What is the Importance of Biblical Law?

As some of you may know from following me on social media, I have been reading the Bible chronologically since July. As of this week, I have finished the first five books (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) as well as Job! I have now finished the Torah, or the books of the Law (those first five books), which aren’t always the most exciting to read; however, I learned a lot.

•••

I have read Genesis and Exodus before, but God’s Word is alive and speaks to our hearts. I took away things I didn’t get the other times I have read those books. The latter books of the Torah – the books that really dig deep into the law – were foreign territory .

Since beginning a relationship with Jesus, the Law has always been a perplexing concept. If Jesus came and died for our salvation, what is the importance of the Law? I have struggled with this question for six years. It’s part of the reason that I never read past Exodus in the books of the Law up until recently.

I still have questions and there are still things that I do not understand, but during my journey through these books, I have learned why, as Christ followers, it is important to read the Law:

  1. The Law reveals to us what is important to God’s heart.
    • For example, there are severe consequences for idolatry. This reveals to us that this matter is important to God. Exodus 34:14 tells us that God is a jealous God. He is our Creator and our Father. Just as an earthly father desires a relationship with his children, our heavenly Father desires a relationship with us.
  2. The Law shows us that we are not good enough by ourselves.
    • The Israelites were given the Law and they struggled immensely with living by it. God knew that it would be that way – that’s why He gave them the regulations for sin and guilt offerings. There are 613 laws in the Old Testament – that’s a lot to remember! The Law points out our inadequacy and our need for a Savior.
  3. The Law shows us the importance of Christ.
    • When Matthew 5:17 says that Christ came to fulfill the Law, that means when God looks at someone who has been covered by the blood of Christ, He sees a check mark next to each law. I have read this verse of Scripture several times, but never truly understood the meaning until recently. Jesus does not make the Law irrelevant, He makes it complete. 

•••

Having a personal relationship with the Creator without being bound to the Law is amazing. Jesus is our mediator, our sin sacrifice, our fulfillment of the Law. This is the best news!

The Law is not pointless, it’s just no longer the way to reach God. Jesus is the link to our Father – the only link. When we believe Him and accept Him, He meets the requirements for us, and we are blameless before the Father. As a follower of Christ don’t skip over the Law, but let it remind you of the beautiful sacrifice of our Savior.

Reading through the books of the Law has humbled me greatly. I expected to be utterly bored, but this process has strengthened my relationship with Christ in ways that I never thought it would.

Photo Credit: Ben White

I Don’t Need to be Right

At this point my husband and I have been married for five months, and as of this week, we’ve been together for two years!

yay.humility.blog

Our relationship has had its ups and downs as all relationships do, and we’ve matured so much since the beginning of our relationship. Where we are now is so much more beautiful than I could have dreamed – getting here has been a lot harder than I thought it would have been, too. You always hear that marriage is harder than you think it will be, and I believe that that is absolutely true (I also believe it can be more wonderful than you ever thought, too). The hardest thing in our relationship for me – other than getting over fears resulting from past relationships (more about that in Toxic) – has been dealing with my pride.

Humility can be an issue in a relationship at any point, but you don’t realize how prideful you can really be until you share everything with someone: bank accounts, food, a bathroom. All of a sudden you realize how much you like things to be done your way and your way only. You realize how much you truly value your own opinion. You may also realize how dangerous this is to your marriage.

I think Francis Chan says it well in You and Me Forever:

“[Jesus’] humility is the key to a healthy marriage. If two people make it their goal to imitate the humility of Christ, everything else will take care of itself. It really is that simple. Arguments escalate when we want to be right more than we want to be Christ. […] You must determine your goal. What matters most: winning arguments or resembling Christ?” (Emphasis added).

It is easy to argue that you’re right and not so easy to stop and listen to someone else’s opinion. It is easy to to want things to be convenient and in our own best interest, but not so easy to take into consideration someone else’s thoughts and feelings. It is easy to be selfish, but not so easy to be selfless. But who said life was going to be easy?

It doesn’t help that we live in a world that preaches self-preservation, a message that is quite contradictory to the Gospel and the teachings about servant-hood that come from the Ultimate Servant. It can be so easy to slip into self-preservation mode, trying to protect my way of doing things or to slip into the “wife is always right” way of thinking and discount my husband’s opinion. But I don’t want to be that kind of person. I want to listen to my husband’s side of the story and see things through his eyes. I want to listen to his opinions, thoughts, dreams, and ideas even if they don’t mesh perfectly with mine. I want to put his needs before my own. I want to love him selflessly. I want him to see a mirror of our Savior’s love when he sees how I love him.  I don’t need to be right all the time.

And you know what? It’s hard, yet I have hope. I have hope because Scripture says we are not obligated to live according to the flesh (Romans 8:12). I am a new Creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). I now walk by the Spirit, and the mindset of the Spirit is life and peace (Romans 8:6). The stronger my relationship with Christ becomes, the more I have the mindset of the Spirit and the more I look like Christ.

I deeply desire Christ-likeness in all aspects of my life, and I love seeing the fruit of my relationship with Him in my marriage. I want to shower my husband with the love of his Savior rather than telling him how little he matters to me when I act in prideful ways (because if we’re honest that is what pride does).

I am far from perfect – my husband sure knows that – but I desire to cultivate an environment of humility in my marriage. Every time I choose to listen instead of interrupt, every time I choose not to say hurtful things out of spite, every time I choose to build him up instead of myself, these are victories. They are strengthening my marriage. They are acts of love.

•••

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 Corinthians 13 4-7

Photo Credit:  Ben White