Impossible Commands Part 3

So if we can’t do the commands of God, why does He keep commanding us to do stuff? This is an important question.

First, no command can save. “If there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.” No flesh has ever been justified by doing commandments.

If this is not understood much error ensues. Not anyone has ever or can ever be saved by doing the Law. Even guys under the Law were saved by faith.

Second, commandments were given to point out what sin is, to reveal the righteousness of God, to keep every mouth quiet in guilt, to help keep humans humble and dependent on the gracious salvation of Jesus Christ.

Third, people are stupid. People miss the point of the law and try to use it as a means to achieve their own righteousness. This will not do.

Fourth, God is not stupid. He’s smart enough to know that man will try to kill himself because that’s what man’s been trying to do since creation. Therefore, God gives commands to help people live. But what was given to help keep people alive, stupid people find to be a means of death. It merely tempts our self-destructive nature.

Fifth, as long as people are in this fallen world they will persist in being stupid, God will persist in being wise. He will persist in telling us to avoid the death traps of sin.

Sixth, God knows our stupidity to the degree that He just went ahead and accomplished everything for our salvation. He even did this before the foundation of the world, which is why the Gospel is eternal.

Seventh, God knows our stupidity so much that He knew the only answer is for us to be made new creations, to be made perfect in Christ. To make us to be the fulfillment of the righteousness of the law.

Eighth, oh but we have amazing powers of stupidity. We retain the characteristics of the old man that was crucified with Christ. We continue to revert to stupidity. But God hasn’t just told us stuff; He’s made us the fulfillment of what He has told us. We are to do what we have been made.

Ninth, oh but that stupidity remains. We forget. We lapse and relapse. We go back to eating our vomit. So God, even apart from the law, continues to tell us what life in Christ looks like.

Tenth, Christianity is not about being and not doing. Christianity is about doing what we be. We forget what we be, so He tells us over and over and over what we be and what that means for what we do.

11 thoughts on “Impossible Commands Part 3”

  1. Nice one!

    God is the Good Shepherd.

    He does use His law to keep us away from the wolves and as a means for us to see just how much we need a Savior.

  2. Luke 24:44 He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
    So then the law still has the power to condemn those who are outside the One who fulfilled the law. We should preach the law, to show men their need for the One who fulfilled the law. Most preachers now-a-days don’t use the power of the law to condemn dying people. They want to preach only the mercy and grace of God, but that’s only one dimension of His character. The law is not user friendly to those who are outside of Christ. We must be convicted before we can repent.

  3. The law is not user friendly…period.

    It is demand. It kills, St. Paul reminds us.

    No one will be justified in the sight of it.

    But it does have it’s purposes, and it does drive us to Christ.

    Thanks be to God for His Holy and Righteous Law!

  4. Perhaps the law isn’t user friendly, but the law is good. We are the bad guys in this, not God’s law. The law was given to lead us away from death, but as we know, it didn’t have the power to prevent it.

  5. St. Paul calls the Law “the dispensation of death” (2nd Corinthians 3:7)

    So, the Lord uses the Law to kill off our Old Adam, again and again and again…even as he renews us with His Spitit and life, again and again and again.

    Repentance and forgiveness.

    Dying and rising.

    Law and gospel.

    This is the shape of our Christian walk.

    Thanks, so much.

  6. I guess the Law is “user friendly” if we consider that the user is God Himself and not us! It is achieving all that He wanted/wants/will want from it.

    Hey Jeff … these posts are just getting betteer and better. C’mon over here. It’s a balmy 77F here this winter’s morning.

  7. Hey guys, thanks for your conversation with me and with each other. It’s been fun to think out loud. I will admit, I do like messing with people! Especially if it leads to going to the Word. I imagine I will continue to do so. Thanks for playing along!

  8. Jeff, I continue to be amazed at how God uses you in such unique ways to communicate His will and His word.

    Hey, wait a second. Did you just call me stupid?

  9. There are different roles of the law, but one that I particularly like is the law under the New Covenant. I think it is most vividly expressed in Psalm 119. Here we find the Psalmist exalting the law as practically a saviour! How can that be?

    Ps. 119:20 – My soul is consumed with longing
    for your rules at all times.

    Ps. 119:25 – My soul clings to the dust;
    give me life according to your word!

    Ps. 119:40 – Behold, I long for your precepts;
    in your righteousness give me life!

    Ps. 119:43 – …my hope is in your rules.

    And this one, most audacious of all:

    Ps. 119:93 – I will never forget your precepts,
    for by them you have given me life.

    What?! How can that be? Doesn’t Paul say that the law can’t give life? (Gal. 3:21)

    Certainly, as a code written on stone, it cannot give life. But as a genetic code written on the seed of Christ, which is planted within us, there is life in that law.

    But the Psalmist continues, in the language of heaven…or are these the words of a self-righteous perfectionist?

    Ps. 119:44 – I will keep your law continually,
    forever and ever.

    Ps. 119:56 – This blessing has fallen to me,
    that I have kept your precepts.

    It is apparent that this man found that which Paul later wrote of in Romans 8, “the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit…To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.”

    The mind set on the flesh “does not” and “cannot” submit to God’s law. But the mind that is set on the Spirit does submit to God’s law…it now finds the law to be all full of promise and power.

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