February 26 - The Law is Relational
God wants us to take care of our sin problem, so He gives us the commandments. These commandments are not there to stop us from doing the wrong things, they are there to bring us into a right relating with God and other people. The first four commandments show us the way to relate to God and the latter six direct our interpersonal behavior. The end result of keeping the commandments is to live in peace with God and with one another. When any commandment is broken, the result would be broken relationships. So the gauging of our faith is in our relationships with God and one another.
Jesus explained the commandments as loving God and loving your neighbor as yourself. To love is to live in a proper relationship with others. This would sum up the Ten Commandments. All the Ten Commandments are related, our relationship with God is the key to our relating with one another. Without God, there is no true love. If we cannot love God, we cannot love others. The reverse is also true, if we cannot love others, then we cannot love God for God is love.
The psalmist describes the bliss of having one’s sins forgiven. We must confess our sins to God and to others so that we may enter into blessedness. In the old sacrificial system, all sacrifices must be acceptable to God or their sacrifices would be of no effect. Our worship could degenerate into blasphemy if our sacrifices are not acceptable. When we harbor sins in our lives and worship God at the same time, we offend God. So many of us worship God but at the same time refuse to forgive others. Bitterness of heart and spirit mixing with our songs of praise, dishonesty and deceit are mingled with our words of testimony about Jesus. How can God be pleased?
If you think that you are true to God, honoring Him as your only God and Savior, then you need to look at your relationship with others. The laws in the Old Testament were highly relational. It describes the right relationship with others such as our family, relatives, friends, employers, neighbors, the physically challenged, the poor, the powerful, the rich, the elderly and the sojourners (new immigrants). To respect the aged is to show respect and fear to God. Loving others is tied together with loving God and the two are not to be separated.
Jesus spoke against self-centeredness. We must crucify our selves in order to follow Him. Peter was turned from being praised by the Lord to being called “Satan” because of his concern about the self and the things of man. All self-preservation and defenses are the preludes in breaking God’s laws because we put ourselves first before God and others. Pause now to evaluate all your relationships: are they what they should be? Are there broken relationships in your life? Be reconciled now!
Ps 32:1-5 Lev 19:1-20:21 Mark 8:11-38 Prov 10:17