God vs Law

God is sovereign. Law is perfect – not for its accomplishment, but by its nature. See also Ro 7:12. Obedience is a good thing. Reading Heb 11, the great chapter about faith and the patriarchs, we see that God reckoned them righteous by their faith which was manifest in their deeds. They were not saved by works, however God turned their faith into actions. Notice that God here is sovereign even in our obedience. Obedience does not save through the works, but through the repentant heart that has turned from fearing and obeying the world to fearing and obeying God. It is as impossible as it is illogical to try and divide faith from obedience. Obedience to God is different from works of the law. The former is of God, the latter is of man. One boasts of the glory of our Creator, the other boasts the glory of the created.

We obey what we fear. If we fear the law, we fear a created thing. If we fear God, we fear the Creator. God wants us to love him, not rules (or information) about Him. A great many Christians worship scripture as though it were God. God asks us to seek him first, to obey him, to know him. He seeks intimacy. We can replace Him with created things, be they law or scripture or pagan idols – it really doesn’t matter what it is. When we put these things ahead of him, even the best of things, we become the hypocrites Jesus exposed in the pages of the Gospels having the appearance of Godliness but lacking power – whitewashed tombs.

Lord God, thank You for your revealed word, for the testimonies of the saints and prophets, and for showing us right from wrong. Help us to know You, love You, and obey You with all our hearts. Let us not put Your creation above you, ever, but lead us and teach us to trust in You. Amen.

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About Lance Ponder

Christian author of "Ask James one"; public speaker; husband and father. Available to speak on Creation and the Gospel.
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8 Responses to God vs Law

  1. Bernie says:

    Hi Lance – finally got subscribed to the new blog site so I’m now receiving your entries via e-mail. This was the first. I really like the way you explain all this here. Thanks!!!

    Be blessed IN Christ Jesus, His love and His words brother-

    Bernie

    • Lance Ponder says:

      I’m so glad to have you here, Bernie. You might recognize some of the material, but I’m also adding new stuff. I really like wp better than xanga and a lot better than blogspot. I don’t think my account there even works anymore.

  2. Jerry Hill says:

    As usual, I agree with nearly all you write and have written in this post. I especially agree with your understanding of James, that we are saved by grace through faith in Christ FOR good works such as the works Jesus Himself did loving the apparently unlovable. Where we may disagree is in the interpretation of what constitutes obedience to God’s will. As Paul wrote: “the letter of the law kills, but the Spirit gives life!”

    Jesus taught clearly that it is impossible for men to keep the whole written law and He also raised the standards of obedience far above the dictates of the written law. He prompted the question: “Who then can be saved?” In other words, if it were possible for men to keep God’s law perfectly, mankind would not need a Savior/Redeemer. And, after receiving Christ as Savior/Redeemer, men would not need The Helper, Holy Spirit of Jesus, to guide their steps and to prompt their actions in their personal situations and to lead them individually into all truth specific to those situations.

    I see and now understand why there are so many earnest Christians who have never learned to hear God’s Spirit because they are totally caught up with trying to keep all the “new” laws promoted in the Apostles’ epistles. They are stuck in Paul’s “mere babes in Christ” group, or what I prefer to call remedial Christians. My understanding comes from a revelation that the writers of the epistles — thinking now primarily of Paul and Jude — SOMETIMES reverted to promoting Old Covenant laws- keeping over the development of a personal relationship with the risen Lord Jesus, spirit to Spirit. I now realize that these men, just like you and I are, were Pharisees in Recovery in need of fully embracing their rebirth by God’s Spirit, in need of fully embracing the fact that they and their own hearers were “new” creatures who must learn to daily put away the old ways of living godly and learn to obey the promptings of God’s Spirit.

    I have found in my own walk with Jesus that He sometimes asks me to act contrary to some traditionally-accepted, New Testament church rules; BUT He never asks me to act contrary to His two “greatest commandments.”

    • Lance Ponder says:

      Thanks for this very thoughtful response. I think we would probably agree on obedience. I would hope so, anyway. Its a great question though and a subject worthy of its own post. I’ll jot a note to put it on the list of subjects to work on. Thanks!

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  4. Todd Beal says:

    Lance,

    | God wants us to love him, not rules (or information) about Him. |

    I wrote a similar statement two years ago: “Christians love rules, but do they love Christ more than their rules?” I will add to this; “Christians love scripture, but do we love the author of scripture more than our theology concerning him?”

    Apart from Christ, Biblical Studies is but a silly little game played only by the truth-resistant theologue, an intellectual attempt to shortcut the very Truth in which we claim to place our hope.

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