all to the place where we see that we are utterly weak and helpless. ...Had it not been for the Law we should never have known how weak we are. Paul had reached that point. He makes this clear when he says in Romans 7:7: "I had not known sin, except through the law: for I had not known coveting, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet". Whatever might be his experience with the rest of the Law, it was the tenth commandment, which literally translated is: "Thou shalt not desire ..." that found him out. There his total failure and incapacity stared him in the face!
Jesus himself didn't condemn Mosaic law or deem it unimportant. He said in Matthew 5:17, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
To fulfill the law...to fulfill the law...What did he mean by that?
Five Parts: Part III, Fulfilling the Law - June 4, 2010