“Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness,
and your law is truth.” – Psalm 119:142
“Your law is truth.” We aren’t used to thinking like this. We think of laws as rules, so how can rules be truth? We read our own assumptions about what laws are back into the text and thus can’t really hear the text. We need a deeper vision of God’s law to understand what the psalmist is getting at here.
God’s commands are truth because they reveal reality, and they guide us in the path of true human flourishing. God’s law is truth because it co-inheres with what really brings life. God’s law is truth because it warns us away from paths that would lead us astray into death and destruction, for ourselves and others (even while promising life). God’s law is truth because it tells us the truth about life, and the path to true flourishing.
As Dallas Willard said, “The law is never the source of righteousness, but it is forever the course of righteousness.” That is, God’s law is the path we walk as justified people who have been co-crucified with Christ. God’s commands are the path of our participation in Christ and the mode of our transformation into Christlikeness.
It’s a bit like a dare: Try living your life this way and see what happens! That’s trusting Jesus: putting his teaching into practice. We participate in his life not by merely thinking about his teaching or articulating an understanding of how formation works, but by actually walking the path of God’s commands. By actually putting Jesus’ teaching into practice in concrete, practical ways.
God’s law is truth (especially and specifically as interpreted and proclaimed by Jesus)! It reveals to us the true nature of reality, and illuminates the path of true human flourishing. So we walk it out, not because we’re afraid of punishment if we don’t “follow the rules,” but because we trust the One who is guiding us, that he knows what’s best for us, wants what’s best for us, and is able to accomplish what’s best for us.