“Why would anyone love the law of God? Why would we love that which constantly tells us what miserable wretches we are, daily points out all our shortcomings, relentlessly reminds us of all our death-deserving sins, and keeps knocking us down to our knees, leaving us crying out for help?
The truth of the matter is that not just anyone loves the law of God but only those who have been set free by our law-giving, law-keeping, and law-liberating Savior. We love the law of God not because we posses some sort of inherent self-inflicting, self-deprecating sadistic disposition towards our sin but because, in His electing grace, God set His glorious and enduring love upon us, laid His eternal claim upon us, took hold of us and clutched us in His strong hands, and made us His dutiful bondslaves that we might be free to delight in His law (Romans 7:22) and in all the commands of Christ (Matthew 28:20), who by no means abolished the law but in fact fulfilled it perfectly in our behalf (Matthew 5:17). His death is our life. His fulfillment is our freedom. His duty is our delight.
Our abundant life of freedom in Christ is not simply a freedom to do anything we want to do but to have the uninterrupted, Spirit-sustaining power to do what we know we ought to do as God the Holy Spirit changes our wants and daily transforms our God-given duties into God-glorifying delights. If we are genuinely to cherish the three uses of the law, we must first cherish the law itself – not merely as a means to an end but by virtue of its very existence and its authorship. That is to say, we must primarily see the law itself as a gracious gift from our Lord. It’s crucial to understand that we don’t simply love the law because of what it does for us. We love the law of God because in itself it is precious and altogether lovely (Ps. 119:72). Only from this vantage point of loving the law for what it is will we truly love what the law does for us, to us, and in us.
The Holy Spirit sovereignly uses the law in manifold ways – to teach us about our Creator, to give us a glimpse of His righteousness, holiness, and justice, to restrain our sin and the sin of all people, to reflect our heinous sin in order to give us a glimpse of it, to reveal the narrow road to life as a lamp to our feet and a light to our path, to drive us to our knees in liberating repentance, to cry out daily for help, and to lift our eyes to Jesus Christ, the only mediator between God and man, who alone is righteousness and in whom by faith alone we are perfectly righteous, before the face of God.”
Burk Parsons is editor of Tabletalk magazine and associate minister at Saint Andrew’s in Sanford, Florida. This article appeared in the March 2011 edition of Tabletalk magazine.