Law vs. Love?

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There is a common misunderstanding among Christians today who think that somehow the Law of God is cold, impersonal and opposed to the loving heart of God. But rightly understood, the two are simply different sides of the same coin: God’s loving will for his people.

When God rejects Saul as king over Israel, Samuel says to Saul: “But now your kingdom shall not continue. The LORD has sought out a man after his own heart, and the LORD has commanded him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you.” (1 Samuel 13:14)

Note what the Lord looks for in a man and why he rejects Saul. 1) God wants a man after his own heart. 2) God commands that kind of man to be prince over his people. 3) God rejects Saul because Saul would not keep his commands.

We must come to understand that the commandments of the Lord are not cold, hard, disembodied statutes, but rather they are the living breathing expression of the heart of God for his people. Certainly they are rules in the common sense of the word, but they are so much more. They are the heart-cry of a God who loves and longs for his people’s joy, redemption, and holiness. They are an expression of the hope of God for the future of his people.

A human father longs for his children to succeed and walk in uprightness and so governs their activity with household rules, such as: no staying out past curfew, studying comes before sports, no drinking and driving. Our earthly fathers speak their rules from their heart of love for us, knowing that their rules, their laws, as it were, mark out a path that will lead us to the good life.

So too our heavenly Father has outlined the path for his people to walk safely, successfully into the future he desires for us. He guides us in his will, his desire, his passion, his way—through his commandments. We ignore them at our peril—we violate them to our own destruction.

In regards to a king to rule his people, God searches for someone other than Saul, someone who will get it. Someone who understands, from the inside out, the very nature of the commandments: the Law of God is the heart of God, the “perfect law that gives freedom.” Therefore, God looks for someone whose heart is like the Lord’s heart, someone who will run in the path of his commands, who will keep his commands, guarding, with their very life, the will, the heart, the Word, the Commandments of the Lord. Such a man as that, God does not ask, but commands—for so he expresses his heart’s desire—to lead his people.

Such a man as that we have as our King forever: “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.” (Matthew 5:17) As we follow Jesus, whose very life is the fulfillment of the Law of God, we walk as he walked, delighting in the Law, the Love, the Heart of God.

Author: Rev. Dr. Tom Hawkes
Image: Found here

Comments

  1. Chuck Macurda says:

    Tom, such a good word here. Thank you for this post. I feel for me at least, it takes constant reminders to walk the delicate balance of law and love, always learning and relearning biblical truths.

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