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delighting in the law

"Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day."  (Psalm 119:97 ESV)

Following are some reading highlights from Jerram Barrs' Delighting in the Law of the Lord: God's Alternative to Legalism and Moralism (Crossway, 2013) ... 

"All biblical study of the law begins with the conviction that God’s own character stands behind the moral order of this world and behind the commandments that he gives to us his creatures. This is the fundamental reason why the Scriptures speak so positively about the law. Praising a set of commandments is an alien notion in our cultural context, but that is where the biblical view begins: with praise and thanksgiving for the law. Psalm 19 is an example of this high view of the law of God.
"God’s law is beautiful because it reveals God’s character. This is the most basic reason why we should love the law.

"At the heart of God’s covenant there is always a relationship of love. ... God commits himself to be in personal fellowship with those whom he calls: 'I will... be God to you and to your offspring after you.'
"In Christ we are a new creation, and as his new creation we are designed by the Lord to be the firstfruits of a new world: reminding people of what human life was intended to be in Eden before the fall; and looking forward to what human life shall be like when Christ comes, when the curse is removed, and when earth and heaven are renewed.
"The purpose of obeying the law is not to achieve salvation, nor to inherit eternal life, but to express one’s love and gratitude to the Lord because of the salvation he has already given to his people.
"As persons made in the image of God, we were designed to walk in his ways, for this is precisely the life he created us for: to be like him.
"...the law was never given as a way to earn fellowship with God. It was given to those aware of their constant need for mercy and pardon. It was given to those who lived in the Lord’s grace, to those whose trust is his steadfast love, to those who walk in the light of his faithfulness to his covenant promises.
"Try to imagine a life in which every thought, every word, every motive, every act, every facial expression and the emotion behind it is perfectly in obedience to the Father’s command. Our lives are so very different from this. But this is the life that Jesus lived, the life he lived in our place. This is the life with which we are credited by our heavenly Father when we put our hope in Jesus. This is the life that does not discourage us or threaten us in any way, for his life has been accounted to us.

"God desires that we love his law and submit ourselves to what he says. He does not want us replacing his prescription for our lives with our own. In the end such an approach is arrogant and presumptuous, for we imagine that we know better how to serve God than he knows. Let us determine to be content with his commandments!

"God’s rules are never arbitrary or merely for the purpose of displaying his authority over us. They are always for bringing the good life into being.
"Fundamentally, legalism is worldly, though it claims to be true religion.
"Basically—and I write this as respectfully as I can—all the religions of this world are forms of works-righteousness, systems of human effort devised to search for and to please God. But Christians are to make known the one message that is different, the message that alone can save and transform. Christ did not come to bring religious devotion or spiritual discipline or even an ethical code (though a life of devotion and moral beauty will come as fruits of knowing him). Rather, Jesus came to substitute his moral perfection for our moral failures and to bear our deserved penalty by his death on our behalf. Life, godliness, spirituality, and goodness come to us only as we hold out to him the empty hands of faith and as we begin to love him in response to his love for us."  

~ Jerram Barrs, Delighting in the Law of the Lord (Crossway, 2013)


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