Honoring God’s Laws

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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"So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven."

Matthew 5:19

Christians often fall into two different extremes when it comes to matters of right and wrong. On the one hand, some lean toward legalism, implying or even teaching that we need to keep the law in order to earn God's favor. On the other hand, some Christians fall into antinomianism, believing that it doesn't really matter what we do, since we're forgiven through Christ no matter what.

Both of these views miss the heart of the Christian vision of right and wrong. We are saved "by grace through faith" and not by anything we do (Eph. 2:8-9). No amount of good-deed-doing will earn God's grace, since grace is given freely. Yet as people saved by grace, we are also called to a life of good works (Eph. 2:10). We do what's right and avoid what's wrong, not in order to earn God's favor, but in response to that favor already given to us in Christ.

Christians believe that the moral law revealed in the Old Testament continues to guide us. It's still right to honor our parents, to be faithful to our spouses, and to avoid lying and stealing. In fact, the Spirit of God helps us to discern what is right and do it. When we honor God's timeless laws, we honor God.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Have there been times in your life when you've leaned toward legalism? Toward antinomianism? How would you describe your attitude toward God's law today?

PRAYER: Gracious Lord, it sometimes gets confusing for us to sort out how we're to think about your law. Some passages seem to suggest that the relevance of the law has ended. Other texts, like the one we have read today, underscore the ongoing value of the law. Help us to think rightly about your law so that we might honor you in our lives.

One thing is clear: you care about how we live. You want us to do what is right and to avoid what is wrong. You give us your Word, including the law, to guide us. You give us your Spirit to help us know what's right and do it. Even as we seek to avoid legalism, may we never live or speak as if right and wrong really don't matter to you.

Help us, Lord, to live each moment for your glory. Help us to do that which you desire, and to avoid that which you forbid. May we live out our salvation with faithfulness and joy. Amen.