You live in a community that has a set of laws. These laws are good, helping to keep the peace and ensure that your liberties are not infringed upon by others (and that you can't infringe on the liberties of others).
Do you have to keep those laws? You do if you want to stay out of jail.
Now, imagine a police officer pulls you over for speeding. You give him a good excuse, and maybe he's moved by the tears in your eyes. You are guilty of breaking the law, but after a short conversation, he decides to be merciful and lets you off with a warning. Are you going to squeal your tires and speed away? Of course not!
God also has a community. It's a little bigger than the one you live in now, encompassing the entire universe. God's law is also good (Romans 7:12), designed to keep the peace and ensure your God-given rights are not infringed by others (and that you don't infringe on the God-given rights of others).
Do you have to keep God's laws? You do if you want to stay out of hell.
Now, you've been pulled over. This time it wasn't a police officer that pulled you over. It was God Himself. You are guilty of breaking God's law. And before you could say anything, He said, “I have forgiven you. Jesus has already paid for your law-breaking. Go, and keep my laws from now on.” Are you now going to flaunt God's mercy?
This is not legalism. Legalism says, “If you keep the law, you are saved.” But God says, “Because you are saved, keep the law.”
Do you see the difference?
Your righteous works are like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). That means that you've already broken the law and nothing you can do will save you from death. You could start keeping the law perfectly right this instant and for the rest of your life, but you still wouldn't be worthy of living because of the sins of your past. In order to escape that death, God has to give it to you as a gift. He can do that only because Jesus paid the price for your sins.
So, you don't keep the law to save yourself; you keep the law because you've already been saved. You keep the law as a loving response to God's mercy.
Jesus says, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” That is, keep the law.
God asks us to keep His law so that nobody gets hurt. Imagine, if everybody kept God's perfect law (James 1:25), there would be no wars, no hunger, no child abuse.
Do you think it's possible to keep God's law?By CK Lester
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