PSALM 119:1-3: “Blessed are the undefiled in the way, Who walk in the law of the LORD! Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, Who seek Him with the whole heart! They also do no iniquity; They walk in His ways.” NKJV
OBSERVATION: Why are we so messed up? Why do so many walk in defeat instead of victory? Why is there so much confusion about the principles of law and grace?
Today, when most Christians think about the law of God, they think of it in juxtaposition to grace. The Jews of Jesus time had misunderstood the purpose of the law of God. They had made it a means of righteousness. Paul is clear, no man is justified by the works of the law.
- “Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Romans 3:20 NKJV
Paul goes on to say that the purpose of the law was to bring us to Christ. The perfect law of God reveals our sin and our need for a Savior. We can never be justified before God by our adherence to the law of God. Why? Because we can never fulfill it without sinning. Our only hope is in the gift of salvation by grace through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
So, what do we do with the law of God? Do we ignore it? Do we simply try to walk in love and only focus on the New Testament teachings, putting the Old Testament on the shelf as something that is irrelevant and no longer needed? Let’s consider two facts.
First, when Jesus walked this earth, and for the first few decades of the early church, the only Scriptures that they had were the Old Testament Scriptures. When you read the sermons from the book of Acts, these were taken from the Law and the Prophets! Therefore, the early church did not consider the law of God irrelevant. It was their only Bible!
Second, let’s consider the words of the great apostle of grace – the Apostle Paul. It is on Paul’s teachings, that those who dismiss the law of God as irrelevant to the New Testament believer, hang their hat. Yet, it was from the Law and the Prophets that Paul developed his God inspired theology of grace. And, in the very chapter where Paul reminds us that righteousness does not come through the works of the law, he reminds us of something else equally important.
- “Since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.” Romans 3:30-31 NKJV
The word that is translated “establish” literally means to stand by, to uphold, to abide. Therefore, Paul was not throwing the law of God away as irrelevant. Paul was establishing it to its original purpose. The law of God reveals the pathway of righteousness. It is not the agent of righteousness. Faith in Jesus Christ is the agent of righteousness. However, we need the law to walk clearly on the pathway that faith in Christ establishes!
This is why we are so messed up. We no longer read the Scriptures. Recently I spoke with my closest friend who is a professor at a Christian College. He told me that the young students he is teaching, although they have grown up in church, are basically Biblically illiterate. This does not mean they do not love God. It simply means they have gone through their entire life with only a surface knowledge of God’s Word.
And, so the words of the Psalmist come to us with a powerful reminder.
- “Blessed are the undefiled in the way, Who walk in the law of the LORD! Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, Who seek Him with the whole heart! They also do no iniquity; They walk in His ways.” Psalm 119:1-3 NKJV
The undefined in the way are those who are justified by faith in Jesus Christ! This has always been true. Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness. Yet, it is the ones who are accounted righteous by faith, who are to be the ones who walk in the law of the Lord. We cannot seek God with our whole heart if we are not seeking the whole counsel of God through His Word – both Old and New Testament!
Why is this so important? It keeps us in the pathway of righteousness. As we walk in the light, as He is in the light, John tells us that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin. Why are so many walking in bondage, fully unaware of their sin? It is because they are not walking in the pathway of righteousness. Paul made it clear – without the law there is no knowledge of sin!
God wants to change us and perfect us. This cannot happen if we are not walking in His light. This cannot happen if the sin in our life is not being revealed. We must once again delight in the law of the Lord. It is only then that we will enter into a deeper walk of cleansing and sanctification. The Holy Spirit works through the Word of God. We need the whole counsel of God!
- “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them Your servant is warned, And in keeping them there is great reward.” Psalms 19:7-11 NKJV
We need the law of the Lord! Lord, this morning, I pray the prayer that David prayed,
- “Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults. Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; Let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, And I shall be innocent of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.” Psalms 19:12-14 NKJV
In Jesus Name!