Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Potency of God's Word

A while back I said something about not posting so frequently. It seems of late that the Lord has been helping me become more convinced of the potency of God's Word. Specifically, the Law of God (specifically the ten commandments). This lesson was driven home to me so clearly when I learned of another area pastor who, unfortunately, admitted having an affair with a person in his church.

To say this news was a shock would be an understatement. However, this is the third such incident (that I am aware of) in our area in recent years. I won't divulge what I do know. And I won't speculate as to why this happened to each particular person except to say that all three pastors had one thing in common. . .a lack of emphasis on God's Law. One church was caught up in the social "gospel". Another was as well. The third was a "Purpose Driven" church.

See, where the law is deemphasized, sin can gain a foothold. It is the law that helps us remember what God's standard is. It isn't meant to constrain us under the chains of legalism, but it is there to remind us of what God expects. It reminds us of His character.

1 Timothy 1 says that "the law is good if it is used lawfully". In context, its purpose is to show us our sin. It is our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. It is also there to prompt us on in progressive sanctification. Read Psalm 19!

The opening verses of Psalm 19 are there to remind us that all creation bears witness that there is a God. It bears witness with our conscience as well as our mind. It speaks of the existence of God, but without words. But that isn't sufficient. We must be aware of what God demands of us. And that is the function of God's Law.

In Psalm 19, we read (beginning at verse 7):

"7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making the simple wise.
8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandments of the LORD are pure, giving light to the eyes.
9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether,
10 more to be desired than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
11 And Your servant is warned by them; in keeping them there is great reward.
12 Who can understand his errors? Oh make me pure from secret faults ;
13 and keep Your servant back from presumptuous sins ; do not let them rule over me; then I shall be upright, and I shall be innocent of great transgression.
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer."

So, what have we learned? We have learned that God's Law is perfect, sure, right, pure, clean, true, righteous, desirable and sweet. If you do a word study on those terms, you find that God's law is complete, certain, correct, without spot, absolutely trustworthy, sweet and to be coveted. It shows us the right way, it is reliable in doing so. We can trust what it says without exception. It is without error. . .it never leads us astray. I'd invite you to consider these verses and track the relationship of each of these terms with what it claims to do. . .such as how the law being "right" rejoices the heart. This is what I'll be doing in my own personal time in the Scriptures.

We can't have holiness without the law. When we deemphasize the law, we open the door to compromise. How? By getting our focus of God's standard.

Could I fall? Am I susceptible to falling into sin? Sure. in my flesh, I am just as vulnerable as anyone else. But that is no excuse. God has told us what He expects. We are to "pursue Holiness, without which no one will see the Lord". Does that mean you lose your salvation? No. But if you don't continue in sanctification, you may be well warned to examine your profession of faith.

Are the three pastors that I mentioned earlier lost? Saved? Only the Lord knows. But I believe without any fear of contradiction that God is allowing Satan to sift the professing church. As the days grow darker, this will become more common.

The contemporary church has compromised itself in the name of "relevance" to the point where it doesn't know how to act. We were never told to be "relevant". We were told to be Holy. Just as the Jews were told to stand out in how they conducted themselves, we are also called to be a "peculiar people". We are "called out". That is the very definition of the word "church".

Meanwhile, God's law is there. Among other things, it is complete, perfect, straight and trustworthy. God spoke clearly. He didn't mumble. In addition to that, God equips His people to understand it. There is no excuse.

Have you ever taken a moment to consider how precious a privilege is to be able to read a message from the very God of the Universe? Does that thought impact you at all?

Why don't we esteem God's Word? What has God (seemingly) done to deserve our contempt? But that is what we show Him when we ignore what He has to say!

May God save us from our jaded attitudes. See, we can't know our "hidden faults" and our weaknesses. Not really. That is why they are hidden! But God's Law helps us keep our focus. It cuts to the heart of the matter. And it led the Psalmist to say, in effect, "let everything I say and everything that I even think about be acceptable before God".

May we renew our commitment to keeping a focus on God's standard as revealed in His Law.

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