For Ladies: Living The Law - Psalm 119

Imogene D. Aebi

God has always expected His people to keep His law – both those under the law of the Old Testament and now those under the New Testament law. Psalm 119 begins by promising blessings on those who “walk in the law” (vs. l), and “walk in His ways” (vs.3). “Living the Law” means a daily manner of life that reflects the principles listed there. What was involved in living the law as it was expressed by the writer of Psalm 119, and how does that apply to us as we live the law of the New Testament? 

Living the Law means studying and keeping it (Psalm 119:15, 16, 23, 31, 48, & 148). Much emphasis in Psalm 119 is placed on regularly keeping and meditating on the statutes of the Lord. “Meditating” as used in these Psalms consists of studying or thinking on the law to better understand its meaning. The New Testament speaks specifically of our need to study and keep the law of Christ. Study is required to become unashamed workmen (2 Timothy 2:15). Keeping God’s word is what Jesus meant in Matthew 7:21—not just lip service, but doing the will of the Father.

Teaching God’s Law is emphasized in Psalm 119:13, 46, & 172. Here the writer clearly includes in his manner of living, the teaching of the Law. In the same way, teaching the law of Christ is a vital part of our living His law. Paul speaks of his obligation and readiness to teach the message of the Gospel to Rome in Romans l:15-17. Jesus commanded in the great commission the teaching of all He had commanded the apostles to all nations in Matthew 28:19-20. Hebrews 5:12 indicates the need to grow so we can teach and not just be taught over and over again the first principles of the Gospel. One may think of teaching as a separate topic, but, for the Christian, teaching God’s law is so much a part of his way of life that Luke tells us when the disciples (excluding the apostles) were scattered from Jerusalem by Saul’s persecution, “those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word” (Acts 8:4). For us, as Christian women, living the law necessarily involves teaching the law.

Not being ashamed of God’s law is a part of living the law in Psalm 119:46, 116. The Psalmist talks about being bold to speak about the law and not being ashamed of the message. Instead, he will speak out and not be afraid of rejection, even though he knows it will often come. There is much admonition in the New Testament concerning our not being ashamed of the gospel – both to teach it and to live it. Jesus, in Mark 8:38, warns us about being ashamed of Him and His word, and Peter said we should not be ashamed to suffer as Christians (1 Peter 4:16). It has always been much easier to avoid embarrassment and ridicule by blending into the culture in which we live rather than speaking up for Christian values and actions. 

Being faithful under persecution is a part of living the law mentioned in Psalm 119:51, 61, 69, 86, 87, 95, 141, 157, & 161. God’s people have suffered and continue to suffer persecutions in many forms, ranging in severity from unjust criticism and ridicule to physical harm and even death. The New Testament tells us that we will suffer persecution in various ways if we keep God’s law. Living the law also means that we will not lose our faith when we are persecuted, even if it means death. 2 Timothy 3:12 warns that “… all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”

Many other things are a part of living God’s law, like avoiding evil and choosing good (Psalm 119:3, 63; Romans 12:9), being truthful (Psalm 119:29-30, 163; Colossians 3:9), and avoiding covetousness (Psalm 119:36-37; Luke 12:15). We are under the law of Christ, which speaks to every phase of our lives, and we surely must live Christ’s law if we expect God to be pleased with us as His servants. -2660 Layman Rd., Vincent OH 45784.

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