Why I love God’s law as a Gentile Christian
by Felix Alexander
Bill Muehlenberg, a Christian writer based in Melbourne, wrote about the love of God’s law on his blog today. It inspired me to write the following comment, which I include here in edited form.
I have struggled to understand what “faith” is since I first started to investigate the Christian claims.
If you ask atheists, they’ll tell you that “faith is believing things without any evidence at all—just because someone told you so”. Well, should I trust an atheist?
If you ask a Christian, they’ll tell you that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for”. But that doesn’t tell me anything. If I have faith in God, does that mean that God hopes that I have faith in him, and I assure him of that by having faith in him? Or what?
So I looked up the Greek word for “faith” while I was reading through the psalms. And I saw that the word is “pistis” and it also means “trust”. And I also saw in the psalms how much the psalmists love God’s law—and Paul also calls the Law a blessing to those it’s come to.
And I realised: If I trust God, and if God created the whole universe for us, and he’s talked to us, then surely when he’s said that something’s wrong, he isn’t just arbitrarily forbidding something: He knows it’s best if we don’t do that.
I don’t have to know why looking lustfully after a girl is just as bad as adultery—a crime so bad it warranted death in the Israelite theocracy, and a frame of mind so distorted that you can’t be an adulterer and still inherit the kingdom of God. But God told me that “a man who lustfully looks at a women has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matt 5:28), and told the Israelites that they must not “covet [their] neighbor’s wife” (Ex. 20:17), and caused Job’s “covenant with [his] eyes not to look lustfully at a girl” to be recorded in the Scripture (Job 31:1).
So I trust God on that. God designed the universe, he said it’s wrong, surely it’s wrong. Time would more fruitfully be spent trying to uncover why it’s wrong, than the more common practice of trying to prove so many of the moral commandments are wrong because apparently it’s natural for this or that person to do this or that. If I were a moral philosopher, I’d love to spend my time finding out why God’s law is best.
Now, I struggle continuously to obey the Lord. It doesn’t come naturally to me yet. But I also try not to justify my sinfulness, but admit it to myself and to God and—when I can control my pride—to others. I make no claim to being perfect, but I trust that God knows what’s best: going through the research that’s already been done, weighing it and analysing it, and even starting new research programs.
So of course I’ll follow God’s law if I love him. I’m not better than him; I don’t come close to equalling him. I wasn’t there when he laid the earth on its foundations, and I don’t understand its whole breadth. But I love him, and I trust him, and I love that he’s told me the best way to live my life, and given me so many lessons to learn in a collection of books so full of wisdom.