We must not let Jesus’ parable be trapped in its first century context. God consistently puts people in our path, in less dire circumstances, to do good to them, to love them as God has loved us. Like our subjection to the governing authorities, we do good not out of a fear of wrath but out of love for God and our neighbor. For, God is love, and in his love “he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
Consider our passage today in Leviticus. He who is holy calls his people to be holy, like Father like child, a set apartness of and for God. What follows is a less succinct almost lyrical expansion of the Ten Commandments, an elaboration on what it means to love God and examples of what it looks like to love our neighbor. For example, it may surprise us to find that despite the thousands of years that separate us from ancient Israel, how Israel is commanded to love their neighbor is remarkably relevant for us today. So, if I too may summarize, loving our neighbor means loving generously, honestly, equitably, justly, and reasonably.
What is Paul’s opinion of the law of God? On the one hand, he says the law incites transgression (5:20), constrains liberty (7:1), arouses sin (7:5), and promises life but proves death (7:10). But on the other hand, he says, “the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good” (7:12). How can this be? Is Paul confused?
How does the truth of God’s Word set us free? Consider this: It is through God’s Word that we know the gospel of Jesus Christ. For example, God’s Word reveals the truth that we are sinners by nature and evidenced by thought, word, and deed (Rom. 3:23).
The remedy for murder of head, heart, or hand then is love: “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers” (1 John 3:16).
Do you seek to set your mind on things that are above, rather than earthly things (Col. 3:2)? Do you long to delight yourself in the Lord (Ps. 37:4), to be nourished on His means of grace and grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 3:18)? Do you long to dwell in the house of the Lord, living with Him all the days of your life (Ps. 27:4)? “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. …[for] the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”
Success in this world does not equate to success in the next, “many who are first will be last, and the last first.” Therefore, let us not glory in this present darkness but delight in the glory to come, where Christ shall reign upon his glorious throne.