Uses of the Law: Make Known the Character of God (5)
T. M. Moore
And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. Genesis 1.31
The very meaning of “good” inheres in the character of God. Repeatedly, in Genesis 1, God paused to reflect on His work of creation, declaring it, at each stage, “good,” and, when complete, “very good.” God was saying that the creation reflected His intentions and fulfilled His pleasure. It was good, like He is good. God did not require His creation in order to be satisfied with goodness; He is sufficiently good in and unto Himself. His desire is to share His goodness with His creatures, that they may know the joy that He knows within Himself.
His people, however, fallen into sin, are no longer good (Pss. 14, 53). Yet in His Law God revealed that a day was coming when, as He did with His creation, He will rejoice over His people for good (Deut. 30.9, KJV, reflecting the Hebrew), in the day when He circumcises their hearts so that they may obey His holy and righteous and good Law (cf. Jer. 31.31-34; Ezek. 36.26, 27).
God’s intentions for His people are the same as for His creation in the beginning, that they might be good, reflecting His purpose, satisfying His pleasure, and fulfilling their very reason for being (Deut. 6.24). The goodness of God defines His intentions for His creation as well as His will for His people. Goodness thus has not only moral but aesthetical and practical purposes as well.
As the Law explains the protocols for people to relate to one another and the creation, it erects boundaries and provides paths which lead to the realization of God’s goodness, bringing His pleasure and bringing blessings to His people and the creation. God is good, and He desires that we should share in that goodness, which we do as we receive His self-revelation, submit to His sovereignty and love, and walk in fear and love of Him, according to all His Word.
For a practical guide to the role of God’s Law in the life of faith, get The Ground for Christian Ethics by going to www.ailbe.org and click on our Book Store.