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Just like Jesus – Uses of the Law: To Guide Us in Doing Good (3)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011, 0:01
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Just like Jesus

Uses of the Law: To Guide Us in Doing Good (3)

“…you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good.…” Acts 10:37, 38

Peter pointed to Jesus as the exemplar of good works. Jesus said He came to fulfill the Law (Matt. 5:17-19). So whatever Jesus did that was good—and everything Jesus did was good—was but the embodiment of the commandments of God, the same Law which Jesus and the Apostles commend to us.

Jesus showed us the essence of good works—the kind of good works which express the love encoded in God’s Law—in the upper room with His disciples (John 13:1-15). First, we see that He was motivated by love, as all true good works must be (v. 1). Second, He set aside His own prerogatives and made Himself the servant of others (vv. 2-4). Third, He paid attention to what was going on around Him, alert to any opportunities for showing love to others. Next, He identified a need that no one was addressing and, even though it was a duty much beneath His dignity, He took up the work without hesitation or grumbling (vv. 5, 6 ff.). Jesus stayed on task in this humble work until He had relieved the problem He identified and ministered to all who were affected by it—even His enemy (Judas). Then He made sure to connect the good work with the love of God (v. 14).

Good works of love, therefore, are such as honor our neighbors by paying attention to their needs, putting their needs above our own, taking the initiative to address particular needs, and doing so in the name and as an example of the love of Jesus Christ (v. 15).

Christians are thus to be proactive about doing good, not waiting for others to present themselves and their needs, but willingly and joyfully reaching out to the people around us each day with a desire to touch them in some specific way with a word or work such as Jesus might do were He in our place.

As we devote ourselves to reading and meditating on God’s Law we will discover very practical guidance concerning how we might actually do good to others. The Law will make us sensitive to our neighbors and help us to think of their needs as we think of our own. Then, as we rest in the Spirit of God, we can count on Him to make us willing and able to do that which meets the needs of others and shows love to God as well (Phil. 2:13).

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 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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