The Grace of Law - Gospel in Life

The Grace of Law

Tim Keller |  May 13, 2007

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  • Race
Deuteronomy 1:26-28, 34-36, 41-46
RS 196-01


Deuteronomy is a series of sermons by Moses just as he was about to die, giving the people of Israel a comprehensive look at, now that they had received God’s grace, how they should live. It begins with this story about the children of Israel who had come to the border of Canaan actually 40 years before Moses is preaching these sermons. Because of the report of the spies about the size of the inhabitants and about the danger of going in, they had failed God. They had failed to obey him and listen to him and turned away. It was a great disaster.

This passage teaches us some basic things about who we are and who God is. Here’s what we learn from this passage: 1) what’s wrong with the human heart, 2) two forms wrongness can take, and 3) God’s solution for it.

Deuteronomy 1:26–28, 34–36, 41–46

The story of the Israelites standing on the edge of Canaan shows us how easily we can get scared and disobey God. But it also shows us how God always has a way to help us out. Studying Deuteronomy helps us see how God’s kindness changes us and teaches us to live differently. Looking at these themes can offer useful lessons and bring us joy.

1. The problem with the human heart

The story of Israel’s trip to Kadesh Barnea helps us see our own struggles – we often have a hard time trusting God’s promises and care. When the Israelites sent spies, even though God said it was okay, and then got scared and focused only on themselves, it showed how we often doubt God’s love and kindness. The real issue for us isn’t that we don’t believe in God or in right and wrong, but that we struggle to trust that He is good.

2. Two ways we can go wrong

There are two typical reactions to doing wrong: absolute irreligion, where you totally reject God, and real religion, where you say sorry and try to obey God. But both of these responses show that we have a hard time trusting God, with our guilt and obedience often being more about us than about really being sorry or thankful. True faith, though, is about love, joy, and thankfulness, not fear or self-focus.

3. God’s solution for it

We look at the idea of a covenant, especially the one between God and Abraham, to see how God promised to bless Abraham’s family no matter what, even if it meant God Himself would die. This story shows us how God protects His people, fights their enemies, and reminds us of Jesus’s sacrifice for us. The endless love of Jesus and the freedom we have from guilt because of His sacrifice give us hope and confidence, even when life is tough.



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