Ninth Sunday after Trinity – Tuesday
I will run the way of Thy Commandments when Thou shalt enlarge my heart. —Psalm 119:32.
No man as he is by nature delights in doing according to God’s commandments; neither, indeed, can he, for sin has taken possession of him (Romans 3:11-18; 8:7-8).
But it is quite different with one who is justified through faith in Christ. Such a one knows that he is loved by God. Even though the Law exposes also the sinfulness of true Christians (Romans 3:19-20), and that grieves him in his heart, yet he knows that God loves him, and that the Lord views him as holy through the righteousness of Christ. And his heart becomes enlarged in view of this great and wonderful grace of God. His heart is filled with consolation, and being comforted, it opens wide toward God and the love of God towards him; and in a heart thus comforted and opened, love for God shines forth, the love towards Him who loved him first (I John 4:19). And then, yes, then man begins to run the way of God’s Commandments. “I will run the way of Thy Commandments when Thou shalt enlarge my heart.”
God-pleasing obedience on the part of a Christian is moved by love, not by the threats of God’s punishment. Within the justified sinner there is a new law, the law of love to God; he is mightily impelled by the Spirit of Christ. And the love of Christ constrains him (II Corinthians 5:14)—it is a sweet compulsion—to do what is well-pleasing to Christ, to God.
The Holy Ghost thus writes the Law of God in his very heart and mind (Jeremiah 31:33), so that he knows the will of God, and he really, truly, wants to do it. The Gospel of grace and justification through faith in Christ is the means, the only means, and the strong and sure means, through which man becomes desirous of doing according to God’s Commandments.
My dear Christian, do you not know this from experience? Then understand what this means: “I will run the way of Thy Commandments when Thou shalt enlarge my heart.”
PRAYER – O Lord, this is my life and my only consolation, that Thou daily and richly forgivest all my sins, justifying me, a poor sinner, for Jesus Christ’s sake. How great, O God, is Thy love and Thy compassion, which Thou hast promised me in the Gospel. My poor heart can hardly realize it. But, O Lord, I love Thee and delight in Thy Commandments after the inward man. O that I might love and serve Thee better! Help Thy poor child – O faithful God – help me! Amen.
O Love, who thus hast bound me fast
Beneath that easy yoke of Thine;
Love, who hast conquered me at last,
Enrapturing this heart of mine
– O Love, I give myself to Thee,
Thine ever, only Thine, to be.
Hymn 397, 4. (TLH)