“But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe.” Romans 3:21-22b

It's what's inside that counts

It’s what’s inside that countsc

I don’t know if you’ve ever had the pleasure of being crammed into one of those dreadful, dark tubes known as “The MRI” but I have. That brutal monster swallowed me whole! I must confess it was a painful experience. That’s why I was stuffed into this machine – to find the source of my suffering. It only caused more.

Forty grueling minutes I lay upon that hard steel. “Don’t move a hair!” I was told beforehand. I almost made it. But with only a few minutes to spare, I budged ever so slightly. There was no choice in the matter. I was dying. Something had to be done to alleviate the pressure. So, I broke the one rule. Not a lot; just a little. It was the slightest of compromise – one small move for mankind and a giant leap for relief.

“The image is blurry.” I was informed.

“You moved!” I was scolded.

“Back in you go!” I was sentenced.

Another forty minutes!

The MRI couldn’t save me. Offering no wiggle room whatsoever, all it could do was inflict and expose me. In the end it would reveal all that was wrong on the inside. All the while help waited on the outside. I would be saved apart from the MRI. Not in it.

This experience caused me to think upon God’s law and what scripture has to say about it. It seems to serve as His MRI machine in that it exposes us. We may appear well outwardly, but the law offers an accurate image of all that is wrong inwardly. And like the MRI, the law offers no wiggle room. Nor does it offer any comfort. One false move and you’re busted. “Time served” is not part of the law’s vocabulary. Sentences pile up with every wrong move. A price must be paid.

The law is necessary. The image it produces is needful. The discomfort it allows is also helpful. However, the law cannot save us anymore than an MRI can. We can only be saved apart from it. We must be brought to a place where the Physician can operate. Only He can save us. He does so at no cost to the sick. (His Son took care of the expenses). We just have to trust Him.

This is what makes the gospel such good news. Once we consent to surgery, the ugly black image produced by God’s MRI gets tossed. Instead, He produces in us His own image! And no longer are we confined in a dark, narrow tunnel, we are free to move as the Spirit leads!

“Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.” Romans 3:27-28

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