The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple (Psalm 19:7,ESV)
-article by James MacDonald, 3/10/2014
God’s Word transforms us. It changes and renovates us. And according to Psalm 19:7, it converts death into life and spiritual ignorance into wisdom.
The word law in “the law of the Lord” translates the Hebrew Torah as the law for life, the rule for living. God’s Word is the absolute norm. His statements are never guesses or suggestions. The Bible is the standard by which every other truth is measured or assessed.
Notice the claim of ownership. Scripture is “the law of the Lord” (emphasis added). God claims clear authorship of His book. Throughout history, people have written and established laws and rules; governments have imposed structure on society. Nations come and nations go, but the Word of God remains—timeless and enduring because it is His.
The verse also describes God’s law as “perfect.” That word perfect literally means all-sided, many-faceted, all-encompassing, and comprehensive. The utter perfection of God’s law is linked to “reviving” (ESV) or “converting the soul” (NKJV). The soul is the inner, immaterial part of you. You are not just primarily a physical person. Part of you is spiritual and will live forever, and that’s the part of you in need of being converted—your soul. God’s Word demonstrates its perfection by making you a new creation.
This transformation is a fascinating, supernatural process, exemplified by “Joe Screwdriver.” This guy invariably appears in churches across North America and is somewhere in the process of life-change. A regular guy who works in his garage, just trying to get by and figure out life, Joe shows up at church—often against his will, at least at first. He begrudgingly attends because he lost a bet with his wife or decided to find out what was going on in her life. But he’s not sure—about any of it.
His body language communicates his resistance. The first week, he sits cross-armed and leans back, observing. Though he is there, he refuses to participate. He projects, I’m not singing. I am flat-out not singing. I may be here, but you can’t make me sing. I’m going to show you I don’t like what’s happening right now.
Yet as much as outer evidence points to the contrary, we begin to see little signs of God at work.
As weeks become months, God’s Word transforms Joe Screwdriver. First, he unfolds his arms. He relaxes. He begins to lean forward. While we watch and pray and wait, we have a front-row view of the conversion process as God softens and changes Joe’s heart.
Just as Psalm 19:7 describes, God’s perfect, powerful law converts an unsaved, unregenerated, uninterested, hardhearted Joe Screwdriver into a new person. His Word spins this man completely around. Joe unfolds his arms and lifts them in praise . . . he unseals his lips and worships the Lord.
God’s Word has the power to transform anyone. He can soften even the hardest heart. The regenerative work in Joe Screwdriver’s life is a process, and it doesn’t end with conversion. God continues to change and sanctify us through His Word.
In what ways can you say, “I’m a different person because of the impact God’s Word has made in my life”? Just as we can trace the effects of Scripture in the lives of others, so we should be able to see the persistent, guiding, transforming work of “the law of the Lord” in our own.