"Where then is thy glorying? It is excluded. By what law? Of deeds doing? Nay, but by the law of faith. For we deem a man to be justified by faith, without works of the law." - Romans 3:27-28 (Wycliffe NT)


"Anytime the Christian makes sense in a Bible study or sermon, you can almost bet your life you're not hearing Christianity."
Pastor Tom Baker



I'm going to continue this teaching on law. There's a lot to say about it and I want you to stay with me because hope is coming!! But in order to get to the great hope that is ever available we MUST understand the depths to which our corruptness descends. Until you understand your total depravity, you'll never fully 'get' the Gospel. It's important to spend a few posts on this to get down and dirty about who we really are.
One characteristic of the law is its divisiveness. Most importantly it divides us from God. Our first parents, Adam and Eve, divided themselves from God when they decided to break His law and decide for themselves. They were in perfect fellowship with Him until their desire to be God laid hold. In the same way now, instead of resting in Him for our daily lives, we try and work for God to fulfill His demands and fall short thereby being divided from Him.
A second way the law is divisive is relationally. In truth, law is holy but only if it's kept perfectly. If we think we keep the law perfectly (and we can't) or the best we can (and we can't) we will always hold up that standard to those around us, our loved ones. This will hurt relationships because you are asking them to do something neither of you can fulfill. Trying to follow the law will make you religious and religiousness masks itself as righteousness. You will only end up with a holier than thou attitude by thinking like the Pharisee in Luke 18 who actually thanked God that he was better than "REAL" sinners! You will feel superior to the other. This attitude mustn't be present in a loving relationship.
The end result of living your life by your works will do two things: it will give you a false sense of being a "good" person and it will also bring you insecurity. This will be a vicious cycle. On one hand you will feel a sense of security with God by thinking you are doing all the things you think will please Him. But on the other hand, you will have a shadow of insecurity following you telling you you aren't pleasing God and that you could be doing better. It will constantly coax you into doubting your salvation. And like a shadow, it will always be following you even if you don't notice it.
Stay tuned! Our final look into the law will tell us what the law is really supposed to do so that we can move into that promised hope. Thanks for reading.



I want to distinguish between two kinds of law: the Law and law. The first kind, capital 'L' Law, would refer to the ceremonial Laws of the Old Testament, including but not limited to the big 10. The other is lowercase 'l' law and that would refer to any sort of thing that we come up with as a list of rules to follow or espouse. We have been surrounded by laws our entire lives. We have to live by them or face the consequences. Break one and you're in trouble. This happened in school, at home with our moms and dads and it happens in our civil lives. Punishment is always the end result of breaking the law. Could you imagine removing these laws from our lives and holding no one accountable to them anymore? Would that not create utmost chaos? Imagine taking away the speed limit on our national freeways. Think of drugs being legal. Try and wonder what it would be like if committing a violent crime was no longer against the law. We could most certainly agree for the most part that this would not be a great idea. The law's purpose is to order our lives. But as we move into spiritual matters, we cannot bring with us this notion of law keeping. This is not entirely easy to do. It is hard to retrain our minds to think differently in these matters. But I hope this post can help.
God's purpose in introducing law into our lives is precisely the opposite of why we keep it. We keep law so that we are not punished. Or we keep the law to please ourselves or others and in doing so show how good we are. However, God's intent with the law is to show us how completely and utterly BAD we all are and that all will be punished for not keeping it. Even the least of it. How ironic, then, that we try and keep the law for life when in reality the law brings death. Law is lifeless. It is the written code of what we can never achieve. It is God's standards that we will never, ever live up to.
Even further devastation from this comes when you realize that the law increases our bad deeds. It can't even encourage good ones! How can this be? My good friend J.D. Boreing (check out his post in the Blog Archive for May) illustrates this best. Imagine you walked your dog every day following the same path. Every day you pass by a tall wooden fence. You notice there is a fence there but not much more than that. You may notice a broken board one day or you might see that it may need some repairs. You may even notice that there are knotholes in the boards. But other than that it's just a fence you pass on your daily walk. Then, one day you pass this same fence you've barely given any thought to and you see that one of the knotholes has a bright red circle around it and a sign that says "Do NOT look through this knothole!" This changes everything. No longer is it just a fence you pass on your walk. It is now intriguing you to wonder what is on the other side that someone would put up that sign. You now burn with desire to do the exact opposite of the law of that sign. You want to look. And just the simple desire of wanting to look is enough sin to get you death. But you do better than that. You tie up your dog and smash your face up against the fence and peer through to satisfy your craving for knowledge!!
Don't think for a second that following the written code of the Bible will get you anything! Romans 7:5 tells us that our sinfulness is AROUSED by the law! What an incredible paradox this is. The very thing we try to follow to be good only brings out our true badness! And in Romans 7:6 we see another incredible paradox. The only way to live is to DIE to the written code. For the law is truly binding and there is no life to be found there. May the law increasingly make its way out of our lives! For life's sake.