“Now the law came to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” -Romans 5:20:21
As I contemplate this text of Scripture it reveals the beauty of the law. Wait, the law is beautiful, did I just say that? Yes. And I am not the only one. Psalm 119 is dedicated to reflection on the restraining grace of God through the law. How can something that seems to restrain us be seen as beautiful? Because it is the very revelation of our sinfulness that drives us to the redeeming grace of God. Paul unpacks this in his own life in the text of Romans 7. “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.” This requires deep reflection. Did the law make Paul a coveter? No. He was already coveting, but if it had not been for the law revealing the sinfulness of coveting Paul would have continued in rebellion to God and thus being led to death by the sin that was in him. But, the revealing of that sin lead him to repentance as he closed out that same chapter, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! (7:24,25)” We are the same. We are not sinners because we have sinned, but rather, we sin because we are sinners. That is that. We like Paul didn’t need to know the law to sin, we were already doing that. But once God has revealed to us the death causing sin that is in our nature, on display through the law, we like Paul are drawn to cry out for mercy; the law is love, because it requires grace—you cannot meet the righteous requirement—and knowledge of grace always produces faith, bringing hope, and that hope does not put us to shame. Do you have this hope? If so I urge you to celebrate the grace of God, live life in the freedom of Christ, and when you do find yourself in sin, instead of feeling as a failure without hope, confess that sin and be reminded of the reconciliation that is in Christ, reflect on the ransom being paid and praise the God of heaven for He Is Good!