Saturday, February 11, 2012
Those Who Can't Do
His Law. His Word. They become very familiar after awhile.
Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.--Matthew 5:20
I desire to do your will, Oh God. Your Law is within my heart.--Psalm 40:8
God wants us to keep His Law deep inside, to make it a very part of us: to live it, breathe it, and speak it before we even have to think. But didn't the Pharisees do that, too? They spent their days in the Law. They studied it, interpreted it, taught it. They wore it, for heaven's sake. What went wrong?
The Law became familiar, so familiar that it made them contemptible.
God made the Law as a bulwark, a stronghold to run to. The Law is God in that it describes the boundlessness of His love and the limits of His pardon. If we want to find Him on earth, we have only to run to His Law and rest in His Word.
But if we take the law unto ourselves, begin to administrate it from our own flesh, we become Pharisees.
God's law resides only in God.
God proclaims it, God administrates it, God reveals its meaning and the way it is to be understood in practice. The Law must live in our hearts, but its origin remains in God's.
If we had remained sinless, the Law would have been enough--even one law, the one by which we were not to taste the knowledge of good and evil. But it didn't work out that way. God had to expand on the Law so that we could finally begin to understand it. And then when we still didn't understand, the old teachers expanded it wider and wider, thinking that at some point, they would find the sweet spot between strict enough and good enough that would make the law theirs. They didn't.
God's Law and His Word remain forever His sovereign property. We share them only by grace.
The Pharisees did not understand this. In fact, they, as teachers, may have benefited from another old saying: Those who can't do, teach.