Breaking the law is a scary thing.
“The righteous shall live by faith.”
I was 17 years old and driving home from a concert with some friends. I wasn’t paying attention to my speed. We were having fun, laughing, talking about the show we just saw.
That all changed the second I saw the red lights flashing in my rear view mirror.
I wasn’t drinking or otherwise impaired. I just wasn’t paying attention to my speed and was going about 10 miles over the limit.
You may think that going 55 in a 45 is no big deal, but nonetheless I received a ticket and a fine of a couple hundred dollars.
That was nothing compared to the dread I felt in my heart and stomach driving home. I was going to have to tell my parents what happened!
That first ticket is the worse!
But not so bad that I didn’t do it again! I’ve gotten a couple more speeding tickets since then. All relatively minor infractions but still breaking the law.
That dread that I felt is what I imagine we should feel when we break God’s Law. But I must admit, I don’t feel that dread. I suspect it is because I never have really thought about it much. I spend a lot of time dealing with, reading, preaching, teaching, and learning about God’s forgiveness through Christ.
In other words, I spend a lot of time in the Gospel instead of the Law.
That isn’t a good thing to do. I must teach, preach, and confess a proper balance of both Law and Gospel. It is the only way to properly understand God’s Word.
A man by the name of C.F.W. Walther said that God’s Word is not properly understood “when the Law is not preached in its full sternness and the Gospel not in its full sweetness” (Law and Gospel, http://lutherantheology.com/uploads/works/walther/LG/theses.html accessed November 1, 2017).
So, when it comes to God’s Law there is no leeway in breaking it, just as the officer gave me no leeway even though I was only going 10 miles over the limit.
St. Paul makes it very clear in Galatians 3 that, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them” (quoting Deuteronomy 27:26).
In other words, you either keep God’s Law perfectly or you don’t. There is no middle ground.
St. Paul has more bad news, too. “The one who does them shall live by them.” If you are going to base your salvation on the Law, then you have to keep the Law perfectly. But you can’t. No one can, except one person.
That person is Jesus Christ! He kept God’s Law perfectly for us. And then he did something utterly amazing.
Even though he kept God’s Law perfectly, he bore the curse of not keeping the Law – our curse – and died on the cross.
This has the effect of forgiving us the curse of the Law. Jesus’ death forgives our sins!
We no longer have to live by the Law. We now live by faith. Faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
Heavenly Father, I am sorry that I break your Law by not doing what you want me to do and doing what you don’t want me to do. But I thank you that you forgive me for the sake of Jesus Christ. Help me to live in this forgiveness and faith; in Jesus’ name. Amen.
© 2017 True Men Ministries