A Litany of Law

The Word speaks for itself.

Holy, Righteous, and Good (2)

The voice said, “Cry out!”
And he said, “What shall I cry?”
“All flesh
is grass,
And all its loveliness
is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
Because the breath of the L
ORD blows upon it;
Surely the people
are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
But the word of our God stands forever.”
Isaiah 40.6-8

The purpose of the Law
God gave His Law to His people to lead them in the paths of holiness and life, and to lead them in the ways of love – not to save them, because we are already saved who believe in Jesus.

“See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the LORD your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess. But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them, I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go in and possess. I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the LORDyour God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.” Deuteronomy 30.15-20

“You shall observe My judgments and keep My ordinances, to walk in them: I am the LORD your God. You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, which if a man does, he shall live by them: I am the LORD.” Leviticus 18.4, 5

The response of the faithful believer:
With my whole heart I have sought You;
Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Psalm 119.10

The Lord Jesus and the Law
Jesus fulfilled the Law and loved His disciples in so doing. He commands us to follow Him.

“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.” Matthew 5.17, 18

The response of the faithful believer:
Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. 1 John 5.3-6

The Holy Spirit and the Law
The Holy Spirit dwells in believers with the primary purpose of teaching and empowering them to learn and obey the Law.

And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live. Deuteronomy 30.6

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.” Ezekiel 36.26, 27

For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. Romans 8.6-8

The response of the faithful believer:
My lips shall utter praise,
For You teach me Your statutes. Psalm 119.171

The nature and power of the Law
The Law is the perfect and complete, eternal and unfailing counsel of God concerning life and blessedness.

The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul;
The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;
The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;
The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
Yea, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
Moreover by them Your servant is warned,
And in keeping them there is great reward. Psalm 119.7-11

Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22.27-40

By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. 1 John 5.2, 3

What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” Romans 7.7

Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good. Romans 7.12

The response of the faithful believer:
So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. James 2.12

“If you love Me, keep My commandments.” John 14.15

Law and the life of faith
As is evident from all these texts, and as Paul affirms, the Law has a vital place in the life of faith.

Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law. Romans 3.31

The response of the faithful believer:
Oh, how I love Your law!
It is my meditation all the day. Psalm 119.97

Warnings and promises concerning the Law
We must not fail to seek and lay hold of the promises attached to God’s Law.

Those who forsake the law praise the wicked,
But such as keep the law contend with them. Proverbs 28.4

One who turns away his ear from hearing the law,
Even his prayer is an abomination. Proverbs 28.9

“Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5.19

The response of the faithful believer:
I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes
Forever, to the very end. Psalm 119.112

For reflection
1.  How would you summarize the teaching of all the verses in this litany?

2.  What is the role of the Law in doing good works for the glory of God?

3.  Why must we not be negligent when it comes to learning, obeying, and teaching the Law of God?

Next steps – Transformation: Praise God for His Law. Ask Him to show you increasingly, day by day, the beauty and power of His Law for leading you into the freedom and abundant life that is ours in Jesus Christ.

T. M. Moore

For additional insight to the contemporary relevance of God’s Law, download the three studies in our Scriptorium series, “The Law of God: Miscellanies” 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. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore