The Perfect Law of God
The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul…
You are not okay, and you know it. Now this is countercultural — blasphemous even — in our world today. We tell people to stand unapologetically in who they currently are. You do you. And I must grant, before we move on, that this is partially true. God did craft each of us as a unique masterpiece, a symphony of cells and soul. We are not accidents. But there is something wrong.
We have a sin problem.
God did not create us with defects, but rather we chose to rebel. Sin started in The Garden and continues to this day, each of us with a part in the attempted coup of God’s kingdom. The reason we are not okay is because we choose to usurp God’s authority over our lives, and in so doing we self-destruct.
It is not ironic that David wrote many of the Psalms as meditations on the holiness of God’s Law. You might think this is strange, though. Why would a man who slept with another man’s wife and then had him killed be in any way happy with the law which condemned him? It would be like a death row inmate reading the penal code with great joy.
The reason David delights in God’s Law is, foremost, because it’s perfect. David knows God’s heart. God’s words are clean, perfect, and powerful.
When tempted by the devil, Jesus responds by saying this:
“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)
Jesus is quoting Deuteronomy here, as he often did. What he is essentially saying to the devil is this: you cannot deceive me because I have my Father’s words written on my heart. Jesus trusts so much in Scripture that he quotes it in the direst of times. He knows its power first hand.
Jesus, unlike us, obeyed God’s commands perfectly. The Law did not render Jesus guilty like it does us. He did not sin. We, like David, have sinned. This is a very real problem, as the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). What that means is this: we are guilty, and we deserve the eternal death penalty.
We have lied.
We have cheated.
We have stolen.
We have committed adultery in our hearts (that’s lust).
We have committed murder in our hearts (that’s anger).
The Law isn’t feeling so good right now, is it? One of the fundamental terrors we avoid is being exposed. We don’t want to be seen for who we truly are, and thus when the light of God’s Law illuminates our hideous parts, we recoil.
If that’s you — if reading this makes your stomach turn — I have great news. You realize you have a sin problem. And thus, you are in the posture to receive treatment from Jesus, the Physician of our souls.
Jesus came to fulfill the Law (Matthew 5:17). He came to earth to bear the penalty for our condemnation under the Law. And thus, if we are in Christ, we get to share in his verdict:
This is called the Double Imputation. Jesus takes our sin, we take his righteousness. Justice is accomplished on the cross, and Christ followers are the beneficiaries.
And now, if we walk blameless in Christ, we can return to the Law with great humility and awe. We see how God has designed his world. We treasure his laws and statutes. Why? Because we know we can trust him. We know his goodness and love toward us because we know the cross. The Father gave his only Son so we would be reconciled to him. As we are sanctified in Christ, we will become more like him. But we will still sin until we are perfected. So now when we sin, we need not hide. We run to the Lord, knowing that although his Law renders us to blame, the cross renders us blameless.