I’ve been reading through the Old Testament in my yearly Bible reading and am currently in Deuteronomy. At the same time, our church is going through a series on the Sermon on the Mount from Matthew chapters 5-7.
I have been trying to memorize the Sermon on the Mount in short sections as they are preached each week. This gives me from January – June to learn the three chapters, using weeks where we have our Missions Festival or Easter services to review and catch up. Many of these verses are familiar, so it hasn’t been too hard to memorize, and it’s been such a beneficial exercise to have these verses being written in my heart and called to mind during the activities of daily life.
It is interesting to be reading about the Law in the Old Testament and then studying Jesus’ teaching to His disciples in the New Testament. Jesus gives us a higher standard in our personal relationships in His Sermon on the Mount. “You have heard that it was said…” [giving some command from the law, such as “you shall not murder” or “you shall not commit adultery,” etc.], “but I say to you…” [a new and higher way for that law is given, such as likening anger with murder or lust with adultery, etc.].
As I’ve read through the Old Testament Law, with its many details, and about the sacrificial system in place then, how thankful it makes me for Jesus! Through the Law, we see that we are sinners, that we could never keep it perfectly! We sin, intentionally and unintentionally. And Jesus became our single sacrifice for sin (Hebrews 10:1-18)! He came to earth, took our punishment for sin in His death on the cross, and rose again that we might have new life in Him. It was a complete and finished work that He did on our behalf. Through faith in Jesus, we can be born into new life in Him.
Jesus not only provided salvation from sin and death through His death on the cross and His resurrection, but He also gives His Holy Spirit to those who believe to help them know how to live and follow Him. We obey, not out of sheer commands to do so, but out of the joy and delight in Who He is and what He has done for us!
I’m also reading a parenting book right now called Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus. It contrasts the law and grace and our children’s need to understand grace and the gospel of Jesus Christ as the way through which they find life. It shows how rules can build a law-based method of parenting that keeps our children from understanding this lavish love and grace of God by which we are saved. I’m only 80 pages into it, but it echoes so much of what I believe, and challenges how much I act otherwise with my own children at times!
So these are some thoughts I’ve been pondering as I read lately. They are not too well developed here. I’m finding when I read several chapters of the Bible at a time (as when reading through the Bible in a year), I don’t spend as much time meditating on small portions of Scripture, but I do love getting the overall themes and tracing different concepts through the Bible as I read. What a beautiful Word God has given to us in the Scriptures! Thank you, Jesus.
Romans 3:19-20 “Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, that every mouth may be closed, and all the world may become accountable to God; because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.”
Romans 3:23-24 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.“
Galatians 3:24-26 “Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.”