Wednesday, March 26, 2014

God’s Law: A Gift of Love

By Colleen O’Sullivan
(Moses said:) “Observe (the statutes and decrees of the Lord) carefully, for thus will you give evidence of your wisdom and intelligence to the nations, who will hear of all these statutes and say, ‘This great nation is truly a wise and intelligent people.’  For what great nation is there that has gods so close to it as the Lord, our God, is to us whenever we call upon him?  (Deuteronomy 4:6-7)
Jesus said to his disciples:  “Do not think I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.  I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.”  (Matthew 5:17)

O Lord, grant me the grace to live a life filled with love for you and for others, a life emanating from the words you have engraved upon my heart.

Several years ago I went to visit an out-of-state friend.  When Sunday rolled around and I mentioned going to church, she told me in no uncertain terms that she didn’t need anybody telling her what she could or couldn’t do, and she had no intention of sitting in church with a bunch of pompous fools.  I went by myself, thinking all the way about what she said and the vehemence with which she said it.  I asked myself why I was surprised.  After all, we live in an individualistic culture where doing your own thing is highly prized and chafing at any kind of rules or restrictions is commonplace. 

In the Book of Deuteronomy, on the other hand, Moses presents the statutes and decrees of God as a gift to us, one in a series of signs of God’s love.  In Deuteronomy, time and again we see how God is always with us.  He travels with the people of Israel in the Ark of the Covenant.  God is with his children every step of the long journey through the desert as a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.  And in today’s reading, Moses says that God’s closeness to us in the Law makes us the envy of all other peoples.  God’s Law isn’t meant to make us miserable; it’s designed to help us be close to God and to show us the way to live in loving relationships with our brothers and sisters.

Fast forward to the days of the prophet Jeremiah.  God promises:  “I will plant my law within them and write it upon their hearts; I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”  (Jer. 31:33)  God keeps his word and many generations later sends his Son Jesus into the world.  God is now with us in the flesh.  Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law, and he says we can no longer be satisfied with mere external observance.  He asks us to obey the Law from within, from the hearts upon which it has been written.

As a child, I detested having to memorize the Ten Commandments.  I looked at them as the checklist God used to dole out black marks when we sinned.  As an adult, I see them more as a loving gift.  Some of the commandments are specifically about our relationship with God – don’t make gods of the things of this world and don’t forget to worship the One who called us into being and redeems us from our sins.  They’re meant to draw us ever closer to God.  The rest of them are about our relationships with our brothers and sisters. They’re about loving our neighbors as God loves us.  When we treat each other in a loving manner, many fewer people get hurt, including ourselves.

Spend some time today reflecting on how you view God’s Law.  Is it a gift or a burden?  You may find that your answer is dictated by your image of God.    

1 comment:

Steve Finnell said...


The original proof-text for original sin is Psalm 51:5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. (NASB)

Was David a sinner at conception? No. Was David a guilty of sin at his birth? No. David was a sinner only after he broke God's commandments.

Psalm 51: 1 Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; According to your compassion blot out my transgressions. (NASB)

David asked God to blot out his transgressions. David did not asked God to blot out the guilt that he inherited from Adam. He did not ask God to block out the guilt of sins that he inherited from his mother and father.

Psalm 51:2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity And cleanse me from my sin. (NKJV)

David wanted to be cleansed from his sin. David did not ask God to cleanse him from original sin.

Psalm 51:3 For I know my transgressions, And my sin is ever before me. (NASB)

David did not transgress one of God's laws by being conceived. David did not commit sin by being born.

Psalm 51:4 Against You, You only, I have sinned And done what is evil in Your sight, So that You are justified when You speak And blameless when You judge. (NKJV)

David did not do evil by being conceived and being born.

Psalm 51:5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. (NASB)

David was conceived in a sinful world. David was born into a world filled with sinner's. David was not guilty of the false teaching of original sin.

Psalms 139:13-14 For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother's womb. 14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. (NASB)

God formed David in his mothers womb. God did not create David guilty of Adam's sin nor guilty of anyones sin. God does not create sin. How could a sinner be wonderfully made?

Genesis 1:27 God created man in His own image , in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (NASB)

God created David in His own image. Is God's image that of a sinner? David was created innocent of sin just like every person that God creates today. All men are created in God's image.

Mark 10:14 ..."Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. (NASB)

Jesus said the kingdom of God belongs to children. Did Jesus mean the kingdom belongs to dirty little sinners who were guilty of Adam's sin at conception. Did Jesus mean that children who were sinners at birth belong in God's kingdom.
If the false doctrine of original sin is true how did these children have their sins wash away. Jesus gave this command after His death. Mark 16:16 He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved...). Small children and infants are not guilty of sin.

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,(NASB)

Men will go hell because of the unforgiven sins they commit. Men will not go to hell because they were sinners at conception. Men will not go to hell because they were sinners at their birth.
Men will not go to hell because they are guilty of Adam's sin.
Men will not go to hell because they are guilty of a false sin.
The doctrine of original sin is a false doctrine invented by man and perpetuated by the uninformed.