Foundations for a Christian Worldview: Spiritual and Religious (7)
“Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all my commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever!” Deuteronomy 5.29
God of the Law
In our next installment in this series on Foundations for a Christian Worldview, we will begin to unpack more of the details of the spiritual and religious worldview God has embedded in His Law. Following the framework we have outlined thus far, we will look first at the worldview vision which emerges in the Law of God. That vision focuses supremely on God Himself. The Law of God points us to God, reveals the character of God, explains His will, celebrates His grace and greatness, and calls us to enter His life of truth and goodness through the obedience of faith.
In His Law, God is revealed as the Creator and Ruler of the world, and the Giver of life, the good and true life which He intends for all creation. The initial words of Scripture, “In the beginning, God…” are the first words and orienting words of our Christian worldview.
And they are the first and orienting words of the Law of God as well. The Law of God bears witness above all to the God of the Law. As we begin to explore His Law, we will be continually reminded of Him Who is our source, purpose, substance, means, and hope.
Since we expect God’s Law to point us continually to Him – Who is gracious, generous, patient, tenderhearted, redeeming, and empowering – why should we doubt that immersing ourselves in His Law would be anything other than what He intends for us, to fill our lives with His truth and goodness? We must pray that God will give us a heart for Him and for all His Law, so that it may be well with us as we take up the worldview He reveals there.
Misreading the Law
Believers who are squeamish about the Law of God tend to see the Law as oppressive, merely external, and a hindrance to Christian joy. They regard keeping the Law as a trap or snare, a bridge-out approach to being saved that can only frustrate and defeat us, not to mention show us to be at odds with the temper of the times. The world is out of step with God’s Law. That much seems plain. Can we thus expect to win the world to our view of life and the world by demanding that they perform a complete volte faceand begin living in a way other than what they have come to prefer? Do we not further alienate ourselves from our neighbors by clinging to a moral code that indicts them and their own worldview in so many ways?
Yet the issue in looking to the Law of God as the starting-point for our worldview is not whether it is comfortable or convenient for us to do so, but whether that Law and worldview are what God describes as true and good.
Which they are, because He is, Who gave us that Law and worldview. By looking to God, setting our hearts on Him, growing in fear of and love for Him, and discovering His faithfulness and lovingkindness at every turn, we will learn to trust His Law.
Let us therefore read the Law for what it tells us about God, and not for what it reveals about how out-of-step we may be with the world spirit of our times. God alone can provide the corrective we and our world need to be delivered from fear to trust, turmoil to peace, wastefulness to flourishing, and selfishness to love. And though He is high and exalted and full of holiness and unfathomable power and might, yet we may know and love and serve Him, as we take up the life and world view to which He calls us, and which He has prepared for us, beginning in His Law.
God holds out the blessings of His Law as attainable for all who keep them, “that it might be well with them and with their children forever” (Deut. 5.29). Unless we believe that God delights in taunting or lying to us, we must embrace with joy the good He promises to those who keep His covenant, that we can actually know it, now and forever.
But obedience to God’s Law, and the realization of all it promises, begins in the heart. Unless God works in our hearts, to cut away the heart of stone and give us a heart of new flesh, we can never realize the full benefits of the Biblical worldview of His Law (cf. Deut. 30.1-10; Ezek. 36.26, 27). Unless God “enlarges” our heart – increases our love for Him and His Word – we shall have no inclination or ability to do what is pleasing to Him and beneficial for ourselves (Ps. 119.32; Phil. 2.13). And if we have no heart for God’s Law, then we do not have His Spirit (Rom. 8.5-9), and not having His Spirit, we have no true and eternal life in Him (Jn. 6.63).
Living within the blessed worldview outlined in God’s Law is thus, first of all, a matter of what we most earnestly desire. If we do not love God supremely, love Jesus and His Spirit above everything else, and His Law as His gift of love to us, then we will only delude ourselves by thinking that we can know His blessings by any other means. No amount of participation in Christian worship, church programs and ministries, daily devotions, or fellowship with other believers will yield the full blessings which obedience to His Law, from the heart, holds in store.
Jesus is the key. He came from beyond our time, by the grace of God, to redeem us and bind us back to God, give us a new heart, indwell us by His Spirit, teach us all His truth, and make us willing and able to do what pleases God. Through Him, through His righteousness and work within us, we may expect to know ever-increasing measures of full and abundant life, covenant blessings, and greatness in His Kingdom, as we learn, practice, and encourage one another in the Law of God (Matt. 5.17-19; Heb. 10.24).
Gaining the benefit of the Biblical worldview, which begins to be revealed in God’s Law, thus depends supremely on knowing, seeking, and following Jesus Christ. His true disciples will, in His power, walk the path of obedience to God’s Law which He Himself walked (1 Jn. 2.1-6).
Questions for reflection
1. Why is it important that we keep God as the focus of our Christian worldview?
2. Meditate on the first four of the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20.1-11). What do we learn from just this much of God’s Law about the God Who gives us His Law?
3. God gave the Law. Jesus lived, taught, and commended it (Matt. 5.17-19; 22.34-40). The Holy Spirit teaches the Law and brings our thinking into submission to it (Ezek. 36.26, 27; Rom. 8.5-8). What shall we say about those who insist that the Law of God is no longer relevant to our lives as Christians?
Next steps – Preparation: Meditate on the fifth through the tenth Commandments (Ex. 20.12-17). What do you learn about God from these?
T. M. Moore
The Christian worldview focuses on Jesus. Do you know Him? Our book, To Know Him, can help you answer that question confidently, and equip you to tell others about Jesus as well. Order your copy by clicking here. For a handy compendium of the laws, statutes, and precepts contained in the Law of God, grouped according to the Ten Commandments, order our book, The Law of God, by clicking here.
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission.