Thursday, April 25, 2013

Over all of life

Several months ago in a phone conversation, I overheard my husband, Shane discussing the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer, especially in light of obedience to the Word of God. The issue at hand was the role of the Law of God in the life of the believer.

He pointed out that the Holy Spirit uses the same Law, found throughout the whole of Scripture but having its foundation in the Pentateuch, to instruct and guide the Christian. His words struck me with regards to the unity of the Trinity in this area. The Holy Spirit does not instruct and guide "New Testament" Christians by another set of Laws or Commandments found exclusively in the New Testament that He individualizes for each believer and their situation.  Instead, He enables each of us together, to obey the Law of God by fully implementing His commands as we were intended before the Fall, knowing that Christ fully and perfectly kept the Law of God on our behalf.  This unity in the Trinity as I called it, is seen by God, as the Giver of the Law, Jesus Christ, as the Fulfiller of the Law and the Holy Spirit, as the Counselor of the Law. (See Matthew 15:3-6, John 14:24; Matthew 5:17-19; John 14:15-17,26)  Of course, we do not become lawkeepers to secure our own salvation, instead our lawkeeping-obedience flows from a heart of thankful submission and is empowered by the Holy Spirit to produce godliness and contentment.

I believe that we can call this process of conforming to the lawkeeping likeness of Christ, sanctification and our obedience to the Word of God is for our good and for the growth of God's Kingdom.  Do you, along with me, long to be more like Christ, more obedient like Christ, more self-sacrificing like Christ, more loving like Christ?  Then along with me, learn to look to the commands of God that He, the Son of God perfectly and fully obeyed, and ask for the Holy Spirit to conform your life in every area to God's righteous demands.

This Christ-imitating concept of lawkeeping is found everywhere in the Bible, here is just one example that I have written about before but I believe bears repeating.

Paul writes to Timothy to continue in his knowledge and understanding of the holy Scriptures, which at this point was speaking about the Old Testament as the New Testament was not yet complete, nor canonized.

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. ~ 2 Timothy 3:14-17

Paul makes the remarkable statement that this Scripture is useful for every area of training in righteousness so that we will be thoroughly equipped for God's work for us.  Whatever work God has given us to do, we are to work at in compliance to His Word.  This means everything from raising a family and discipling children, to borrowing money and owning a home, to providing for animals, to caring for the poor, to voting and civic duties, to running a business, to working for an employer, to good stewardship of the earth, to preaching and appointing elders, to honoring parents and caring for the widows and orphaned and on and on the list can go.  God's Word has sufficient instruction for all these tasks and it is with thankfulness we study and meditate His laws and commands.
Have you ever read the Bible as God covenanting with man?  In the propositional language of His Word, God is making very clear who He is and what He had done, and what He will do if we respond to Him and His Work in His prescribed manner. 
Because God has propositioned man in all of life, to be a Biblical Christian is to be God-centered in both personal and corporate life, consciously and deliberately beginning and ending with God, not with man, in all of life.
However, under the impact of successive worldviews antithetical to Biblical Christianity, many Christians have come to accept a dichotomy of sacred and secular.  That is, they have come to view God as over part of life, but man(or indeed something or someone else) as over the rest of life. Let us stop to consider this.
For the Biblical Christian, God is sovereign. In the final analysis, God is either sovereign or He is not.  Is it possible for God to be partially sovereign?  This is like asking, if you will permit the comparison, "Is it possible for a woman to be partially pregnant?"
If God is sovereign, He is over all of life, including government.  If God is over all of life, everything is under Him and, in that sense, everything is sacred and nothing is secular.  ~Glenn R. Martin, Prevailing Worldviews

I have written about this before if you are interested in further discussion about this often neglected topic:

The Abiding Validity of the Law in the Life of the Believer
Honor upon the Scripture

If you keep the law of God, you are not described in Scripture as a pinched legalist, but rather as *happy* (Prov. 29:18).~ Douglas Wilson, January 24, 2013
Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.~Prov.29:18 KJV