August 06, 2010

The Law

Romans 7:7-25

We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual.
Romans 7:14


Sometimes while we’re on the road, especially if we’re in a hurry, we can lose track of how fast we’re going. Then suddenly we notice flashing lights in our rear-view mirror. Sure enough, we didn’t see a reduced speed zone, and we are now up against the law. We might try to explain that we didn’t mean to break the law, but unless the officer is willing to give us a break, we must pay the penalty.

Most of us realize that laws are important, but laws are limited in what they can do. Police officers may diligently enforce the rules of the road, but laws are unable to make us better drivers. Similarly, a law against bullying at school cannot make a bully into a kind person. Nor could a law make me into a trim and fit athlete! We need more than law to transform our lives.

The apostle Paul knew the importance of God’s law. But he also knew that pleasing his heavenly Father was not just a matter of obeying a set of rules. Jesus gets at the spiritual nature of law when he says he came to fulfill the law rather than to do away with it (Matthew 5:17; see also 22:36-40).

As Paul wrestles with his own sinful nature, he cries out, “Who will rescue me from this body of death?” Then comes the glorious answer: “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” He turns our heart of stone into a heart of love; he gives us new resolve and blows a new Spirit into us.

Give wisdom, Father, to all who make and enforce our laws. And create pure hearts within us, that we my live by the heart of the law: steadfast love. Amen.

About the author — Gerrit J. Bomhof

Gary Bomhof is pastor of First Christian Reformed Church, Red Deer, Alberta. He and his wife, Jo-Ann, have four children and five grandchildren.

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