Are you a rule-breaker or rule-follower? Where do you fit on a scale from 1 (totally breaker) – 10 (total follower)? What you think of somebody who is the opposite of you?
If you were the Supreme Commander, what law (that doesn’t currently exist) would you create? What curret law would you immediately do away with.
We all have a dysfunctional relationship with rules. We love the ones that we agree with (and find rather easy to follow) while detest the ones we disagree with (and don’t want to follow). And when we find ourselves breaking these rules (legal, relational, spiritual, HOA etc) we tend to give ourselves a pass, convincing ourselves and others that 1) we had a valid reason for breaking the rule, 2) that this breakage doesn’t make me a bad person, yet 3) if you break rules, you reason isn’t valid and 4) your breakage in fact makes you a “bad person”.
C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity actually uses this natural, univeral, ingrained sense of “right and wrong” as proof that there must be a higher power that has created and rules the universe with moral laws just as surely as he has created and rules with physical laws (gravity etc). With extremely few and typically superficial variations the world has generally agreed on what is right and what is wrong. Lewis would go on to say that no civilization has EVER celebrated a person that breaks promises and even become a traiter. That’s because the perfect and pure God (that we now know is Jesus) has created us in his image to live perfectly and purely. And every last one of knows with great clarity that there are universal rules, and that we all break them repeatedly. We also all demand justice. Real Justice. But we don’t see our justice-scales as being “that” tipped while adamantly insisting that the overtly tipped scales of “those” people (insert what you see as a really ugly sin here, like sexual and physical abuse). We are partially right. “Their” scales MUST be leveled. But, so do ours. Just as much! You better read that again. JUST AS MUCH. What if the scale-maker truly is “perfect and pure” and we are not compared to one another but to Him? Would we still want pure justice? Maybe not, but we certainly NEED it, or else there would be no hope and all would be lost. Then we will either have to pay justice penalty ourselves, or be humbled as Another pays that payment on our behalf. That’s why Jesus’ perfect and pure life ending with his Ultimate death on the Cross is so so much bigger than we can possibly realize. Jesus had to level the scales for every believer. And with his leveling our standing before God, we have been freed not just from the just penalty, but from the burden of the Law that we somehow try to use to achieve wholeness.
This is where Paul was going in Galatians 3:23-25 ”Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian…” This Law reveals the character of God (because they describe what perfection and love look like), reveal how far from perfection and purity that we are, how much Jesus paid to make us perfect and pure, and what it looks like to live out of our new re-created and imputed identity.
Read THIS if you’d like to see what has become known as the “Three Uses of the Law”. I think it’s very helpful, freeing and encouraging to know what God’s Law is actually designed for so that maybe, just for a minute, I’ll stop misusing it to do something that it wasn’t designed for and cannot do (i.e. create my own personal righteousness).