From Precepts to Promises

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Hebrews 8:10

The law of God is a masterpiece, revealing our deep guilt and, at the same time, graciously teaching unholy people how to approach a holy God in worship. Its instructions form a carefully assembled tapestry; if one thread is pulled, the entire thing unravels.

This means that there are no small matters in the law. When we break a single command, we become guilty of violating the entire thing. James tells us this frankly: “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it” (James 2:10). The law is not like a pile of stones, from which you can take one stone away and still have a heap. Rather, it is like a sheet of glass: a single crack compromises the whole thing. Why? Because God’s law is no arbitrary set of rules and regulations; it is an expression of the character and nature of our perfect and pure God of glory.

When you add this all together, it amounts to a terrifying reality. How can we ever hope to measure up to such a high standard? And yet, for those who know Christ Jesus by faith, the law no longer condemns us. The Son of God fulfilled God’s law Himself so that His people no longer have to face His wrath. We have escaped God’s just penalty on our sins through Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection from the dead. Now the law does not remain outside of us; it is written upon our hearts. Now the Spirit of God who wrote it there goes to work to transform us so that we gladly accept its duties and obligations. In Christ we are not only saved from the penalty for not keeping the law; we also have the resources to keep the law as never before.

Imagine a thief who walks into a church on Sunday, sees a list of the Ten Commandments, and trembles in fear at the words “You shall not steal” (Exodus 20:15). He or she repents of that sin and receives the offer of new life in Christ. From then on, when they read that command, it means something different. The prohibition, “You must not steal,” has become a promise: “You will not steal.”

This is the case for everyone who calls on Jesus as Lord. What sins are you particularly struggling against or giving in to? By the Spirit, you have all the resources to obey your Father, looking to the law neither as a ladder to heaven nor as a source of condemnation but as a guide to life. Armed with this hope, you can battle against your sin with the confidence that comes from Christ’s great victory.

Devotional material is taken from the Truth for Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg, published by The Good book Company, Used by Truth for Life with permission, copyright©️2021, The Good Book Company.