As Dr. Betts has been lecturing through the Pentateuch, he has highlighted the standard of holiness which God has always required of his people. Leviticus constantly resounds, “Be holy because I, the LORD, am holy.” Dr. Betts has made the point that as the people of God, we ought to be people who are committed to holiness. Through the Mosaic Law God did not position his people as his people. He made them his own unilaterally, through the covenant with Abraham. The Law, then, outlines the parameters for the standard God expects of those bearing his name — the standard he demands of those called by his name.
Often, if we see the Law as regulating Christian behavior, we still see it as a burden. But how did the people of God see it under the Old Covenant?
David calls the Law the perfect, sure, right, pure, clean, true, desirable, and sweet; and as such it , respectively, revives us, wisens us, enlightens us, endures forever, and is righteous.
Here I confess that I have not seen the Law in this way.
But I am starting to.
In a profound sense, we are made right with God by the Cross. And by the Cross only.
When I realize that all of my righteousness stands before God with the merit of cloth dirtied by menstrual bleeding, I make the unbiblical and sometime unconscious connection that radical holiness must not be required of me. I live by grace and faith in the finished and perfect work of the only Law-Keeper.
And I drown out my own desire (and yes God’s desire for me!) for personal holiness.
This explains why the Sermon on the Mount troubles me, with its demands. Because I have wrongly cut my theology into bits which I then stick into unbiblical boxes.
But I have a growing yearning for holiness.
And I want, with all my heart, to believe the words of Jesus:
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
So I pray that the God of righteousness by the Spirit of his Son will make me holy, that I might be satisifed.