The Greatest Gift
Reading Selection for December 10th
“Covenant of Love”
Deuteronomy 5:29 (NASB) – [The Lord said,] “Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever!”
Page 89 of The Greatest Gift, Ann Voskamp writes, “The Ten Commandments are more than God saying, ‘Here is My Law for you’ –they are God saying, ‘Here is My love for you.’”
Paul, the author of much of the New Testament, has some interesting things to say about the Old Testament Law that give us perspective from this side of the Cross. To boil it down, the Law was very good at pointing out that God’s people could not keep the standard (it was right there pointing the finger every time they made a mistake), but it was powerless to help them actually keep it. In fact, in Romans it says that the Law provokes sin. In other words, when I hear “Don’t” on some level I immediately want to “Do”.
Paul goes on to tell us that the problem wasn’t with the Law, it was in us. With our old, pre-Christ, dead-to-God spirits, there was nothing available to us to help us keep God’s standards. All we could ever do was try…and fail.
However, Believers, with our new, Christ in us, alive-to-God spirits, we have everything we need pertaining to life and godliness. God has given us new hearts and has even written His Law ON our hearts. Christ in us empowers us to live as children of the living God. God has taken up residence in us to do what we never could apart from Him.
Prior to the crucifixion of Christ, God’s people had an external righteousness that depended on what they did. Believers in Christ have the righteousness of Christ, not based on what we do, but who we are.
So why the Law? If Christ in us the hope of glory is what God desired all along, why were there 2000 years of Law? Why all the frustration of never being able to 100% measure up and meet the standard?
Because just like in the Garden it’s about God pursuing a relationship with mankind. It’s a Love story and you can’t just skip to the end. Just like us, He wants to be chosen. Two thousand years of Law created a lot of longing and desire in mankind’s heart for not just a remedy, but a Savior and a relationship. He wanted us to know for certain that apart from Him we could do nothing.
On page 92 Ann continues, “God gives the commandments to us—and God gives God to keep the commandments for us. God gives us the love at the top of Sinai, and He staggeringly keeps our commitment to love at the top of Calvary.”
He’s been pursuing us, His beloved, since the beginning and even the Law proclaimed Advent.