High Law … High Grace … High Worship
by Joseph Franks
The Law comes from our good God.
The Law comes as a good gift from our good God.
The Law is a good presentation of God’s standard of goodness. It tell us that which is really good in the sight of God.
The Law is a good magnifier of our non-goodness. It does a very good job of showing us the thousands of ways we fall short of God’s expectations regarding our conduct and character.
Yes, the Law is good, but it is not good at everything. The Law is not good at inspiring and transforming our souls. It can scare us to death. It can promise damnation, punishment, discipline, and poor consequences. The result can be short-lived conformity out of a sense of self-preservation, love of reputation, and self-worship. Yes, the Law can result in external conformity and obedience, but it cannot change our insides. The Law cannot adjust our heart; it cannot transform our character. And any serious student of God’s Law understands that perfect, lawful, acceptable obedience requires both the right external action with the the right internal character. Consequently, when we realize the Law is not boosting our spiritual ego but exposing our sin, we find ourselves continually tempted to deny God’s Law in its entirety or minimize it by cutting it down to size. Therefore, in denying God’s Law, we sin further. The same is true when we minimize God’s Law and lower the bar, in order to reach the bar, in order to view ourselves as Law-keepers. Yes, the Law is good, but it cannot perform good work within our chests.
So, is there any rescue from God’s good Law that persistently exposes our non-good being and behavior? Thanks be to God for the Gospel!
Jesus, the Law-giver, became the Law-keepr, all while being the Law-teacher. He condemned those who kept not the Law. He condemned those who denied the Law. He condemned those who minimized the Law. The Son of God had not a low view of God’s Law, but he maintained and expressed the highest view of God’s Law to date. Jesus took his Law-keeping seriously; he kept it all, one-hundred percent, internally and externally. Without exception, he maintained the right character and conduct. In all times and in all places, Jesus was thoroughly righteous in being and behavior, in attitudes and actions. But when the time was right, when the day of atonement was at hand, Jesus was slaughtered by the Father as one who was a Law-breaker. He was crucified for our transgressions. And before he breathed his final breath, he pronounced to all listening, “It is finished!” He lied not. He did not oversell. Jesus satisfied all the Father’s demands for all the Father’s children. He did not come to earth to give men a divine boost. He did not come to earth to give men a second-chance. He came to earth to be men’s substitute. Or as one former famous minister wrote:
Jesus met all of God’s holy conditions so that our relationship with God could be wholly unconditional. The demand maker became a demand keeper and died for me — a demand breaker.
On the third day he rose from the grave, and from that point on he has been presenting to the world his all-sufficient satisfaction and substitution. This is the glorious news of the Gospel. Because of Jesus, we are declared to be saints. Because of Jesus, we are declared to be righteous. Because of Jesus, we are being remade into his glorious image. His work of justification is finished; he is now finishing his work of sanctification and glorification.
And now, Christians are enabled to say, “O how I love God’s Law!” The Law in the eyes of the saint is not bad news. Oh, it still does not have the power to change and transform, but it does have the power to direct, describe, and assist in doxology.
God’s Law directs us regarding the path we should take. It shows us how Jesus thinks, talks, and transacts business. It remains the good model of righteous character, conversation, and conduct.
God’s Law describes that which we are declared to be and are becoming. It is the Architect’s blueprint of his finished work. As the saint reads God’s good Law, he sees the good end of God’s good work.
God’s Law assists in doxology — worship. It reminds of of our sin. It reminds us of our Savior. It further reminds us of our glorified state. Yes, a good and high view of God’s Law, leads to a good and high view of God’s grace, and this results in a good and high view of worship. As we understand both Law and grace, we find ourselves motivated by the Spirit to confess, thank, adore, supplicate, and obey.
* One Way Love, Tullian Tchividijian, 94