I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure, dwells in you as well. For this reason, I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of power and love and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:5-7)
For what reason does Paul remind Timothy to press on and increase in the power of God? Because of Timothy’s godly heritage.
A legacy of faith is both an opportunity and a responsibility. It provides a set of shoulders on which to stand, and a charge from God to rise to the occasion so that others may stand on your shoulders, too.
If you come from a long line of believers, may God give you strength and will to follow the path they started. If you don’t, may He give you courage to blaze the trail for those who will come behind.
The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
The Bible is clear that no one can follow God’s Law completely on their own. Even looking at just the Ten Commandments, we all fail at one point or another and are considered “sinners” in God’s sight because of our lack of perfection.
We discover, then, both through the teaching of Scripture and our own broken experience, that we desperately need a Savior. That’s one of the purposes of the Law of God, to show us we can’t keep it so that we come to Jesus for salvation.
But that’s not the only purpose.
Look at how the Psalmist David writes about God’s Law in Psalm 19. Look at how excited he is about it, how inspired he is by it, how devoted he is to it, how delighted he is in it. Does that sound like a man who is beaten down by oppressive commandments? When he writes of how wonderful the commands of God are, David is remembering something that it’s easy for us to forget.
God gave us the Law because He loves us.
It’s His love that sets a standard we can’t meet on our own, because that standard drives us to Jesus.
It’s His love that gives instructions for living, because those instructions result in a life that honors others and is in harmony with God’s creation.
It’s His love that puts boundaries in place for how we act, because those boundaries protect us from so many of the consequences of our sin.
The message of the Gospel is that grace reigns supreme, but that doesn’t mean that the Law is bad. It means that in Christ, we are empowered by His Spirit to keep the commands of God, not out of obligation, but out of joy, because they are given for our good.
As you consider this, may your heart be drawn to Jesus more and more for His grace, and may that grace be fuel for joyful obedience to the Father. As you follow, you’ll discover the hope that comes from applying this truth: God gives law because He loves you.
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