Perfect Law, Broken Heart

2021-03-07 – Year B – Lent 3 – The Rev. Canon Christopher Klukas
Exodus 20:1-21; Psalm 19:7-14; Romans 7:12-25; John 2:13-22

The Perfect Law of God

  • “After a Sunday school lesson on Ten Commandments, the Sunday school teacher asked the students, “Now, which of the Ten commandments applies to our relationship with our siblings?” A little girl thought for a few moments and brightly replied, “Do not murder.””
  • “…even a fairly general practice of [the Ten Commandments] would lead to a solution of almost every problem of meaning and order now facing Western societies. They are God’s best information on how to lead a basically decent human existence.”
  • Psalm 19:7 “The Law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.”
  • What more needs to be said? So, obey the Ten Commandments!
    • And yet, even the author of Psalm 19 admits to not keeping these commandments (v. 12).

It’s not that Simple

  • Knowing the right thing to do is not the same thing as doing it!
    • Non-sin example: Eat, sleep, exercise.
  • The commandments are an opportunity to examine yourself. 
    • Not just about our outward actions but the condition of our hearts.
    • Sermon on the mount (Matthew 5-7)
      • Matthew 5:27–28
    • When we slow down and prayerfully encounter God’s law, we will find that we all break God’s commandments.
      • Adultry through lust, murder through Anger, taking the Lord’s name in vain by exclaiming “Jesus!” over a stubbed toe or typing “OMG!” in a text message.
  • Keeping God’s law comepletely is hard…impossible
    • Romans 7:15 “I do not do what I want…” Can you identify with this?
    • This can weigh on us heavily!
  • Why not just change the rules if it is so hard to keep them?
    • “Mark Twain [an unlikely theologian!] said if a mule thinks he knows what you want him to do he will do just the opposite, and Twain admitted he was like that himself—often mean for the sake of meanness. But the fault lies not in the ideal but in the man who reacts against it.”
    • The problem is not with the law but with all of us lawbreakers! Sinners.
    • “263. Why are you not able to [keep the law] perfectly? Sin has corrupted human nature, inclining me to resist God, to ignore his will, and to care more for myself than for my neighbors.”
    • Our hearts are broken and oriented towards the wrong objects.
  • This seems a bit hopeless! We are unable to keep the Law, and our lawlessness separates us from God and causes spiritual death! What can we do?

Where can I Turn?

  • Romans 7:24-25 “Who will deliver me from this body of death?” Jesus!
  • “262. How can you obey God’s Law? As I trust in Jesus’ fulfillment of the Law for me and live in the power of the Holy Spirit, God grants me grace to love and obey his Law.”
    • This is a gradual process called “sanctification.”
      • The Holy Spirit convicts
      • We confess and repent
      • The Holy Spirit changes our hearts and strengthens us.
  • “The “interior castle” of the human soul, as Teresa of Avila called it, has many rooms, and they are slowly occupied by God, allowing us time and room to grow…But even this does not detract from the reality of the “kingdom among us.” Nor does it destroy the choice that all have to accept it and bring their life increasingly into it.”
    • Where does God want to grow his kingdom in your “interior castle”?
    • What portion of your life, of your heart, have you not yielded to our King?

“Heavenly Father, you have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you: Look with compassion upon the heartfelt desires of your servants, and purify our disordered affections, that we may behold your eternal glory in the face of Christ Jesus; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

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