Friday, January 18, 2013

Keeping the Law in the Covenant of Grace

“The whole commandment that I command you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land that the LORD swore to give to your fathers. And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not."
-Deuteronomy 8:1-2

This passage (and all of chapter 8) is very helpful in understanding Deuteronomy and the law. Many Christians have a hard time with God's constant admonitions to hearing His voice and obeying His law and figure that the Mosaic Covenant must have been a covenant of works. But I disagree. Here we see that keeping (or not keeping) the commandments of God is important because it it a sign of one's heart commitment.

If one is a child of God by faith, he will hear the voice of His Father, he will heed his Father's law. And the Father loves giving His gifts to His children. Rebellious children are cut off (Deut. 21:18-21). The child does not earn his Father's gifts (or sonship) by his obedience, especially in our case when we are unnaturally adopted as sons by grace. Our obedience always is deficient, and a life of love is also a life of repentance, but obedience and repentance must be apparent in a son. This is what is called a relationship. It is vital to the idea of covenant. This is all over Deuteronomy and the whole Bible.

This is the same as 1 John constantly points out: we love God and our brother because God has loved us (i.e. brought us out of bondage and sin, Ex. 20:2) and loving means keeping God's commandments (1 John 5:1-3). In the Covenant of Grace, whether in the Old or New Testaments, we should be careful, as sons, to do God's whole commandment, that we might receive God's blessing. God's blessing is not a reward for our acts of obedience, but is given to us as His children. And we are the children of God only in Christ alone, by grace alone, through faith alone. Praise God!

"But to all who did receive him [Christ], who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God."
-John 1:12-13

1 comment:

Faithful Legacy said...

Excellent article, Peter! It showed the doctrine of God's Law while avoiding legalism and antinomianism.

Non Nobis Domini,