What I Read Today;
Genesis 7-9; Psalm 3; Matthew 3; Romans 3
Paul spends a lot of time in Romans 3, discussing the Law. There is much dispute today about what the Law is to be used for.
Some say it is to be used to keep score. Do enough good things, and you get points. If you do enough bad things, then you subtract points.
We also like to put a sliding scale on the things we’ve done wrong. Something that is technically wrong but doesn’t hurt anyone gets fewer points off than someone who commits a murder.
I think we miss the point if we look at Romans 3 vs. 1-20 in that light. When Paul gets to verses 9-20, he is describing our spiritual condition.
You see, God is holy. Imperfection cannot be found in his presence. Each time we see a person come into God’s presence throughout the Bible, that person would express terror in his presence. Terror from the knowledge that he was a sinner. God would then have to “make” that person holy to overcome that person’s fear. Even Moses was only allowed to see the back of God.
It is almost like we have spiritual Ebola. Ebola is the insidious disease that has spread through Africa. It is so infectious that doctors can’t go in to treat the patients without Hazmat suits on. Ebola is so deadly is that the bodies of the victims remain infectious, long after the person has died. Because of this, the CDC recommends bodies be cremated to ensure the infection is completely destroyed. Aid workers must follow detailed instructions to the letter to ensure that they aren’t exposed to the disease. Sadly, following those rules is incredibly tricky. Missing the tiniest of steps can infect the worker. Unfortunately, more than one aid worker has inadvertently become infected and lost his or her life.
Sadly, there is no known cure for Ebola, and the mortality rate is 90%.
Researchers continue looking for a cure for Ebola, but to date, none has been found.
The Law of God points out to each one of us that we are carriers of the disease called sin. It’s in our DNA. It’s a viral, infectious disease for which there was no known cure. Like Ebola, the only way to survive in God’s presence is to perfectly follow all of God’s Laws. That means both the intent of the Law and the letter of the Law. Since God could only have perfect people in his presence, we were separated from God. The problem is that we simply can’t follow his rules to the letter. Our sinful human nature will not allow us to be perfect.
But God had a cure. It’s called Grace!
Jesus gave us the gift of his life. His gift provided us the medication, which would allow us to remove the infection and enter God’s presence. Grace would be administered at Cross and offered freely as a gift to sinful humanity. Grace is the cure for the sinful condition of our souls. It ends the tyranny of our guilty conscience. Grace is the rock that crushes Satan when he attempts to remind us of our pasts. Grace is the ointment that we put on when we enter into the very presence of a Holy God, and he welcomes us as long lost children, not wretched sinners.
Grace is the antidote for the disease called Sin.
Sadly, humanity still rejects the notion that we need a cure. Many look at the Law and say it no longer has a purpose. They believe that holiness isn’t something to be strived for. Some think that we’ve grown past the antiquated notion that we should love God, do good, and do no harm. Some believe that trying to live a God-pleasing life isn’t necessary.
But doesn’t that cheapen grace?
If the Law doesn’t matter, then grace is no longer needed. If we aren’t infected by the disease called sin, then why do we need a cure called grace?
The law matters because of the price that he paid to cure the disease. The law matters because instead of being a rulebook to be followed or a fearsome mirror to look into, the Law has become a guide to a new way of living. A way of living a life out of thanksgiving to a God who has provided us with a cure at no cost to us.
Thanks be to God that he paid that price!