THE LAW

We’ve all heard the question: Which came first, the chicken or the egg? We might also want to ask: Do chickens exist to produce eggs or vice-versa? Put that on the back burner for now. I have a more serious question. Which came first, law or sin? While we’re on the subject – does law produce sin or the other way around? Thankfully, the answer is found in the Bible.

Is there a point to all this?

Is there a point to all this?

God’s law is not introduced in scripture until you get to Exodus 20. But you will find a host of sins leading up to the issuing of the law. Cain missed the mark at the altar when he presented his measly offering there. God tried to work with him but he just grew uglier and eventually killed his brother. Cain paid a hefty price for his sin even though there were no official laws on the books. God also judged immorality with a global flood prior to the written law. Sodom was judged before sodomy was outlawed. God executed judgment on a whole host of folks before speaking to Moses from Mount Sinai. Why? For one simple reason: man knew better. Man knew the difference between good and evil way before the Ten Commandments were etched in stone.

Law didn’t create sin; it simply drew attention to it.

While God’s laws are helpful in protecting us from ourselves and one another, they serve a much higher purpose. They measure the distance between man and his Maker. Sin creates distance while the law simply reads the distance. This is not so God can gauge things, but so we can. Law shows the lawbreaker he is far from where he needs to be. But law cannot correct this distance. It offers only an appraisal.

Think of the law as a thermometer. It can show you that you’re sick and maybe even the degree of your sickness, but a thermometer cannot make you well. No doctor will tell you, “Take two thermometers and call me in the morning.” Once we get our reading from the thermometer, we look to the physician to make us well. This is exactly how the law works. We have a Great Physician who desperately wants to heal us. Not only does He desire to heal us, He longs to befriend us. He has gone through great measures to bring us into fellowship with Himself. Yet sin keeps us poles apart! We wouldn’t fully realize this if weren’t for the law. It reveals distance and points to the One who overcomes that distance.

“What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made.”  – Galatians 3:19a

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