Read His Words Before Ours!
“For 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.””
You can almost see Paul pacing back and forth, arms flying wildly, while his scribe rapidly scribbles down his words on parchment to be sent to the Galatians.
“Cursed.” He mutters and shakes his head, eyes filling with tears. “Cursed” and he lifts his eyes to his low ceiling as if looking through it to the risen Jesus, sitting at the right hand of God Almighty.
He knows well what it means to be cursed.
Living a life for himself.
Strapped to Law, bound up in fulfilling every jot and tittle of it.
He knew well the nagging voice that always whispered, “you are never enough”, forcing him to ever higher ranks of perfectionism.
And that’s exactly where his precious Galatians were heading as they traded the beauty of the freeing gospel for the fear of others, for ridiculous self-imposed expectations.
He could see the chains they were wrapping around themselves.
Chains crafted by their own hands through rules and regulations.
“Cursed!” he yelled, pounding his fist into his hand as sweat streamed down his face; so great was his passion.
Yet, it wasn’t the fault of the law that brought slavery.
The law was not the rampant evil.
No, it was their self-righteous heart attitude that said they could fulfill that law on their own.
It was his self-righteous heart attitude.
And the image of Stephen’s blood pouring from a fatal head wound, inflicted with his own permission, flooded his mind.
His hands shook.
Oh, he knew the depths of his un-righteousness,
especially in light of how he had tried so very hard to attain God’s blessing.
Coming full circle to stand right before the small desk, Timothy the Scribe watching his every move, ready to write, Paul’s urgent eyes gripping Timothy’s.
“This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void.”
Timothy stared, waiting, captivated, then realized he was to write those words as Paul repeated them again.
And Paul continued, fire lighting his eyes,
“Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions…”
Understanding dawned on young Timothy as the words continued to flow so fast from Pastor Paul. The law was not evil. Our hearts were.
But how we needed the law!
The law was given because we were so sinful, but we knew it not.
Like the tent poles he helped Paul craft…they had to be perfectly straight. A crooked pole meant a crooked tent. We could not understand what was askew without the perfect measurement.
And so was the law.
The law was never intended to save us.
“If a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law.” Paul’s words kept up their flow and Timothy scratched quickly to keep up, hoping his mind would grasp the fullness of the Spirit-fueled words.
if we could be saved by the law, by our righteousness, by “being enough”, by pushing ourselves to “be better”, if we could be righteous all on our own, then we would never need a Savior!
And just like that, the tears flooded Timothy’s own eyes and he swept them away with the back of his hand to keep the parchment dry.
The friend he had grown up with, the woman by the river mumbling memorized prayers that meant nothing, the man he had seen weaving longer tassels on his garment, and countless other familiar faces instantly appearing in his mind’s eye.
People everywhere were following the law, their own law, holding to it as if it were a Savior, all the while not even seeing that they alone were destined to die in their frailty. They did not even see their sin!
“I’m a pretty good person.”
“I’m not a murderer or anything.”
“I’m generous with my money.”
“I go to church every week.”
“I donate to the homeless.”
Both men, now caught up in the necessity and urgency of the message, worked as one to finish the letter with all haste.
Praise for the graciousness shown to us by giving the law!
For without it, we would never see sin, and never see our need for saving.
And endless praise for fulfilling that Law perfectly on our behalf, oh precious Christ!
“But when the fullness of time had come,
God sent forth his Son,
born of woman,
born under the law,
to redeem those who were under the law,
so that we might receive adoption as sons.”
We call Him Abba, Daddy.
Both men sighed heavily. Delight sweeping over them as they grinned, giddy, yet still overcome with the grand emotion of it all.
Born as slaves to sin.
Shown mercy by a gracious God through the giving of a law that revealed deadly sin.
And a beyond-description inheritance of being called Sons of the Most High God.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!