Understanding the Law as God’s Ways (not just God’s rules)

“He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel.” Psalm 103:7

The Law is righteous. It is God’s unchanging standard. The prophets were inspired speakers of God’s Laws. The Law itself can be understood as Principles, Programmes and Purposes of God. Principles are the fixed ideas guiding the divine nature of God and all His works. Programmes are the various dispensations with their specific goals. Purposes are the eternal, unchanging counsel of the Father.
When we talk about the Law, we are not particularly speaking of the 10 commandments in Exodus 20 and 603 more in Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus and Deuteronomy that was given to Israel as a nation. These were not only moral codes but constitutional rules for the new nation of Israel. In this sense, the Law is limitedly used.
And it is this understanding of the Law that underwent a change in the New Covenant. Since it is not correct to transfer a constitution of God’s particular dealings with a constituency, Israel, into a rule for the nations (Gentiles) who will enter into the kingdom of God. This does not in anyway discount the strategic place Israel occupies in God’s eternal programme.
However, the Law as Israel knew it was a mixture of moral codes and governmental procedures. But when we look at how the Law is variously described in Scriptures, it will be clear that it is not the Law in that limited sense as we come to know it through Moses, but it is the Law in its essential context of divine order and standard. Before we try to describe the Law further, let us look at how it is described in the Scriptures to make sense of it.

‘The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. [8] The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. [9] The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. [10] More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. [11] Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.” Psalm 19:7-11

When you look at the very many things we don’t have to do again because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the overriding of the New Covenant over the Old (Hebrews 8 & 10), it will be immediately clear to our hearts, that the Law is not primarily the codes that Israel knew. Those were limited to their own national experience. The Law is simply God’s ways. And what is God’s ways? It is the essence of instructions that each portion of Scriptures contain for our growth and learning that brings us up to the level of His LIFE.

We see David, a Prophet of God, gaining insight into the nature of the Law. He saw that the Law is perfect and it converts the soul, that is, it transforms into a life pleasing to the LORD. He described the Law in five other ways:
1. The Testimony of the Lord: it testifies of the Lord. That is, it bears the very nature of God. Wherever you find the Law, you have found a representation of the Lord. Which means each law testifies and expresses God. When the law is seen in a life as a lifestyle, it serves as a testimony of God’s presence, involvement and investment in that life.
2. The Statutes of the Lord: it shows the fixed nature of God and His ways. It is a governing decree divinely issued to establish God’s will in a matter. It is knowing God’s Will in a previously unclear matter.
3. The Commandment of the Lord: Specific directives given for our benefit. They are not advices. They are absolutes. They cannot be broken. You can only break yourself upon it.
4. The Fear of the Lord: God’s Word produces a genuine reverence for God in a life that is unmistakably sensed by others.
5. The Judgment of the Lord: It is God’s verdict. It should be your decision. No one can ever escape it. If you do not know the Law (God’s Will and Ways) as a way of life in this life, you will know it as a sentence in the next.
These are dimensions of the Law.
If you have understood the Law the way it was expressed in God’s Word, you will see that it is not amendable. Yet, it is so high that human ability by itself cannot reach it or fulfill it.
Hence, the first thing it achieves is to reveal our INABILITY to please God. The dwarfing, unsurpassable height of God’s Law puts all human efforts and ability to where they belong. No amount of reaching and struggling can reach it. The only result of striving by human effort is FAILING and FALLING.
Now, the fact that we are falling is not the fault of the Law. It is the fault of our inherited nature from Adam. The human nature that prides itself on its abilities and capacities must be disgraced before man can appreciate his need for help. Which is where grace comes in. Grace comes to those who realize their weaknesses and inability to please God (Romans 8:3, 8).
This does not nullify the Law; it actually serves the Law because it equips man to reach that previously unsurpassable height of God’s standard.

The Law is a revelation of God’s Ways that we are required to walk in, but we cannot walk in it unless we receive/accept the offer of God’s Grace in the New Covenant.

“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:” Hebrews 8:10

The Law is God’s expectations; Grace is God’s provision to help us meet His own expectations.

How do we receive this provision?

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. [29] Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. [30] For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30

This grace is in Christ Jesus. Stop struggling to be good, righteous and obedient. Come to the LORD Jesus and He will take the struggle off of you. His Grace will take over from your agonizing labours and instantly transform you to a saint. It is “…Not by might, nor by power…” It is by the Spirit of Grace (Zechariah 4:6-7).

Note: Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the King James Version.

Disclaimer: Using a quote or picture that mostly or fully represents what we have in mind does not imply agreement with or approval of a person’s general philosophy of life.

Picture Credit: Monergism

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Published by Olamide OPEYEMI

Author, Bible Teacher and Leadership Coach. Author of the book, thoughtshift and other upcoming books like Greatness, Preserving Spiritual Heritage, The Glory of the New Covenant etc. ...teaching towards the obedience of the Faith through written, audio and video teachings online as well as speaking to groups and gatherings of people in various places. ...coaching leaders and executives to clarify their values, as they create clarity in their thoughts, and integrity in their actions. Married by the grace of God to Yemisi Cindy OPEYEMI and blessed with two sons.

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