Hebrews 12: 18 You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and to burning fire, to darkness, to gloom, to a raging storm, 19 to the sound of a trumpet, and to a voice that spoke. Those who heard the voice asked that not one more word be added, 20 because they could not endure what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned.” 21 The sight was so terrifying that even Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.” (EHV)
In the rest of this chapter, the writer to the Hebrews contrasts the message of the Old Covenant, given on Mt. Sinai, with the message of the New Covenant, which he symbolizes with Mt. Zion. More on that tomorrow（这里似乎指明天更多讲后者）. The Jewish Christians he is writing to were tempted to go back to Mt. Sinai, the Old Covenant, and the Law for the assurance of their salvation. In essence, he begins this comparison by saying, “Do you really want to go back there?” The awesome display of God’s power and holiness from that mountain made the people tremble in fear. Even Moses trembled!
That’s what the Law does. It makes us tremble in fear. It makes us cry out in our hearts, “What must I do to be saved?” It drives us to our knees and makes us so aware of our sinfulness that we bow our heads and say, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” We need to hear that law so that we do not become proud or complacent, but we cannot put our trust in the law to be saved. The law will never make us feel safe or at peace with God. Only the Gospel can do that.
A lot of Reformed and evangelical preaching today focuses more on the law than the gospel. They turned to the law because it is the law that changes our behavior. But when the law is your motivation for change, you are really saying that God doesn’t love you until you measure up. In the end, you feel uncertain, frightened, and in despair. Remember what words began this letter? “In these last days, God has spoken to us through his Son.” Only the gospel can save, comfort, and change us.
Tullian Tchividjian said, “Legalism says God will love us if we change. The Gospel says God will change us because he loves us.” You can visit Mt. Sinai, but dwell on Mt. Zion. Prayer: Heavenly Father, I know that the law is good, and that you use it to keep me humble and repentant at heart. But do not speak to me from Mt. Sinai. Speak to me from Mt. Zion, with the blessed message of the gospel, with the assurance that my sins are forgiven in Christ. Then, by the power of the gospel, change my heart and change me. Amen.