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Understanding Law And The Blessings Attached To Obedience
Part Two of A Three Part HUB
Jacob's wrestle with "a man" is a story of great importance when we understand the message it has for our lives. This is actually part two in a series of three HUBS describing this event. It you want to better understand the teachings of this story as given to us in the bible, please read some foundational background information in Faith Opposed To Fear, How To Overcome Fear (Part 1)
Before we continue discussing the event that occurred in Genesis 32, Jacob's wrestling match, we must explore some additional background principles. The first of those is, understanding LAW.
He Is The Light
In the New Testament we are given several different descriptive titles for Christ, one being "the light." In another book of scripture, one of the four standard works in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Doctrine & Covenants in Section 88, we are given some additional titles that are used to describe Christ:
He that ascended up on high, as also he descended below all things, in that he comprehended all things, that he might be in all and through all things, the light of truth;...
And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings;
God Is Law
This additional insight gives us such titles as, "the power of God", "He that ascended up on high", "He that descended below all things", "the light of truth", and certainly "the law."
With this pivotal insight given to us, that another name for God is Law, we have the ability to trust in His word.
You may argue that the Old Testament is the "book of law", and the New Testament condemns law... stop right there and rethink or ponder this line of reasoning. Knowing what we know about being divided, ("If ye are not one, ye are not mine" etc.) let us reason together, would not one testify of the other. Remember, God is Law. In the Old Testament the Lord gave laws through the prophet Moses, which were good laws (although they were given for a lower spiritual capacity than is required for obedience to the gospel in the fullness.) However, many of the Jewish leaders had added unauthorized provisions, ceremonies, and prohibitions to the original law, until it became extremely burdensome; these were known as "traditions of the elders." By New Testament times among the Jews the law had become so altered it had lost much of its spiritual meaning almost to the point that the law was worshipped more than the Lord. It is this form of the law that is so harshly spoken against by Jesus and by Paul.
Understanding Law is Critical
It is critical for us to understand the principle of law, in order for us to develop the faith unto a surety that will reconcile us to Christ. We must understand this characteristic of God and Christ, one being "law" and the other "law made perfect, by law." This provides us with the ability to have "perfect trust" in Him as we rely completely on his "word" unto the fulfillment of all his promises and covenants.
Old and New Testament Combined
The Old Testament is steeped with teachings about our covenant relationship with God. It wants us to have the foundational background concerning the importance of law. The New Testament then adds to that foundation and teaches us the power of the atonement, by adding the teachings of mercy and grace. One is not without the other, both are undivided. The atonement answers the demands of justice to the law while, the grace and mercy, allows us to apply the conditions of the law. It is just so beautiful, in fact, it is the perfect plan.
Law in Relationship to Blessings
One more final principle of law we need to understand before we can move forward, must be noted here. As shown by the Lord, again in the Doctrine & Covenants, there are promises concerning law.
Doctrine & Covenants Section 130
Example of Laws and Blessings
Laws have blessings attached, full obedience to those laws bind the Lord to provide the blessing attached. It might be concluded that when we desire a blessing from the Lord in our lives, we must simply find the law to which the blessing is attached, then obey. For example, if we want further light and understanding through the gift of revelation, then we must pay tithes and offerings. In Malachi we read:
Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
The Lord with His perfect understanding of law, asks us to "prove" Him. He is explaining to us that he is bound when you do what he says. It is law.
This goes so beautifully with the principle of choice and accountability. Whatever choice we make as far as obedience to law, he is bound by his perfect understanding of law to bless us in the same manner. Obedience brings blessings; non-obedience gives you no promise to the blessings. In other words, he set the terms of the covenant and you have your agency to obey or not. The consequence or blessing is set, the reward is sure, but the ability to receive it is up to you or predicated upon your actions.
Jacob Understood Law
Jacob knew and understood this principle of law very well. He was taught it from the foundations of the world. This understanding of law gave him the ability to call upon his reservoir of faith and cast out all fear unto the perfect knowledge of God.