It doesn’t matter who you are or how good of a driver you are. When you see a police car behind you in traffic – even without its lights on – you automatically get nervous. It’s just human nature; all of us tense up in the presence of the law.
The weird thing is, we do the same thing with God’s Law, too.
You’ve been there before. You’re sitting in traffic at the stop light halfway between your house and the office. You’ve been driving for about 12 minutes – plenty of time for multiple moving violations – when you notice the police cruiser pull into the lane behind you. You can see the face of the officer in your rearview mirror. He’s looking at you, but also glancing at the all-knowing laptop sitting next to him in the cab of his car.
Was I speeding?
Did he see me texting and driving?
Do my brake lights work?
Did I make a complete stop at that last intersection?
He’s probably running my license plate, isn’t he?
Did I signal when I changed lanes back there?
Do I have a missing tail light?
Is my registration tag up to date?
Will he pull me over because he’s a Red Sox fan and hates my Yankees bumper sticker?
All of these questions – and dozens more – race through your mind in a matter of seconds! Even if you’ve done your absolute best during that particular commute, there’s still plenty of doubt in the back of your mind. You just know, at any moment, he’s going to fire up his lights and pull you over.
You’re as nervous as a politician hooked to a polygraph.
Interestingly, we experience a very similar fear when we stand in the presence of God’s Law. We know the list: do not steal, do not commit adultery, do not envy, etc. But we also know deep down in our hearts that we’ve broken those same laws.
Here comes that nervous feeling again….
Did God hear me say that? (Lying)
Everybody uses the office copier for personal stuff, right? (Stealing)
Does He know how I spend my time? (Laziness)
Does God really expect me to honor my father…after what he did to me as a child? (Honoring parents)
We’re in the playoffs, so God will understand if I skip worship, right? (Idolatry)
In Galatians 3, the Apostle Paul uses strong language to tell us why the law makes us feel guilty: the law leaves us with a curse.
All who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us – for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.” (Galatians 3:10-13)
That nervous feeling we get when the cop pulls up behind us doesn’t lead anywhere, but the law of God points us to the only One who has kept it perfectly, Jesus Christ! Now there’s no more reason to be nervous.
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(Resource cataloged by David R Smith)