Friday, May 15, 2015

Our Being in Christ is the Goal of the Law

Audio: 3 minutes.  (If audio does not show, click on the individual post title.)

What's wrong with the picture? It's a very dangerous picture. Because the picture puts the law at the center and makes Christ the servant of the law, instead of putting Christ at the center and making the law the servant of Christ. Such a delicate difference here. Try to get with me here.

Put it in other words: The picture makes the law the goal of our being in Christ instead of making our being in Christ the goal of the law. And the danger here is that we may want to get into this house, this house of law, this house of commandments. And once we get in be so thankful (thank you Jesus, thank you) and leave Him at the door, while we move from room to room using the keys He gave us. And we say, "We finally got the law. We got where we wanted to be. We figured out the real meaning of the law. And now I can do the law. (Thank you Jesus, by the way, thank you.)"

There's something wrong there. There's something deeply, deeply wrong there. Oh how easy for us to come so close to getting the Christian life right. Newness of the Spirit, not oldness of the letter. Christ, not law. And then fall right back into the old legal way, with Christ as the new list giver! Or the one who gave us the key to all the rooms in the house so that we can enjoy the law. Doing the law, finally I can do the law. And He's out there, He's out there at the door.

I don't think that's what verse 4 means, here in our text. Die to the law, it says, so that we can belong to another, to Him who has been raised from the dead. I don't think that verse means die to the law so that you can belong to the one who will cause you to now belong to the law. That verse does not mean die to the law so that you can belong to Him who can figure out the law, and give you the keys to the law, and now hand you over to good law keeping.

That's not what it says, and it's not what it means. It skews things terribly to make Christ a means to the law, instead of the law a means to a relationship with Christ.

-- John Piper

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Don't reduce love for Jesus to Law-keeping

Audio: 3 minutes.  (If audio does not show, click on the individual post title.)

So... key question... What do christians do with God's holy, just and good law? Do we do anything with it?

We die to it as law keeping. We're dead to it, we don't exist to it, we belong wholly to Jesus. We devote all our time to knowing Him and loving Him and trusting Him and seeing Him and savoring Him and walking with Him and resting with Him and being shaped by Him and defined by Him and controlled by Him. He's our everything. Christ is all, and in all.

And thus we become loving people, and thus we, through the back door, fulfill the law. But do we do anything with the written law? Should you ever look at it? I have two answers.

One, we should look into the written law to see Christ. To know Him, and trust Him, and love Him more. Remember what Jesus said in John 5:39? "You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life, and it is they which speak of me!" Yeah, go there, to find "Me".  Not a new list.

[The] First thing we do with the law, now, is we read it to know God in Christ... To know a person, and love him, more. ... Trust Him more. That's why you read the bible.

Second, you look into the law in order to test to see if you do know Him, trust Him, and love Him, as you ought. Because Jesus said, "If you love me, you'll keep my commandments."

Don't ever turn that around. So many people who don't get the personal relationship of christianity turn it around and say, "keeping commandments is loving Jesus" ... It's not! If you try to reduce love to Jesus to commandment keeping, you're right back at the front door fiddling with that lock.

What the text says is, "if you love me" ... If I carry you and you love being carried, if you see into my face and love what you see, if you trust me and know me and depend upon me and my cross and my resurrection to make you right with God and to fill you with everything you need filling with. ... You'll fulfill the law. You'll never be perfect in this life, but you'll begin to become a loving person, with me, if you love me.

--John Piper