The Glory of the Law

What is the best way for humans to live? How can we be truly happy?

People may not discuss these questions explicitly, but all around us, people give answers to those questions. They tell us that we will be happy if we have a full head of hair, white teeth, big homes, and new cars. That is the good life. That is real living. Commercials present this vision of the good life to us a thousand times every day.

People also have strong opinions about the right way for people to live. John Ortberg explains (here) that people talk about it every day. Just listen to their conversations. People have so many complaints about what other people have done to them. They believe that others haven’t lived how they were supposed to live. However, it’s clear from their own lives that they haven’t lived according to the human ideal either!

So, how should we live? What will give us true happiness?

What if God came down from heaven and told us exactly how to live to be truly human and happy?

Well, that’s what He’s done. The book of Exodus describes God coming down to Mount Sinai. There, He spoke audibly to the entire people of Israel. They heard God’s voice. There, He told them how to live. He gave the Ten Commandments.

What do you think of when you hear the word “law”? It’s easy to get a negative view of it. Many Christians speak of the law in a negative way.

This is in part based on some of the ways the Bible speaks. The Bible recognizes that the law can tell us what to do, but the law can’t help us when we have broken the law or give us power to fulfill the law. Only God can do that.

We must be very clear, however, that the law is not the problem. We are the problem. As the Apostle Paul said: “So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good. . . but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin” (Rom. 7:12, 14).

When we think of the law, we should not have a negative reaction. We should think like the Psalmist: “Oh how I love Thy law, it is my meditation all day long!” (Psalm 119:97).

When we think of the law, we should think of glory. It is a glorious thing that God has spoken to us and told us exactly and clearly how to live. It is a wondrous thing that God has given us His commandments.

The Apostle Paul says that though the law condemns us, this does not mean that the law is not glorious. Instead, we should think this way: “If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness!” (2 Cor. 3:9).

The opinions of people and the message of the world present a way of living that will disappoint us and not lead us to the happiness we desire. Praise God that He has revealed to us the right way to live and be happy! Praise God that He has given us His commandments! Praise Him even more that He offer us His Spirit, who enables us to obey His commandments.

So, let it be our prayer: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” and “command what you want, O Lord, and give what you command!”


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