“The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart…”
AMONG church attendees there are two kinds of people, those who see God’s law as constraining, others which see it as liberating. That is because they make a distinction between God’s Word and God’s Law that the Bible never makes. God’s law reveals God’s will and nature. We do not make up our own standard of obedience once we are saved by grace. That standard has never changed, nor will it ever.
The human heart by nature is opposed and hostile to God’s laws (Rom. 8:7). After regeneration the laws that they once hated are written upon their heart by the flaming pen of the Holy Spirit and He ignites a love for God’s written Word that they did not have before (2 Cor. 3:3). God’s law before and after salvation reveals sin in our lives (Rom. 3:20), but we come to love the law of God because when it exposes our sin, it leads us to Christ over and over again. The same external law that led us as a schoolmaster to Christ for salvation (Gal. 3:24), acts now as the internal law that reveals his perfect will and leads us to Him as the Lover of our souls (Rom. 7:22; 8:2)!
When God exposes our error and sin, the Bible promises, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9). The word “confess” or homologeo according to Dr. Ken Wuest is not just to freely admit our sins but in the Greek it is in the “present subjunctive, meaning continuous action. This teaches the constant attitude of the saint toward sin should be one of a contrite heart, ever eager to have any sin in the life discovered for him by the Holy Spirit and ever eager to confess it and put it out by the power of that same Holy Spirit.” We are liberated to confess our sins, repent and with tearful joy knowing that our fellowship with Christ is growing each time as he delights to forgive us. Glory to God!
Now the word statutes in today’s culture refers to the policy that prohibits something or permits something. In the Hebrew language in Psalm 19:8 statutes comes from a root word which teaches that God is paying attention and overseeing how He wants things ordered. His Sovereign grace is at work in our becoming more holy and Christlike. This verse teaches that God orders and oversees his law in all of it facets especially those of the heart and our relationship to Him. He is tending and gardening the soil of our hearts through the sharp blade of his Word (Heb 4:12). He plants the seed of the Word (Mt 13:37) and sustains it by the water of the Word (Eph 5:26) and that makes our hearts fertile and productive for him (1 Cor 3:6-7).
These statutes are right. What He says, He has every right to say because He is Creator and King. God is God. Those who believe his Word are orthodox, those who do not are heterodox. Simply put one is right and one is wrong. As Christians we believe the Bible is right, it is the settled and established policy of heaven. It is the rule that rules our lives. Unlike relativists or humanists we believe that God has given us those rules as our absolute truth and sole authority.
These statutes are so right and just and equal that obeying them brings great joy to the heart. A person who is a Christian does have a fear of God, for sure, yet they need not live under the threat of penalties for not doing God’s will. Instead, they trust in the law of God as a prescription for health. He provides through his statutes the internal understanding and motivation to do God’s will as he directly communicates with us, “I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.” (Heb. 8:10). When the Word is in the heart it affects the thoughts and emotions. Because they are written on our heart they provide the desire and the ability to act upon God’s will (Phil 2:12, 13). They bring rejoicing of heart, a joy of heart that has a clear conscience knowing we are going the right way, heading in the right direction.
God calls us to serve him for his own sake. He is our motivation and we love his laws. We serve Christ for Christ. We love and serve God because he is worthy and has given us worthy laws that propel us to be zealous of good works (Titus 2:14).