Read: Galatians 5, Matt 22:37-40.
How is it possible for the law to show us our misery?
If we only look at the law as a code of outward moral conduct, then the law will not be a mirror of misery. Even worldly people may actually find out that their lives are nearly conformable to God’s law. They never swear; they do not work on Sunday; they do not worship idols; they usually keep the laws of the land; they do not kill any one, or be unfaithful to their wives or husbands; they do not steal or speak evil of others. From an outward point of view, they do a pretty good job of keeping the law of God.
But then, so did the Pharisees of Jesus’ day! And Jesus called them “whitened sepulchers!”
In Matthew 22, Jesus explains why that is.
A lawyer was determined to trap Jesus in his words and find in some teaching of the Lord a reason to condemn him. He asked what the most important commandment of the law was. No matter what commandment Jesus quoted, the lawyer would be in a position to condemn him for setting one commandment above another.
But Jesus was aware of the fact that all the commandments were of equal importance, and that, as James says, to break one commandment is to break them all (James 2:8-11). Further, our Lord knew also that mere outward conformity to the law of God was as good as worthless in the sight of God. Again and again the Lord reprimanded Israel for outward conformity to the law, while their hearts were far from him (Is. 1:10-17, Mal. 1:6-8, Matt. 5:21-42, Matt. 15:1-20 etc.).
And so the Lord did not quote one of the commandments as the lawyer thought he would; the Lord pointed to the inner demands of the law: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. This is the first and the great commandment: and the second is like unto it. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
This was already a part of the law in the OT (Deut. 6:5, Lev. 19:18).
So, the foundation of all the commandments of God is the basic command: Love God! And love thy neighbor for God’s sake. If we do not love God, we cannot keep any of the commandments, no matter how closely we adhere to them outwardly. If we do not love God, we do not love our neighbor, for we must love our neighbor as ourselves. We must love our neighbor because we love God.
Prof. Herman Hanko (Wife: Wilma)
Ordained: October 1955
Pastorates: Hope, Walker, MI - 1955; Doon, IA - 1963; Professor to the Protestant Reformed Seminary - 1965
Emeritus: 2001Website: www.sermonaudio.com/search.asp?speakeronly=true&currsection=sermonsspeaker&keyword=Prof._Herman_Hanko
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