Monday, September 29, 2008

The Ten Blogging Commandments

Evangelical Alliance have come up with Ten Blogging Commandments: What do you think?

1. You shall not put your blog before your integrity.
2. You shall not make an idol of your blog.
3. You shall not misuse your screen name by using your anonymity to sin.
4. Remember the Sabbath day by taking one day off a week from your blog.
5. Honour your fellow-bloggers above yourselves and do not give undue significance to their mistakes.
6. You shall not murder someone else’s honour, reputation or feelings.
7. You shall not use the web to commit or permit adultery in your mind.
8. You shall not steal another person’s content.
9. You shall not give false testimony against your fellow-blogger.
10.You shall not covet your neighbour's blog ranking. Be content with your own content.

PS in view of 8 above I better at least reveal my source: Ruth Gledhill of The Times

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Why Preach the Law? Part Four

4. The Law is Good for Us!

So many people regard the Law as a burden. It is not surprising in one sense because the Pharisees used the Law to burden people. This clearly was not the purpose of the Law and indeed contrary to the Law burdening people, it was seen by many who received it as freeing. In Deuteronomy The Law is repeatedly said to be given "for your own good".

Chris Wright points out that the Psalms are filled with ecstatic praise for God's Law:

The Law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.

And then of course in Psalm 119 the Psalmist is constantly expressing his love for the Law:
Oh how I love your Law

I rejoice in following your statutes
as one rejoices in great riches (14)

I love your commands
more than gold, more than pure gold (127)

You see the Law is here valued even more than winning the lottery!
It is so highly valued because it leads to all truth:
I have chosen the way of truth
I have set my heart on your laws. (30)

Do not snatch the word of truth from my mouth
for I have put my hope in your laws. (43)

and is the source of grace:
be gracious to me through your Law. (29)

From these words we see that the Law is freeing, there is no sense of legalism here, "the Law is for our own good, it was constantly looking for what would benefit people as distinct to what would limit and oppress them."

As Jesus said about the Law regarding the Sabbath. "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath." (Mark 2:27)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Why Preach the Law? Part Three

3. The Law is Based on the Character of God:

By obeying the Law the people of Israel were reflecting the character of God.: This is implicit in Deuteronomy 10: 12-13:

"And now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord you God with all your heart and with all your soul and to observe the Lord's commands and decrees ..."

In Leviticus 19 (v2) the Law states:

"You shall be holy, for I the Lord am holy."

It is my observation that any striving to be holy and to "walk in his ways" is very much scorned upon in much of the church.
In Deuteronomy 10: 16 we receive the command: "circumcise your hearts"

Without preaching the Law there is no sense in which we as a church are striving to be like Him, without the Law being written on our hearts there is no sense in which we can claim to be born again.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Why Preach the Law? Part Two

2: The Law was Founded on Grace

Chris Wright points out the significance that it isn't until the 19th chapter of Exodus that the first law is written. "There are eighteen chapters of salvation and God's grace and faithfulness before there is a single chapter of law."

Indeed in chapter 19 before God speaks about the Law He says:

"You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all the nations you will be my treasured possession." (Exodus 19:4-5)

Here God places the giving of the Law in the context of what He has already done for the nation of Israel. The Law is given in order to enable Israel to live appropriately in response to God's love.

This is reinforced in Deuteronomy 6:20 "In the future, when your son asks you, 'what is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the Lord our God has commanded you?' tell him: 'We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand ... The Lord commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the Lord our God, so that we might prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today.'"

God asks us His people to response to His grace and salvation by being obedient to Him. Yes there is justice and there is punishment, but it is within the context of God's grace and mercy and salvation.

Indeed God describes Himself as:

"The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion ad sin." (Exodus 34: 6-7)

Wright concludes: "We must preach the Old Testament Law on the foundation of God's grace. The Law was never intended to be a means of salvation or a means of earning salvation, but was intended to be a response to salvation. It is the same dynamic ad for Christian obedience."

Monday, September 8, 2008

Why Preach the Law? Part One

I have read a wonderful article by Chris Wright, a man who I have great respect for after hearing him preach on Psalm 119. The subject of the article was 'Why preach the Law.

In the next few days I hope to summarise what he has to say on this.

Why Preach the Law?

1. Because all Scripture is God Breathed
When Paul wrote the words of 2 Timothy 3:16-17, most of the New Testament had not been written. He was referring to the Old Testament Scriptures and since he specifically says "All Scripture", this must include the Torah and the Pentateuch. It is therefore important that we preach the Old Testament Law as part of God's Word, and not simply to abandon it or ignore it.

For any Bible believing Christian this is a simple truth to grasp. Chris Wright is simply saying that we preach the Old Testament Law because it is part of God's Word. Hopefully, not too many people would disagree with that.

More tomorrow