One of the interesting traits about God is that He always outgives us.  In Genesis, as Abraham’s faith rises from himself to the world, and from the realm of human possibilities to the God-alone possibilities, God continues to outpace him.  Promises are added or expanded.  New names are given to him and to his wife.  Instead of being the father of a people, he will now be the father of many peoples.  Multiplied, Abraham’s seed will become “as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore” and, in particular, one Seed will “possess the gate of his enemies” (Gen. 22:17).  With such a subtle shift in pronoun, so common to Hebrew, the Spirit has pointed to the Son of Abraham, Jesus Christ (Mt. 1:1; cf. Gal. 3:16).[1]  In this way, the vision expands into “precious and magnificent promises” (2 Pt. 1:4).

This Seed reappears in David’s covenant.  Now promised an eternal throne and an everlasting Seed to sit on the throne, David enters the temple to worship.  In great humility and awed wonder at the astounding grace of God, David exclaims, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that You have brought me this far?” (2 Sam. 7:18).  And if only David had kept this attitude, he would not have strayed from the line of duty, stayed in Jerusalem, and betrayed his God with Bathsheba.  The greater sin was not done against the woman or her husband, but against God, who tells him, significantly, “It is I who anointed you king over Israel and it is I who delivered you from the hand of Saul.  I also gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your care, and I gave you the house of Israel and Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added to you many more things like these!” (2 Sam. 12:7-8; cf. Ps. 51:4).  In light of the great grace of God, both past and promised in the future, how foolish and unnecessary is our sin, and how insulting to God (cf. Rom. 1:21)!

In David’s first prayer and better frame of mind, he appears to have had an insight into the larger significance of the covenant.  He exclaims, “This is the law of humanity!” (2 Sam. 7:19).  In an extensive evaluation of this simple Hebrew phrase, one scholar concluded that it referred to the coming Son of David, acting as the king of Israel was always meant to act, namely, as the model citizen, embodying the Torah of the Lord (cf. Dt. 17:14-20; Ps. 40:8).[2]  In other words, the Law of God would no longer be embedded in stone but embodied in the Son.  Moreover, this embodiment of living Torah would be the standard for all of humanity, even as this Son would reign over all the world forever.  In a sense, the Law now becomes, “Learn of Me” (Mt. 11:29).

Huge implications follow from this Davidic insight.  No longer is the written Law of God the only means for giving us the knowledge of sin (Rom. 3:20).  Such knowledge can now come from a close examination of the life of Christ, as in a new mirror (cf. 2 Cor. 3:18; Jas. 1:23-25).  Apparently, such a view brought A. W. Pink to a conviction of his sin.  Moreover, Christ Himself becomes the standard for Christians.  In the old question about the third use of the Law, the debate takes a new twist—yes, the righteous requirement of the Law is still the goal (Rom. 8:4), but the means is no longer the embedded Law but the embodied Law (cf. 2 Cor. 3:6).  As we are led by the Spirit and walk in the Spirit, we are filled with the very Spirit of Christ, who is the true fullness of the Law and all that man was ever meant to be.  Surely, this adds fresh possibilities to such phrases as “the law of Christ” (1 Cor. 9:21, the law that is Christ?) and “you did not learn Christ in this way” (Eph. 4:20).

In addition to Christian living, the universal law of Christ, embodied in His life and given to us now through His Spirit, becomes the standard for education.  Instead of virtue, what the pagans considered to be the model of manhood, we now have Christ, who is set against the elements of this world as seen in philosophy and tradition (Col. 2:8).  As Christian educators, we preach Christ, both as crucified and as Lord (Col. 1:28; 1 Cor. 1:23; 2 Cor. 4:6).  In Him, we have all the fulness that we need for both salvation and righteous living.  And is He not again both the model and the motive?  Who can sin when our eyes are fixed on Him who is the outpouring of the outgiving love of God?  If God’s kindness leads us to repentance (Rom. 2:4), then where does God’s Son Himself lead?

[1] According to Jack Collins, when זֶרַע refers to “posterity”, the pronouns are always plural, but when it refers to a specific individual, the singular appears (as reported in Peter J. Gentry and Stephen J. Wellum, Kingdom through Covenant: A Biblical-Theological Understanding of the Covenants [Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2012], 288).  It is to these authors that I owe the insight regarding our outgiving God and Abraham.  Similarly, in response to Peter’s boast of leaving all, Jesus spoke of receiving “a hundred times as much,” even in this life (Mk. 10:30).

[2] See Gentry and Wellum, Kingdom through Covenant, 399-400.