3 things the Law of God does for us

Pastor Jeff Struecker

Last week, we talked about this New Covenant that God made, a covenant that he made with the blood of his Son, Jesus. I want to answer a question for us now, because what the Bible refers to as the Covenant of Grace is what we’re going to talk about.

You see, many people believe that the Old Covenant, or the Old Testament, was a covenant of law and that the New Testament, the New Covenant, is a Covenant of Grace. God has been gracious, and he has given his Son, Jesus, as a payment for our sins, which brings us to a really important question.

What about the Law? Does that mean that we don’t have to pay any attention to the Law anymore? Now that Jesus has changed me, do I get to do whatever I want to do?

Well, for just a few minutes, I’m going to talk about the three purposes for the Law of God for Christians who now live in this New Testament/New Covenant period. Let’s talk from the Bible about the Law of God.

In fact, the Law is mentioned a lot in the New Testament in a couple of places, especially in the book of Romans. And maybe one of the most important verses in the book of Romans about the Law of God is found in Romans 7:7. Would you commit Romans 7:7 to memory? Would you ask your children to memorize it? Ask them to hide it in their hearts, so that when they’re older, it won’t depart from them.

Memory Verse

You see, this famous Pharisee by the name of Saul becomes a powerful Christian witness. We call him Paul the Apostle when he writes this book of Romans in the New Testament. Paul grew up learning the Law, memorizing the Law, and loving the Law. And now that he’s under the Covenant of Grace, now that he’s in the New Covenant, now that he’s realized Jesus has paid for his sins, people are asking, “Well, what does that mean about the Law? I know that I’ve been forgiven, but does that mean I can live any way that I want?” And Paul directly answers that question for us in Romans 7:7.

I have this vivid memory. When I became a Christian, I thought I was a pretty good dude. In fact, I became a Christian at 13 years old, and I knew I had done some things wrong, but in my heart, I felt like I’m a pretty good person. And then I became a Christian. I started to read the Bible, and then the Holy Spirit started to work on my heart.

And to be honest with you, I can remember points early on in my Christian faith where it just became overwhelmingly clear to me that I’m not nearly as good of a dude as I thought I was. And now that I’m a Christian, I’m starting to see some things in my life that I didn’t even know were there.

Paul will eventually talk about the Law of God like a teacher, or schoolmaster, that teaches us where we fall short. When Bible scholars, when theologians refer to the Law of God in this Christian age that we live in, they say the Law of God really does three things for us, and I’m going to illustrate those three things with a bottle of water.

You see, they say that the Law of God:

  • convicts us of our sin

  • controls sin outside of us, and

  • corrects Christians and teaches us how we’re supposed to live

With a bottle of water, you see water is inside the container, and the container is the thing that is protecting the water from everything outside of the plastic bottle. What’s inside the plastic bottle is supposed to be pure. It’s supposed to be undefiled, and I want you to think about the plastic bottle like it’s the Law. I want you to think about the water inside like it’s your heart.

You see, once your heart is changed by Jesus, God’s Law is there to protect you. It’s actually there to restrain evil. That’s what the plastic bottle does for everything outside of the bottle. It protects what’s inside the bottle. And if it wasn’t for the Law of God, there would be crazy amounts of evil all over the world.

I realize you watch the news, and it looks like everything is evil all around you. It looks like that to me. But trust me; it’s not nearly as evil as it could be if it wasn’t for the Law of God.

The Law of God also does something for the water inside the bottle. It tells us when our heart isn’t right. It convicts us. I’ll even take it to this point that if you’re a Christian and you can do something that is wrong and you know it’s wrong, and you don’t feel any guilt or any shame about it whatsoever, we’ve got a problem. We’ve got a really serious problem. I’ll even use these words: Maybe you’re not a Christian if you can do sin and evil and feel no shame or no guilt about it.

That’s what the Law of God does for us. That’s what the Holy Spirit of God does. The Law tells us, “Hey Jeff, what you’re doing is wrong. Don’t do it anymore, and I’m not telling you because I don’t want you to do something or I’m holding something back from you. I’m telling you this because I’m trying to protect you from doing something really wrong. It’s going to wreck your life.” It convicts the Christian of his or her sin. It controls evil and prevents it from spinning out of control in this world.

And then third and finally, the Law of God is a teacher. The Law of God corrects and teaches Christians how we’re supposed to live. So, when you go back and read the Bible, what you really should be looking at is, “God, is there something in this verse in the Bible that I don’t have in my life, that’s missing or needs to be added to my life? The Law of God does that for you.

Or maybe you ask the question this way: “God, is there something in this verse of the Bible that’s in my life that really doesn’t need to be there? -something that’s not a good thing; it needs to be removed from my life?” Almost every passage in the Bible, if you will look at it in those terms, is pointing a Christian to how their life is supposed to work. And maybe there’s something in your heart that’s not good, and it shouldn’t be there.

The Bible, the Law of God, teaches you that something is not good in your heart. Maybe there’s something that’s not in your heart that really should be there. The Law of God teaches you (schoolmaster language) what should be there. So, when you open up the Bible, when you read the Law of God, would you read it like it’s teaching you what your heart is supposed to look like?

A Challenge

I have a challenge for you. If you’re a parent, I’m invite you to do this with your children, as well. Pray about it, and ask yourself, maybe ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you what God’s Law has taught you about you.

You see, the reason God’s Law still applies to us today, even in Romans 7:7 (we don’t throw away God’s Law now that we’re under the Covenant of Grace) is because God’s law teaches us about us.

So, I want you to just be very real and very practical for a moment and describe, what’s something you’ve learned about you lately because of the Bible, because you’ve been reading the Law of God?