Preaching God's Law

Last Sunday, I felt led to preach on the role of God's law in highlighting our sin and therefore our need for Christ. The text was from the 119th psalm, and describes the dichotomy between the writer’s weakness and the rectitude of God’s moral standard:

 TSADDE: Psalm 119, New King James Version:

137 Righteous are You, O Lord,

And upright are Your judgments.

138 Your testimonies, which You have commanded,

Are righteous and very faithful.

139 My zeal has consumed me,

Because my enemies have forgotten Your words.

140 Your word is very pure;

Therefore Your servant loves it.

141 I am small and despised,

Yet I do not forget Your precepts.

142 Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness,

And Your law is truth.

143 Trouble and anguish have overtaken me,

Yet Your commandments are my delights.

144 The righteousness of Your testimonies is everlasting;

Give me understanding, and I shall live.

God’s law is not just a handy guide to right living, but the tutor which shows us the wickedness of our hearts and therefore our need for Christ. Except we comprehend our fallenness and condemnation, we cannot come to Christ as Saviour. The psalmist understands God’s perfect justice and righteousness, as well as his own weakness and moral exhaustion. His final request, that he be allowed to live, he asks in a state of ignorance, not then knowing how the Creator would reconcile sinners to Himself without compromising His own exquisite justice. We know that this happened at the Cross of Calvary. 

One of the scripture signs attached to our chapel railings (to which they must be secured with ropes on account of the strong winds of Newby Hill) warns people their sin will be found out. How many thieves, adulterers, hypocrites and liars have passed this sign and been made to feel guilty? And well they might. Only the guilty may apply to the judge for mercy.

The top picture is of a stone fragment, upon which is inscribed some of the Ten Commandments in Samaritan script, dateing 50-150AD. Presumably, it was been displayed in a Samaritan synagogue, but is now in the Leeds City Museum. In older parish churches, the decalogue is similarly displayed, convicting law-breakers of their need for repentance and grace. I wonder if the lack of conversions in our own age is because we have slackened in preaching God's law- the mighty standard of moral rightness by which sinners shall be judged, and whose penalty Christ paid. Are you not sinful? You have no need for Jesus. KNow you are guilty? Fly to Him for aid. 

Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and Your law is truth.

Not the labour of my hands
Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone,
Thou must save, and Thou alone.