Sunday, October 14, 2007

Eyes on Jesus please.

The law of God, the most salutary doctrine of life, cannot advance man on his way to righteousness but rather hinders him. Much less can human works, which are done over and over again with the aid of natural precepts, so to speak, lead to that end. The Heidelberg Disputation of Martin Luther, May 1518.

The other evening in conversation with some friends and acquaintances the subject of obedience to the law of God came up. Many in attendance to this discussion were of the mindset that a Christian has the ability to obey the law of God. Part of this is of course due to the old nature, the inner brat, in all of us who at all times overestimates our holiness. The real culprit in this circumstance is the lack of laying the law down in all its severity. Much of modern preaching no longer or very seldom is centered on Jesus crucified for sinners who by nature are guilty of breaking the entire law of God. What will take place rather are recipes for being a better person.

Matthew 5:17 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. ESV

Certainly one should always attempt to live according to what would please his or her heavenly Father but at the same time remain in sorrow and true repentance for not doing so completely. The above section Jesus speaks of the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees and ours must be greater than theirs to enter heaven. Many have looked upon that as saying those men were sinners in the sight of society. On the contrary. Their entire life was given over to law keeping and observing. But the law they were on about keeping was diminished in such a way that it appeared they were keeping it. In addition they would teach the law to the people so it appeared they were keeping it as well.

The same thing happens today in far too many Christian churches. The pastor will instead of show we have no possibility of keeping the law will adjust it so that it appears we do. This is very popular for it strokes the ego of the listener. However, it is a very short lived good feeling if that person is in the habit of prayerful study of God’s word. It does not take much meditation on the law of God to see where one falls short. This will lead to being crushed in spirit and raise much doubt as to even being Christian.

This is the result of Jesus’ finished work for us in His perfect life, death, burial and resurrection not being central to the sermons preached into the ears of sinners. So in this day many will say that Christians need to move on to bigger and better things than that. Lord have mercy! What is bigger and better than God doing all this for us? True maturity in the Christian life one will see how short one falls from achieving law obeying and will instead keep looking to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith..

God’s peace. †


L P Cruz said...

Superb title!

The Luther quote showed why he was controversial, to say something like that in his day was really to shock and awe.


David said...


Yes our good Dr Luther could definately turn a phrase to make a point.

Thank you for you kind words on the title. Jesus is the only place to look in faith.

All glory and praise are His! †