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A Work of Instruction – Uses of the Law: To Engage God’s Spirit (4)

Thursday, March 31, 2011, 0:01
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A Work of Instruction

Uses of the Law: To Engage God’s Spirit (4)

“And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness…” John 16:8

The Spirit of God is alone able to teach us the things that pertain to salvation: “Spirit of God, my Teacher be!/ Showing the things of Christ to me.” We are not able to understand the Law and Word of God through our own reason alone. While we must apply our reason to the study of God’s Law, we will not be able to understand that Law, or any of God’s Word, until the Spirit convinces us of the way of righteousness revealed there and fits us mind, heart, conscience, and practices to obey.

We who have received the Spirit of God are thus able to understand the things of God as He teaches us (1 Cor. 2:12). But how does He teach us? I will follow the marginal note in the ESV for 1 Corinthians 2:13, because it is the better translation: “And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” The Spirit teaches through faithful instructors who compare the Word of God from various places in order to uncover the light of true understanding.

Now it will be very difficult for us to know the Spirit’s power to teach us if we willfully set aside any aspect of the Word of God. And if there are aspects which are to be regarded with more, shall we say, foundational significance than other parts, then we must give them the higher priority.

The Scriptures teach that we are to meditate on the Law of God day and night (Ps. 1) and that we can only expect to be great in the Kingdom of God as we make the study and teaching of God’s Law foundational to our discipleship (Matt. 5:17-19). The Law is an interpretive touchstone and key for the rest of Scripture. Without a thorough and growing understanding of the Law, our understanding of the rest of God’s Word will be, at best, incomplete. The portrait of Christ that we gain from our reading will likewise be incomplete, our understanding of the magnitude of His salvation will be compromised, and we will not be able to discern His holy and righteous and good will for every aspect of our lives (Rom. 7:12).

If we would be instructed in the way of righteousness, so that we bring forth the virtues and gifts of the Spirit, and are able to bear witness in His power (Gal. 5:22, 23; 1 Cor. 12:7-11; Acts 1:8), then we must make reading and study of God’s Law a fundamental aspect of all our study of Scripture.

For a practical guide to the role of God’s Law in the life of faith, get The Ground for Christian Ethics by going to www.ailbe.org and click on our Bookstore, then Church Issues.

In the Gates is a devotional series on the Law of God by Rev. T.M. Moore, editor of the Worldview Church. He serves as dean of the Centurions Program of the Wilberforce Forum and principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He is the author or editor of twenty books, and has contributed chapters to four others. His essays, reviews, articles, papers, and poetry have appeared in dozens of national and international journals, and on a wide range of websites. His most recent books are The Ailbe Psalter and The Ground for Christian Ethics (Waxed Tablet).

Scripture quotations in this article are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, (c) copyright 2001, 2007 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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