Tuesday, March 19, 2013

March 19 – Deuteronomy 24-27

Below are my thoughts from the daily Bible reading of the West Side Church of Christ. Today’s reading comes from Deuteronomy 24-27. Before reading I invite you to pray and asked God to speak to you as you read his word.

Last night I was lying in bed doing a bunch of reading. When I finished I decided to start looking at today’s Bible reading. As I was reading through it I came across Deuteronomy 25:11-12 and it stopped me in my tracks. If you do not know. the Bible does not hold back in any way. The Bible does not keep details back. If it happened or needs to be said it is said. I do not share this verse to be crass but to set up a discussion my wife and I had.

As Moses continues confirming various Laws that the Israelites are to live be he says in Deuteronomy 25:11-12 …“If two Israelite men get into a fight and the wife of one tries to rescue her husband by grabbing the testicles of the other man, you must cut off her hand. Show her no pity.” (NLT) Wow … can you see why I stopped in my tracks. I have read through here before but this verse did not stand out to me. For whatever reason, last night it did. Maybe it was reading it in the New Living Translation. However, no matter the translation (NIV – Private Parts, NASB – Genitals, KJV – Secret Parts) it still gets to the point. As soon as I read it, I got Crystal’s attention and read it to her. From there a discussion began.

A few jokes were made about the passage and then the heart of the conversation went to the idea of the Laws purpose in our lives today. Growing up I understood the Law to have been abolished because of Jesus death burial and resurrection. I think this understanding comes because of Jesus words in 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.” (NIV) For too many years I held onto the last part to fulfill the Law, and not the beginning part. I completely missed it when Jesus said he did not come to abolish but to fulfill.

So here is what I think this means … No longer does the Law save us. We are saved by our faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We find salvation when we meet Christ in His death in the act of baptism. So what does the Law still do? The Law still teaches us what sin is …

Well then, am I suggesting that the law of God is sinful? Of course not! In fact, it was the law that showed me my sin. I would never have known that coveting is wrong if the law had not said, “You must not covet.” But sin used this command to arouse all kinds of covetous desires within me! If there were no law, sin would not have that power. At one time I lived without understanding the law. But when I learned the command not to covet, for instance, the power of sin came to life, and I died. So I discovered that the law’s commands, which were supposed to bring life, brought spiritual death instead. Sin took advantage of those commands and deceived me; it used the commands to kill me. But still, the law itself is holy, and its commands are holy and right and good. ~ Romans 7:7-12 NLT.

What was sin when the Law was poured out by God is still sin today. Does keeping the Law save us today? No! It never did. The Law was a covenant between God and his people … “Obey the Law, keep my commands and decrees and I will bless all people on earth through you ~ i.e. I will bring salvation to the world in Jesus through you my chosen people.” (Michael Dawson’s own understanding and paraphrase). Were some things specific to the Israelites? Yes! Things like the various sacrifices and offerings … Jesus became the ultimate sacrifice and atonement for sins. Did God himself abolish some? Yes! … He told Peter not to call anything unclean that he has made clean allowing him to eat food he could not before … I am thankful because I love bacon and pork barbeque. But what he called sin is still sin today.

So to wrap it up we are not bound by the Law. The Law does not save us. The Law teaches us what sin is. The commands and instructions are still a good thing for us to know and follow. They teach and instruct us how to live a holy God honoring life. But remember the Law does not save us. It is through faith in Jesus Christ and by the grace of God that we have been saved … “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8 NIV.

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