“For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:3-4
My church has been going through Deuteronomy on Sunday mornings. It seems like we have been studying the Law for a really long time… the wilderness wanderings are beginning to feel very real…but the past few Sundays we’ve taken a detour and have looked closely at how beautifully Christ has fulfilled the law that we’ve been studying.
At church and in my own personal study time with the Lord, I was becoming increasingly aware of my sinfulness and inability to live up to those biblical standards. And when I only focus on that darkness in my soul, without the dazzling beauty of Christ’s work in me, I quickly become discouraged and tempted to give up. So the more we talked about the law and the requirements of living the obedient Christian life the more I felt sin and rebellion stirring up in my heart (which produced all sorts of guilt and shame).
Paul talks about this in Romans 7. In verses 7-8, he says: “Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, ‘You shall not covet.’ But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead.” I’m sure you’ve seen this in action…not just in yourself but it’s really evident in children (before they learn to hide it…). Have you ever seen a toddler do exactly what you told them not to do, simply because you said not to do it? They wouldn’t have even thought about it if you hadn’t mentioned it…
Then a couple of Sundays ago, we spent an entire sermon on how Christ has fulfilled the requirements of the law by sinlessly living under its burden. And by giving Himself as our substitute on the Cross, He has set us free from its weight. I was overcome with gratitude once again at the thought that He has borne that burden on my behalf. O, what love, what sacrifice, what grace! His love for me is what motivates me to live a life worthy of Him. Rules and regulations become a heavy burden (Acts 15:10) if there is no motive of love involved but His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30).
“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 1:19