So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. — Galatians 3:24
After their deportation and dispersion, the Jews learned the value of the Law of God. They realized that the main cause of their punishment was their disobedience to God’s commandments. Consequently, they became very law abiding as a result. Of course, for a very long time the prophets of old have always preached that message to them. In fact, to curb sin everyone of us have the tendency to look to the law as a solution. If only we will obey the law. This is true not just with the laws of God but also with the laws of man. In our country, because of the increase in evil, there is a clamor for a stricter imposition of the law. We are actually law-obsessed. We really believe that to stop sin and evil all we need is the law, and the will to apply the law to the fullest. This is exactly the mindset of the Pharisees during the time of Jesus. It’s still the mindset of many people through the centuries. It’s still our mindset today.
But the law can only define what is wrong. It can only punish what is wrong. But it cannot change the heart, which is the source of all wrongdoing. It has a temporary role, and that role is to lead us eventually to faith in Christ. The law simply makes us self-aware that we are lawbreakers, sinful, and bent on evil. So the law condemns, making us realize that we really need salvation and transformation. Through Christ the demands of the law for punishment, which is right, is fully satisfied. But more than that, through Christ, what the law could not do, which is to transform our hearts, is accomplished by His grace through the Holy Spirit. So now all we really need is to trust in Jesus to transform us, not the law to condemn us. The law will still have its role to define wrongdoing, and to proclaim its due punishment, but the final solution is now found in Christ alone. Thanks be to God! In Christ we can find true forgiveness and restoration. What the world needs now is Christ, not the law.
Today is Good Friday. Let us give thanks and praise the Lord for His goodness, mercy and grace in giving us Jesus Christ His Son as the solution to our predicament of sin, which is death, as defined and required by law. Jesus died for us so that we may be free from the condemnation of the law. He died for us so that we may also be a people of grace, no longer condemning sinners but leading them to faith in Christ. To God be the glory! Shalom! (PB)