Indeed, Jesus, unlike us, preached the school of the law to those who seemed closest to God, those who already had extensive knowledge of the truth, those who valued God’s law and taught it, and those who seemed committed to living in obedience to God’s commandments.
One of the great weaknesses of evangelical churches today is a serious failure to teach thoroughly the requirements of God’s law.
In other words, what we need in our churches is serious exposition of the kind of righteousness that God and his laws demand. Wherever there is little serious exposition of the school of the law of God, people end up with a devalued understanding of the good news of the gospel.
The law, properly expounded, because it is so beautiful, exposes the ugliness of our sin.
We need to make sure that, rather than beginning with the condemnation of sin, we expound the beauty of righteousness.
We know from Scripture, and it ought to be evident from our own personal experience, that walking in obedience to God’s law brings freedom, blessing, and gladness into our lives. We rejoice that God is good, just, upright, and pure. We rejoice that this holy God has created a moral universe where there is a sure and eternal distinction between good and evil.
We rejoice that this morally righteous God has made us to be finite reflections of his infinite being and that, as a consequence, we are created to imitate him in his goodness. We rejoice that even though we are sinners, Christ has fulfilled the demands of the law for us where we have failed to obey our Creator, Lawgiver, and Judge. We rejoice that as those redeemed by his perfect life and by his offering himself up to death in our place, we are now called to love his law and to be revived by his Spirit as we commit ourselves to obeying his commandments. We rejoice that our Father has promised that through the intercession of his Son, by his Spirit’s power and as we offer ourselves to him as living sacrifices, he will day by day renew us into his likeness in true righteousness and holiness.
This doctrine of common grace has been neglected in many churches of almost all theological traditions.
It should be our prayer that even the brutality of Islamic radical militants will be used by God to cause many Muslims to turn away, sickened by these appalling acts of terrorism, and to find their hope in Jesus Christ.
This moral rule of God is true for every person, both believer and unbeliever.
"For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them..." (Romans 2:14-15 ESV)
There are no moral relativists, in reality. Everyone you or I will ever meet is attracted to some aspect of the beauty of righteousness and will be critical of particular areas of human wickedness. All people are blessed for even a measure of obedience to God’s commandments; and all reap sorrow and destruction for disobedience to God’s laws in this life. This is true whether they are Christians or not.