What is it about Christ and His work that would cause us now to despise or ignore what was the focal point of delight in the lives of Old Testament saints? Perhaps it’s the assumption that the Old Testament law is no longer relevant to New Testament Christians and has no bearing upon our Christian growth. We reason that the law was for Old Testament believers, not for us today. To us, the Christian life is Christ, not Moses; it’s gospel, not law.
We are much more likely to hear Christians voice depths of passion with exclamations such as “Oh, how I love You, Jesus!” or “Oh, how I love You, Lord!” But how might the Lord Jesus respond to these sentiments? His words to the nascent church are likely the same words He would speak to us today: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15).
For a Christian to say, “I once loved the law, but now I love Christ and ignore the law,” is simply not to love Christ, because Christ loved the law. His meat and His drink, the Scriptures tell us, was to do the will of the Father (John 4:34). Jesus viewed His entire life as a mission to fulfill every single point of the law and to achieve perfect obedience to the commandments of God. His motive was not to keep a list of rules but to do the will of the Father. And the Father clearly expresses His will through His law.
Throughout Psalm 119, there is a constant interchange between the words “law” and “word.” Christians today may speak in glowing terms of their affection for the Word of God, but we have a tendency to divorce the Word of God from the law of God. However, that dichotomy is not evident in this psalm, where throughout we see the psalmist reciting his affection repeatedly both for the law and for the Word of God. Why did the psalmist love the law of God so much?
The first thing to note is that the law expressed God’s commandments, that which He wanted His people to do. When kings, presidents, leaders, or others who sit in seats of authority utter a directive, their word is not to be challenged. They are the final court of appeals, so there is no room for discussion. Their word is law.
Has anything changed about God that we would disregard His directives? Is His word still law? Is He still as sovereign as He was in the Old Testament? Is the God of Israel and of the New Testament church a commandment-giving God? His word is law, and His law is His word, because His law expresses His will. And that will, that law, is sweeter than honey (Ps. 119:103).