Therefore I Love Your Commandments

Commenting on Psalm 119:128, English pastor Charles Bridges describes the love God’s servants in Christ have for the Word of God now by the grace of God:

“Let me attempt to give a reason to myself of the high estimation in which I hold it, as infinitely transcending those things, which the world venture their all — even their temporal happiness — to obtain.

1. Because while the world and my own heart have only combined to flatter me, they [the commandments] have discovered to me my real state, as a self-deceived (Rom. 7:9), guilty (James 2:10), defiled (Rom. 7:14) sinner before God: because they have been as a ‘schoolmaster to bring me to Christ’ (Gal. 3:24) — the only remedy for sin, the only rest for my soul.

2. I love them; because they have often supplied wholesome reproofs in my wanderings, and plain directions in my perplexity.

3. I love them; because they restrict me from that which would prove my certain ruin.

Should I not love them?  Can gold, yea, fine gold, offer to me blessings such as these?  Can it heal my broken heart?  Can it give relief to my wounded spirit?  Has it any peace or prospect of comfort for me on my death-bed?  And what cannot — what has not — what will not — the precious word of God do at that awful season of trial?”

The psalmist goes on to describe not only his love for God’s Word but his hatred for “every false way”.  Surely this is an apt description of Jesus.  And it is a description of the increasing thought and practice of all united to Him by grace through faith.  Bridges goes on to write of the connection between the love of God’s Word and the hatred of sin:

“How beautiful is it to see the leaven of grace pervading the whole man! In the fervor of his heart he loves the commandments even above fine gold; but yet his love will abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment (Phil. 1:9)… If my hatred of sin is sincere, I shall hate it more in my own house than abroad; I shall hate it most of all in my own heart…”

Here is evidence of union with Christ, of the work of the God of grace in a sinner – that he or she loves the Word of God more than anything else and hates everything contrary to it.  It is a work of grace and a matter of faith to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus through the Word of God and to love it more than anything this world can offer, while also growing to hate every false way (Heb. 11:24-26), beginning within ourselves.       

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