“For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. Galatians 2:19 (NIV).
The ancient Biblical law – the laws of Moses, the Old Testament, and the prophets – makes us conscious of how we can’t keep the law. Because of that, we desperately need Jesus, who kept the law perfectly on our behalf. Seminaries teach endless courses on this concept; whole churches have been both built up and broken apart over it; doctoral dissertations have explored the complexities and nuances of this and all the rich history of the ancient laws of Moses. We’re trying to understand a little of it here today.
Think of it in terms of American law: you and I are always in violation of some part of it. Hard as we try, we can’t adhere to every letter of it. Even if you are a ‘law-abiding’ citizen, there is at least some kind of civil code, HOA stipulation, school or Federal regulation, civic law, or some kind of misdemeanor where, at a minimum, we’re skirting legality. For example, according to https://taxfoundation.org, there are over 70000 pages just in the US tax code. There are hundreds of thousands of more pages when you add in local, state, and Federal laws and regulations. Even the most innocuous citizen is always in violation of something.
Through the law, you’re guilty. Using the law as the benchmark you’re busted. Good as imprisoned. Convicted. You get the picture.
Now think of that as the Old Testament law. The Ten Commandments, given by God Himself, were manipulated into hundreds of day-to-day behavioral restrictions on what you could and couldn’t do, say, or even think. Very few people understood all of it, and (like our American laws), nobody could obey all of it.
Only God could make that right. Once people gave up living to please men and lived only to please God, the law no longer mattered. We became dead to the law of Moses, convicted by it and freed from the unnecessary constraints it imposed. Romans 6 reminds us that Jesus ‘died to sin,’ meaning He permanently broke the judicial link between our sins and death. Sin – and the law that would eternally convict us of sinful guilt – would no longer reign over the follower of Jesus. We get to now be faithfully bound to a new law of liberty, freely accepting the gift of free salvation that is freely won and freely given by Christ. We are still regularly made aware of sin through remembering this law that Jesus kept perfectly on our behalf. But He received our legal punishment, under the old law, to free us from the chains it imposed.
For further reading: Romans 6:10-11, Romans 7:4, 2 Corinthians 5:15, James 1:23-25, Galatians 2:20
Lord, all praise to You for keeping the law perfectly and freeing us from it.
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