…I love the Law! Oh, how ’bout you?
But the Law doesn’t save. And you don’t have to go far to find this Law that doesn’t save. The “self-help” sections of bookstores are full of laws. “Do this” or “don’t do that.” 10 principles for a better life, seven habits of highly effective people. Put a number to it and you are in the realm of the Law.
It’s great that Steven Covey has found seven habits of highly effective people. Don’t get me wrong. But in our day and age, it’s as easy to dismiss seven habits, twelve steps, or ten principles with a simple, “I’m glad it works for you, but don’t shove that down my throat.”
Still, our inclination is to turn to the Law if there’s anything we want to change in our lives. We may ridicule the idea of following twelve steps, but we will look for whatever formula actually works for us. And in so doing we chase again after the Law.
This is why so many Christians today will not allow Holy Baptism to be what the Scriptures actually say it is. Baptism has now become “our thing that we do,” and by such a definition, Baptism is now something of the Law. This is why many churches won’t baptize infants. Baptism for them is something people do and infants can’t do this because they are infants.
But the Scriptures tell us that Baptism is how God forgives sins (Acts 2:38). Baptism “now saves you” (1 Peter 3:21). It is not “my thing that I do for God” (Law), but rather God’s gift that He gives to me (Gospel).
Still, to have a sinful nature–which we all have–is to prefer thinking in Law-based ways. We transform Baptism into our thing, rather than let it be God’s thing. Luther had to rescue the Lord’s Supper from a Roman understanding that the mass was something people did, rather than a gift denoted by Christ’s own words, “for you for the forgiveness of sins.” (A gift! Gift equals Gospel).
In what seems like a brazen ignorance of God’s Word, we prefer redefining God’s gifts into our wonderful things we do for God. We reject God’s gifts and redefine them as if they were our offerings.
Why? Because we love the Law; oh yes, we do.
Christ fulfilled the Law. Luther was fond of saying, “Moses is dead.” But Christ is risen! He comes and gives His gifts personally to us every Lord’s Day. Time spent at St. John’s on Sunday morning is not about you and your praising and worshiping. While we do all that, we do it because time spent here is time spent in Christ’s presence receiving His gifts.
You can love the Law if you like. But if we want to see each other in eternity, then I must love you enough to encourage you to receive Christ’s gifts, weekly. That’s the Gospel. It’s God’s gift.
I love the Lord; Oh yes, I do…
How about you?