Romans 8:3-4 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
What is the law?
The world wants to look upon the Bible and see how hard it is to be a Christian. I guess in a way that is fair. Over 600 laws to follow? Yes! (No, not really.) Some tell you how to worship or not worship. Some tell you what you can’t and can’t do on certain days. Some tell you when you can have sex or with whom you can have sex with. It is really fair to say that each of those laws, for any number of reasons, really grates against any number of cultures for any given period of time. Not only do we have laws of the land, but we have these additional laws that looms over us given to us by some Divine Being that may be real or not real.
But okay, there many, many laws and yet I don’t see any of my Christian neighbors sacrificing bulls or goats or pigeons. So, there are laws we get to pick and choose? That is rather convenient.
It is convenient but when we know the entire story, we know it is not that convenient.
Let’s rethink the law. What if the law wasn’t a bunch of rules to follow and if you break any one of them, you will suffer consequences. I know, that is quite true on one level. But what if the laws, in this case the laws of our spirituality, true essence, true purpose and true reality, were not just rules but rather a list that pointed back to the God of the universe.
Go back to Genesis 2.
Genesis 2:15-17 The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
To the average person, that law is pretty straight forward: don’t eat from that freakin’ tree or you will die.
To the mind of the Spirit, that law serves to point back to the Creator God: eat from that freakin’ tree and you will be separated from the One who is life and who gives life.
That singular law, first given to Adam and then passed on to Eve, was not the glue that kept Mankind connected to God but rather, it was God keeping the connection to Man. Here’s the catch: God is without sin. In other words, God can do without traitorous acts against Him. Logically, that makes sense. You oppose God and God can and does do without your opposition. Furthermore, God cannot tolerate sin. It is affront to His character. It is like eating a piece of sushi that has been left out on the counter for 7 days straight. Would you put that into your body? Absolutely not. Likewise with God, sin has no place in his locale. It is not that he is afraid of it, or it’s too much for him to handle or even he is restricted by its power but for the simple fact, he doesn’t have to deal with it. It is not that God is holy because of sin but rather God is holy despite any ounce of sin left in the universe.
Sin is not natural. Therefore, God will move to (technically speaking, has already) eradicated sin. Long before sin was a part of our world and our lives and long after it is no more, God is still holy.
Sometimes we think that as messed up and jacked up as we are, God should let us be with him despite our condition. But by our very messed up nature, we don’t want any part of God or be with God. Be honest with yourself, unbeliever, do you want to be with God? Do you want to live with him? Do you want everything about him. Or do you want him to change even a little bit even though he is eternally perfect and you are far from? Or do you want any good stuff that he might have for you and then not have anything to do with him later on.
Born human, we all want God to change for our behalf. We all want God to give us good stuff and to leave us alone. But, God, in his amazing love, lavishes his love for us all. We all live in his wonderful grace. We get to go to the countryside and breathe in amazing clean air. We get eat delicious foods. We are entertained to our heart’s delight. We get to fall in love, be loved, and love others. We get enjoy sex! We get to marry whomever we want! We get to have kids or not have kids. We get it all.
All these good things come from God. That is his grace and we live in it. We all do.
Then, God sends his law through one man for the rest of the world to come back to him. The world responds, “This is way too hard!” God knows.
Funny thing is that we can treat the law as a giant checklist and we are still not saved. We are as empty as seashells. We might then rebel against the law and figure out something else to do and indulge in and still come up empty.
God sent the law but the law was never meant to save. Oh, it is holy. It is holy because every single one of those laws keeps pointing back to the God who is holy.
Yet, God saves. God sends someone to perfectly fulfill his own law—not for bragging rights but to live the life we were supposed to live and could not. The law only pointed to God. God sends Himself as His Son in the man Jesus Christ. Christ fulfills the law. Christ points to God. Christ tells the world, “This is the way, the truth, and the life. Come this way in order to get to God.” 1
In other words, in order for Man to get to God, God has to be the way to God by the way of God through God by God for God alone.
For the grandiose, lofty, weighty thing that is the law of God, it is terribly weak. On its best day, it saved no one. But then again, the law was never meant to save . But something more grandiose, more lofty, more weighty came into our history—that is the glory of Jesus Christ.
And in all of his splendor and majesty, he made himself to be just like the ones he wanted to save. Not just the human part but everything that comes with humanity—humanity and their sins as well. That was key. Sins have to be removed. Because of the finished work of Christ on the cross, wrath was absorbed, sins were removed, Spirit was poured out, righteousness was made ours, peace was given, adoption was finalized, mercy was renewed, grace abounded, and love flowed freely to his people forever.
Not saved by law. Not saved by a bunch of rules. Not saved in our own power. Not saved by our own efforts. Not saved by our own strength. Saved alone by love—love of the only God who is love. That is love.
- John 14:6 ↩