Since Eden, God’s church has always been filled with fallible people. The very institution that was supposed to be a witness to God’s righteousness was itself in need of that same righteousness. As the baton passed from generation to generation, no runner was worthy enough to cross the finish line. None who received the law was able to reach its level of righteousness. Humanity, it appeared, was trapped in a wheel of futility in its quest for God’s approval.
However, when it seemed as if all hope was gone, God sent His Son to receive the baton. As the Second Adam, Jesus came to this earth without sin, and through constant devotion to His Father managed to maintain His obedience all the way to the Cross. With His resurrection, Jesus crossed the finish line, for He broke the chain of death. Now, through the power of the Spirit, the resurrected Christ shares His righteousness with every believer. This message, always the center of the covenant promise, was most clearly understood after Jesus completed His earthly ministry, and the New Testament church began.
Unfortunately, the Christian church, even with all this light, proved itself at times less faithful to the covenant than was ancient Israel, and deep apostasy soon took over almost everywhere. The Reformation, beginning in the sixteenth century, started to reverse this trend, but even it faltered, and many false doctrines and teachings have remained in the Christian world, including (as we have seen) wrong views about the role and purpose of the law in the life of New Covenant Christianity. God would call out a remnant people to restore many lost truths.
As we have seen, keeping the commandments of God is God’s appointed way of manifesting true love. In what ways, though, might we be outwardly keeping these commandments but not really manifesting love as we should? Why can’t we really be keeping the commandments if we don’t show love?