Friday we read about the purpose of the law and started unpacking what the law had to do with the Sabbath. In this article I’m going to dig deeper and examine whether Jesus nailed the law to the cross or not.
When you think about the original sin of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, by today’s standards, it was pretty small. I mean, God told them not to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. That was their test. Not to eat of the fruit of one tree. One tree from all the trees in the garden. Don’t eat the fruit. Simple enough right? Apparently not. Think about the consequence of that one sin. It was pretty massive. From that one transgression, mankind was plunged into the darkness of sin. All from eating fruit when they weren’t supposed to.
Today, if you’d stop the average person on the street and asked them, “do you think you’re going to heaven when you die?”, most would likely say something like, “I think I’ve generally been a good person…” If you were to say to that same person, I’m sorry, but because of that one time you told a single lie, you will have to die… How do you think they’d feel? Think about it. Adam and Eve lost their eternal paradise home for one tiny disobedience… By today’s standard of murders, rapes, con artists and sleazy politicians, Adam and Eve would come out smelling like roses! Why would God be so unkind and unloving that He couldn’t look the other way that one time and simply forgive Adam and Eve of their sin?
Why not you ask? Simple. God is not only love, He is also just. As long as Adam and Eve were sinless, they had the law of God naturally written on their hearts. Love came naturally to them. After the disobedience, however, this was no longer the case. What came naturally to them before the fall became impossible for them after the fall.
God’s Law Became Condemnation
Where the law had previously been a good thing, it became a bad thing to Adam and Eve because of their sin. The law could only condemn them. Where before their sin Adam and Eve naturally did those things that pleased God, after sin, nothing they did naturally could please Him because their efforts were now tainted with selfishness. God had a problem. He couldn’t ignore His law but His love couldn’t just let us die. That’s where God decided to sacrifice Himself for us. If He couldn’t excuse the condemnation the law brought against humans, He would go down to the earth Himself and take care of sin once and for all. “For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” – Romans 8:3-4
The law of God could not save us. All it could do was condemn us to death. “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. That’s why trying to make it to heaven by keeping God’s law is doomed to failure. It can’t work because we are sinners through and through. We have a sinful human flesh that lives within us and influences every decision we make. This flesh is at war with God. It is completely selfish. It is at the core of every human being. When the bible talks about ‘flesh’ this is what it means. Human beings are naturally evil.
This is, by the way, exactly opposite to what most major world religions teach today. Most religions try to tell us that man is naturally good. The bible doesn’t teach that. It teaches us that we are one hundred percent sinners. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” – Romans 3:23.
So God did away with the Law Right?
Many Christians today think that God saved us by setting aside His law. This is not what the bible teaches. God could not set aside His law. Why not? Because the law is an expression of who God is. If God could have set aside His law, He would not have risked all of heaven to save us by coming down as a human being in the person of Jesus Christ. God would not have needed to take the time to come down to earth to set aside His law. He could have done it from heaven! When you consider that all of God’s laws can be summed up in two commandments, you realize that to set aside His commandments was to set aside His love. Since God is love, this would be impossible for God. Something He would never ever choose to do. Therefore, God had to find another way to save us which He did.
Our next post will explore how God solved the sin problem without getting rid of His law thereby maintaining his justice while still being loving.