Text:    Deuteronomy 7:11

As the Elect of God, the law was given to the Israelites to assist them in their Covenantal relationship with God. God choose them as His own and redeemed them from bondage in Egypt, not because they merited it but because of His love and the fulfilment of His covenant with their progenitors: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. As God is God of love who showered His benevolence on the people of Israel, He is also God of wrath and anger as He cannot tolerate unrighteousness. In order to help His covenantal people to avoid sins, unrighteousness and ungodliness, he gave them the law in form of commandments, statutes and judgements. Whenever the Israelites kept his law, He blessed them and when they did otherwise He judged them. The kindness of God was so great that He raised several prophets to warn the Israelites of the consequences of their failure to keep the Law.

The purpose of the Law was to restrain evil by enlightening the people of God about lawlessness and judgement of God. It was to reveal the knowledge of sins and short comings. Also, it was given to reveal to His people His nature and requirements. It was to keep them from harm. In short the Law was to guide His people into personal and community holiness.

Unfortunately, the law fell short in making man holy. It has no power to change the heart of man. The reason man was still in bondage to sin until the son of God came to set us free. The death of Jesus Christ is fulfilment of the Law and through Him man received righteousness. Everyone who accepts Jesus Christ as his Lord and saviour is imputed the righteousness of Christ and thereby become righteous before God.

However, that we are in Christ and has been made righteous before God does not suggest we can live anyhow. Jesus Himself set before us His own law which is the summary of the entire Old Testament laws and statutes. “Then one of them, which was a lawyer asked him…which is the great commandment in the Law? Jesus said unto him, thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets”  (Matthew 22:35-40).   To love God is to worship Him alone, give Him honour due to His name and obey His words.  Jesus said “man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God”. (Matt. 4:4). Making the word of God of no effect in our lives is disregarding God.

According to Matthew 5-7, it is required of every Christian to be poor in spirit, meek, hunger and thirst for righteousness, merciful, pure in heart, peace maker. Not be of anger, not to lust, not to divorce, not to retaliate, but to love his enemies and not to renege on his /her vows. He /she is to give to the needy, to be prayerful and to fast. He is not to store up treasures on earth, and not to judge others. The Holy Spirit is there for us to help us in keeping the law.

There are blessings for those who keep to God’s word and fulfilled His commandments. The lawless also will be judged.  Matthew 5:19-20 says “Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches other to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practice and teaches this commands will be great in the kingdom of heaven for I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven”.

 

Very Revd Wale Adebiyi Ph.D

The Provost

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