What are some of the rules that you have to obey? Rules at school? Rules at home?
Rules can keep us from being bad but they can’t change our hearts. Only love and grace can change our hearts. Here’s how Paul says it to his friend Timothy:
1 Timothy 1:8-9. 8 Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 9 understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient…
Timothy was a pastor in the city of Ephesus. And he was Paul’s student. And as a pastor, Timothy really wanted the people in his church to obey God.
But how do you get people to obey God?
Some people think that the way to get people to obey God is to load them up with all of God’s rules. And yes, as we already said, rules can make us obey God. But God (and Paul) wants us to obey because we love God not just because we heard a rule, or are afraid of being punished for disobeying a rule.
Paul tells Timothy not to use the law on the “just.” The “just” are the people who are already Christians. They have been made “just” or righteous because they are connected to Jesus and his perfect life. Instead Paul tells Timothy to use the law (the rules) on the “lawless and disobedient.” Why? Because the law is really good at showing us how bad we are. And that is the first thing we need to know – that we are bad. Then we can run to Jesus to make us good by his forgiveness and grace.
You see people who are Christians shouldn’t be motivated to obey God from a law or a list of rules. They should be motivated to obey God from his great love for us in Jesus and his death on the cross.
Do you obey God? What makes you obey him? Is it a list of rules, or is it his great love for you?
With Jesus our answer can and should always be love not law.
Because of Jesus we are no longer guilty under his laws.
With Jesus we can obey God from love alone.
DO SOMETHING TOGETHER
Zootopia is a great movie for seeing law and love side by side. Judy Hopps has to learn to love Nick Wilde and not just love the law.
I love your love for me. Help me to obey you from that love and not just from fear of breaking your rules.
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