March 5, 2018

The Law of the Lord

The Bible is one unit, and every word is inspired by God. In it are sixty-six books—thirty-nine in the Old Testament and twenty-seven in the New Testament—1,189 chapters and 31,173 verses. The Bible was written over approximately fifteen hundred years by forty different authors living on three different continents. Some were shepherds, kings, scholars, and fishermen. The words of the Bible convey God’s message—the redemption of mankind.

In Psalm 19, God’s Word is described as the “law of the Lord.” Verses 7-11 say, “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.”

Because God himself inspired His Word, He gives the Bible its authority. Many laws are made by people around the world, but God’s law is above them all. Man’s laws deal with the temporal behavior of men and women; God’s laws deal with their eternal souls.

The properties of God’s Word that the Psalmist mentioned are worth consideration.

The law of the Lord is perfect

God’s law refers to His instructions, not just the commandments but all that He has revealed in His Word to guide us. The Bible needs no help; it is perfect. It does not need to be added to or updated. In fact, we are warned against such actions. Revelation 22:18-19 says, “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”

The words of God in the Bible were perfect when it was written, and they are still perfect today. It was relevant to the audiences of the authors who penned it through inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and it is relevant to us now. Some may say that it is outdated, but we know the Bible is far ahead of us. God’s Word tells us of events that have not happened yet, and we know that they will come to pass, just as hundreds of other prophesies in this Book have been fulfilled.

A person needs to do nothing more than read the Bible to know how to live and what God expects. It is like a blueprint that will build a perfect spiritual house.

A person needs to do nothing more than read the Bible to know how to live and what God expects. It is like a blueprint that will build a perfect spiritual house. I have built houses for a living, and there is nothing like having a good blueprint—one that gives every dimension and detail—to make the building process go much easier. In some blueprints, information is missing, and that makes the project very difficult. God’s Word is complete; yet, as with physical construction, more than reading the blueprint is necessary. Only reading Scripture will not save a person. It is necessary to be born again, which takes repentance and God’s forgiveness. However, reading the Bible will lead a person to salvation. That is what it is designed to do.

“The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.” It does not convert the outward man by simply giving new ideas or a better way to live. People may “convert” regarding many matters such as a product brand or what type of foods they eat. Some will even convert to a different religion. However, the Bible describes true conversion, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19). The law of God converts the soul and makes it ready for eternity.

The testimony of the Lord is sure

“The testimony of the Lord is sure.” It proves itself. The Bible is God’s written testimony to us; it is His witness of what He has done and what He will do. We can be completely confident that the Bible will not lead us astray or deceive us. It is sure and will always be in agreement with God’s will. When the Bible says, “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7), it means we must be born again. When the Bible says, “Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16) and “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification” (1 Thessalonians 4:3), it means we are to be holy, or be sanctified. When the Bible talks about the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and Acts 2:39 says it is promised “to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call,” it means that experience is available to everyone who answers God’s call.

The Bible needs no outside source to confirm it; it is perfect in itself. God inspired His Word, and it is sure and strong. We can build our homes on it, our marriages, our families, our businesses. We can build our lives on it because it is sure.

Verse 7 of Psalm 19 continues, “Making wise the simple.” Anyone can understand God’s instructions. Paul wrote to Timothy, “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:14-15). God’s law makes us wise unto salvation. A human being by nature is unlearned in righteousness and godliness, but the Holy Scriptures explain salvation and lead us to that experience. We had no wisdom in godly things before we were saved, but we are made wise in righteousness—in the way God would have us live—by His Word.

We read in 1 Corinthians 1:27, “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.” Issues that confuse the scholars, such as how life began or how human beings came to be in an environment in the universe that is just right to sustain life, are simple matters to God because He created it all! People debate such matters, and there are many theories. In the search for answers, they often overlook more important matters, such as what happens at the end of life? The Bible is clear that “ye must be born again” to make Heaven.

The statutes of the Lord are right

“The statutes of the Lord are right.” These statutes are precepts that are given to guide us. God’s rules are not meant to restrict, but to help us live right in everyday life. They support each other; they are straight and to the point. There is no discrepancy or variance in them. There is no wrong in them. The statutes were written by a perfect God, and they are perfectly right.

The laws of nature and science fit within God’s laws, because He created them. Men such as Newton and Einstein studied what God had made. Sometimes people declare that they do not believe the precepts of the Gospel. They may say, “I don’t believe that Christ rose from the dead,” or “I don’t believe in the Rapture of the Church.” Those are God’s statutes! To declare disbelief in them is like saying, “I don’t believe in gravity.” If a person trips as he is walking, he finds out that it doesn’t matter if he believes in gravity or not; he is affected by it! The same is true for God’s statutes.

Nothing makes the heart more glad and satisfied than living according to God’s plan. 

Nothing makes the heart more glad and satisfied than living according to God’s plan. Verse 8 says, “The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart.” Before I was saved, there was always condemnation and guilt. A couple of weeks after I was saved, my wife and I were invited to the home of some friends from the church. We played games, laughed, and reminisced about what the Lord was doing. On the way home, my wife and I said to each other, “Isn’t this wonderful? There is no guilt.” It is a joy to serve the Lord! It is exciting—an adventure. It makes our hearts glad. Jeremiah 15:16 says, “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O Lord God of hosts.”

It relieves us to know God shows no favorites. We are all under the same rules when it comes to His statutes. He may call for different consecrations out of our hearts, but there are equal expectations for all of us. We are judged by our willingness and obedience to God’s Word. Some may feel God has not treated them fairly, but God is fair. It doesn’t matter where we come from or where we serve, God is faithful to each one of us.

The commandment of the Lord is pure

The second part of verse 8 says, “The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.” This word commandment means a “collective law”—the commands and guidelines of God within His Word from the beginning to the end. It tells what God expects, requires, and prohibits. God gave the Law to Moses so he would pass it on to the Children of Israel. Jesus came and perfected the Law. He said He had not come to destroy the Law but to fulfill it. He taught and lived it. He died and arose, thereby fulfilling the Law and ushering in the New Testament dispensation.

When Jesus comes into our hearts, He brings His law with Him. He changes our hearts from evil to good. Romans 8:2-3 says, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.”

Do you want to know the will of God? Search His commandments. 

Do you want to know the will of God? Search His commandments. Are you saved? It is God’s will for you to be saved. Are you sanctified? It is God’s will for you to be sanctified. Are you filled with the Holy Spirit? It is God’s will that you be filled with the Holy Spirit. Start there! In general, you will find God’s will to be revealed to you one step at a time.

The statement that “The commandment of the Lord is pure” means there is no selfishness in it. These commandments are not given for God’s benefit; they are given for our benefit. An earthly ruler may call people before him and make them bow or show respect. However, we bow before God out of honor and love for Him. What a privilege to come to a place of prayer and bow before the King of kings and Lord of lords, the God of Heaven!

God’s commandments enlighten the eyes. How is it that people, no matter what their background, somehow know they should not kill or steal? They have been enlightened, whether the knowledge has been passed on to them or God has revealed it. God can speak His commandments right to a heart. God’s Word brings people face to face with their sins before they are saved, and it shows the way of righteousness after they are saved. It is by these commandments that we know what to do in order to please God.

The fear of the Lord is clean

“The fear of the Lord is clean.” This fear is not a matter of being afraid of God, but rather of having a moral reverence toward Him. We recognize how powerful and mighty God is. Yet in all of His power and might, He considers us and wants a relationship with us! When we have experienced His mercy, we owe Him the utmost respect.

The Bible sets the moral standard for living. It is not established by society, leaders, professors, or teachers, and not even by ministers or pastors. If many say something is morally acceptable and God’s Word says it is not, then it is not. It does not matter what societal perspectives are. It is the Bible that we look to.

The fact that the fear of God is clean means there are no ulterior motives in it. Not only is it untainted and pure, but it will keep us clean. “The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times” (Psalm 12:6). If we will filter our lives through God’s Word, it will make and keep us clean.

“The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever.” This Word is forever settled in Heaven. It will not change. God will not adapt it to fit our lifestyles or our ideas. Rather, we must conform to it. Time will not change the importance of moral good. The Bible must be reverenced, feared, and respected as the authority on every subject.

The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous

“The judgments of the Lord are true.” Because we have been given this truth to live by, we will be judged by it, and the judgments will also be true. We have been given the Book describing what God expects. He sees everything, and He will judge us. At the end, the judgments will be executed in righteousness because they were written by a righteous God. Everyone will be judged equally; there will be no special cases or exceptions. The Bible was inspired by a holy God, and it cannot be anything other than true and righteous.

Verse 10 says that God’s judgments are “more to be desired . . . than gold.” Gold cannot buy salvation. Gold will not make us clean, convert the soul, or make us wise. It will not endure forever, and it certainly will not make us righteous in God’s sight. But when a person chooses to follow God’s path, God gives salvation, and His instructions become “sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.”

Great reward

“Moreover by them is thy servant warned.” The Bible warns of God’s requirements and the coming judgment to those who ignore or refuse to act on them. However, the rest of verse 11 says, “In keeping of them there is great reward.” Upholding and embracing what God says will bring a final reward. 

Suppose for a moment that you had a rope which extended from where you are to the outside, across the street, down the block, miles across town, and then the rope shot up into the sky and went past the moon and the sun, clear up into outer space. Of course, that would be impossible, but imagining it is an effort at picturing eternity. It goes on forever. Now suppose that the first two inches of the rope that you are holding is painted red. That little red section could represent our lives here on earth. So often people spend all of their energy and time on that little section, forgetting what comes after that little part is over.

The Bible says to lay up for ourselves treasures in Heaven. We can live by God’s Word and there will be a final reward. We want to spend the time we have here on earth preparing for eternity. Time is so fleeting. The Bible says life is as a vapor, it will pass away soon. We have the opportunity now to prepare for eternity. The God of Heaven is on our side, helping us to know the statutes He has set forth in His Word, and helping us to live by them. Reach out to Him and He will give you His strength and grace.

apostolic faith magazine