One of the most profound truths that I have learned in the last four years is the fact that the “Law” is far more then a bunch of restrictive, prohibitive, rules and regulations. The Torah (first five books of the Bible) means teaching, instruction or what I like to call, “God’s Instruction Manual for Life.” Most of the time, in the modern institutional church, the 613 laws are regarded as confining, legalistic and punitive for the present day follower of Christ. They are something to run away from because after all, “We are not under Law but under Grace.”
The reality is God’s law gives individual and societal instructions and answers for how we are to live in the will and ways of Yahweh God. This is so transformative because Torah gives the answer to every need and covers every arena of life for us individually and collectively as a society. Because we have marginalized the “law” in our churches we are not able to explain God’s perspective on most of the issues that face us today. This is sobering because we have taken ourselves out of the game by assuming that the Old Testament is so radically different than the New, which in turn puts us on the sidelines and takes away our confidence to be able to give specific answers to specific issues for our day. Our answer, because we are ignorant of God’s law, is always “J-E-S-U-S!” It is not enough to say JESUS is the answer. He along with the Old Testament which He fulfilled, has the specific answer to our specific need and problems facing us today.
Even as I write too you today, I’m overwhelmed with earnest desire to know God’s instructions and apply them to what I see America and the world at large facing. We must discover and integrate these life-changing principles into our conversations, families, churches and cultural at large.
By understanding God’s instruction we are able to address our culture with God’s directives and answers for living life with success.
Consider the words of Malachi:
“For the priest’s lips should keep knowledge [in other words, the knowledge of Torah], and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.” – Malachi 2:7 KJV
This is quite an indictment against pastors (like myself for 32 years) of what we ought to know about the Law, and what we teach with regard to God’s redeeming truths to our congregations.
Almost EVERY time I communicate with not-yet-Christians about some informative instruction from the Law; about a particular issue, I get the response, “I have never heard that. Is that what the Bible says about, ? That makes a lot of sense!”
Even if they disagree with what I communicate, they appreciate the perspective that I offer and admit that they have never heard such things. It’s really fun!
The law of God not only has application for us today, it also has had a profound impact on the forming of this great nation.
Read what David Barton says in the Founders Bible:
“Did you know that it is indisputable that the Ten Commandments—the quintessential representation of the Moral Law as given in Exodus 20 and repeated in Deuteronomy 5—formed the basis of American law and society?
Are you aware of the fact that the Ten Commandments have always been inseparable from the American legal culture?
And has anyone told you that there are four types of laws in the Bible—Ceremonial, Moral, Judicial, and Social Compact laws—and that it’s vital to know which commands apply to all and which to specific ones?” – Founders Bible, p. 119
To the last question I can say, NO! I don’t blame anyone else but myself. After all, I was a teaching pastor for 32+ years and did not know or teach this to the great people of Rolling Hills. Like I was told many, many, times by people who were critical of me, and I agree with them: “Dale, you know teachers will be judged by a much higher standard” (James 3:1).
“Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly” – James 3:1 NLT
This is a sobering reality that you and I will stand before Christ someday being responsible, not only our own behavior, but for the content of our teaching and, I believe, to whom we have chosen to listen to.
“But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment” – Matthew 12:36 KJV
And Paul told Timothy:
“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” – 2 Timothy 4:3-5 ESV
Wow. So, what do we do with such powerful truth from the Word of God?
First: “Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” 2 Timothy 2:15 KJV
We must apply ourselves to look at the Scriptures intently. A cursory take on the Bible will not cut it. You cannot figure it out on your own. The Bible is overwhelming! Use the resources of wonderful intelligent men and women of God who have studied before us.
Three of the best resources I can recommend are these three Bibles:
- The MacArthur Study Bible with the NKJV, NASB, or the ESV translations. All are excellent. Buy it today if you don’t have it!
- The Henry Morris Study Bible: You do need a scientific approach to Scripture if you want to help yourself, your kids, grandkids, and people in your church. This Bible is a MUST!
- The Founders Bible in the NASB translation. This Bible has 202 articles that will give you insight into the word of God as you have never read before. This Bible ought to replace you family Bible, if you have one, and be sitting on your coffee table!
I know this sounds radical but if you simply read the notes of these great bibles you won’t need any outlines or guides to study for the next two years. Just simply read the notes or the articles of these Bibles and you will have enough solid information that will inform and clarify biblical truth for you as you have never experienced before. The question is will you apply yourself?
Second: On the basis of what you learn begin immediately to interact with people outside the faith, and with your family and friends about what you have learned. Actually, many men that I mentor are doing this and the stories they tell me are powerful and life-changing. The key is you must act!
Attempting to be obedient with you,