What is the Bible to you? What is the law of God to you when you read it? This morning I was very much helped to realize that what the Bible is to us depends on our attitude toward the Bible. Putting aside “coming to the Bible out of curiosity”, we have two main attitudes toward the Bible: we can come to the Bible to gain knowledge / care for the commandments in letters OR we can come to the Bible as the word breathed out by the God whom we love. The Bible can be the killing letter to us or it can be the living and supplying word of God as God’s breath of life to us. Lord, may Your word be living and life-giving to us!
a killing law or a life-giving law
“… for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (2 Cor. 3:6). Whether the law is “a killing law” or “a life-giving law” to us depends on our attitude in coming to the law of God. If we care only of the law in commandments, trying to fulfill it and apply it in our living, the law of God becomes the killing letter to us – we CANNOT fulfill the law of God! But if we take every part of the law and every word of the law of God as the breath of God, the word breathed out by the God whom we love and we enjoy, the law is life-giving to us as the Spirit. We can either be fed by reading the law of God or we can be trembling before its requirements.
The psalmist in Psalm 119 loved the law of God – he loved all the commandments, ordinances, statutes, precepts, and even judgements. He discovered that the law of God is the word of the God whom he loved, and he treasured spending time with God and reading His Word. On the other hand, for many people – believers included – the law of God is mainly commandments, judgements, precepts, ordinances, and laws to be kept, and it does not bring joy to their life. We need to pray that we would have a proper attitude toward the law of God and the Word of God, so that the law may be living and the Word of God may be life-giving to us!
our sin is exposed and we are led to Christ
The law has two aspects – being either the killing law or the life-giving law – and the function of the law also has two aspects, the negative aspect and the positive aspect. In its negative aspect as God’s commandments, the law exposes man’s sin (see Rom. 7:7; 3:20; 5:20; 4:15). We may think we CAN fulfill the law, but as we try to do so, our shortcomings, defects, dishonesty, and unfaithfulness are being exposed. We are not faithful to God but we may have other idols. We do not rest as God desires to do but we do our own things on the day ordained by God to rest. We covet other people’s things. All the commandments in the law expose us to the uttermost.
Also, the law functions as a “child-conductor” to preserve us, guard us, and lead us to Christ (see Gal. 3:23-24). The statutes, ordinances, and rituals of the law function to guard the people of God in its custody until they are led to Christ – just as the sheep are kept in a sheepfold until the Shepherd comes to bring them out to the pasture (see John 10). Christ is the Shepherd and He is also the door of the sheepfold – He uses the law to guard us and lead us to Himself! Therefore, the law exposes us of our sins and shortcomings, and the law guards us as God’s people until Christ comes.
the positive functions of the law
On the positive side, there are so many functions of the law which operate in us when we come to the law of God / the Word of God with a proper attitude! The law is God’s living testimony, functioning to minister the living God into His loving seekers (see Psa. 119:2, 88). If we realize that the law is the word breathed out by God, then to us the law will be the living and loving word of God – and we will love the Word of God! Whenever we come to the Bible we will sense that we are with God and we have His living essence being infused into us. When we read the Bible, we will touch God and we will realize it is worthwhile to seek Him and love Him!
We need to have a change in concept – we need a change in our view of the law of God. We need to regard the law as the living word of God which contains the life of God to be dispensed into us! When we come to the Word of God we need to come to seek God and love God, being open to Him so that we would receive His dispensing. If we have such an attitude, the Word of God will function to impart life into us and shine light in our being! The Word of God gives us light and life (see Psa. 119:25, 50, 107, 154), it quickens us and enlivens us so that we would live by every word coming out through the mouth of God – we live by God Himself!
Lord Jesus, grant us to have a change in our concept and a change in our view of the Bible! Lord, change our attitude in coming to the law and to the word of God. We want to be Your loving seekers, coming to the Word of God to be infused with You afresh. May we be open to You and seeking You to receive Your word into us as the breath of God containing the element of God. Oh, Lord, save us from being letter keepers – make us loving seekers!
References and Further Reading
- Sharing inspired from Life-study of the Psalms (msg. 40), and the Life-study of Exodus (msg. 58), as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on the Crystallization-Study of Psalms (2), week 20 – become a fan on Facebook for more updates;
- Recommended reading: Christ is the reality of the law to infuse His living substance into His loving seekers! Also: How Sweet!
- Buy the Morning Revival on Psalms (Crystallization-Study, part 2, vol 2) online;
- Hymns on this topic:
# All Scripture is God-breathed / And profitable for teaching, / For reproof, for correction, …
# The Bible is God’s breath; the essence of His Person. / God’s speaking out through man; borne by the Holy Spirit.
# God’s own Word must not be taken / Just as knowledge but as life, / Not alone God’s thought conveying, / But Himself to us as life;
- Picture source: the law of God (the ten commandments).