Is the law done away? (part 6)

     Is the law done away? That’s the question. And the answer from Paul is “Yes, it is done away” – as a means of dealing with our nature, because our nature is far too powerful for any law to change it. 

     But Paul answers “No” to that question, too. No, God’s law is not done away, because it serves a wonderful purpose still. It may not be able to change our nature, but it is brilliantly effective in exposing it. “Indeed,” Paul writes in Romans 7:7, “I would not have known what sin was except through the law.” It was only through the law that sin could be dragged out into the open to make it obvious and real.

     Sin’s invisible, otherwise. It stays in hiding, manipulating us as it wishes, like a music technican sliding the controls in a sound booth, and we have no idea it’s happening. We just flop through life like some mindless bug-eyed puppet, completely unaware that our every thought, every choice, every decision and action is being totally controlled by sin. Sin pulls the strings and we do exactly as sin directs. And sin would continue its merry dance in our lives, completely unabated and free to do as it wished, if it wasn’t for the law.

     The law, however, reveals all. It flicks the lights on in the sound booth to reveal the technician at work. It lifts up the puppet stage all of a sudden to reveal the embarrassed puppeteers in action. It pours lemon juice on invisible writing, turns the spotlight on crooks trying to break and enter, but best of all it stamps names on all those awful things sin has been doing to us, identifying the destructive forces of sin in our lives at last.  

     For example, Paul writes, “I would not have known what it was to covet if the law had not said, ‘Do not covet.'” Sin had filled Paul’s mind with covetous desires, but he was totally unaware of it until he heard God’s law on coveting. And then all hell broke loose! Because “sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetous desire (verse 8).”

     It was like opening a box full of spiders. Lift the lid and out they pour, a ghastly mass of scrambling legs and wobbling bodies. And out poured the sins when the law lifted the lid in Paul’s head, too. But what a sight, because out spilled a squirming mass of coveting, and it was horrible! But sin was out in the open at last. The law had done its job…