September 30, 2014

Romans 3:20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.

If we don’t know we’re wrong, we won’t desire to be right. People get tied in all sorts of knots over Old Testament laws, which actually shows their inherent sinfulness. God gives us laws so that we will know what is right, what is best for us to do, but in our weakness we discover that we have broken them before we’ve even started. Paul dealt with this issue a great deal, especially here in Romans but actually in all of his letters. God’s laws are not flippant or arbitrary, but their biggest purpose is to drive us to His grace. If we think we’ve obeyed all of His laws, we’re either ignorant or willfully blind. That’s not to say at all that they can be ignored. Throwing the 10 Commandments out the window makes for total anarchy, and America is in real danger of that today. Paul and James both pointed out that love, in its purest and fullest form, takes care of the whole matter of laws. (Galatians 5:14, James 2:8) However there too, honesty compels us to say that we don’t love enough or well enough. Once again we are driven back to grace, but praise God, His grace is sufficient for us! (2 Corinthians 12:9)

This is of course the story of my life, as it is for every believer. Like everyone else, I have been forced to acknowledge my own inability before God, and that hasn’t always been easy. People looking at me today tend to think I do everything right, but even I know better, and God certainly knows better! And that’s not even bringing all the stuff I’ve done in the past into the equation. I am as dependent on the grace of God as anyone, and I must never forget that. With that understanding, I am to share the good news of God’s grace with others as God gives opportunity. Sometimes that means teaching them God’s laws so that they will understand how much they need His grace, but it doesn’t mean legalism. However, it certainly doesn’t mean saying or implying that anything goes because it’s all covered by grace. Paul had to deal with that heresy just a few verses before this one! I don’t have the wisdom to keep it all straight, but God does, and He will supply it to me as I need it, for the blessing of many and for His glory.

Father, thank You for Your Law. I desire to love it as much as the writer of Psalm 119. Thank You even more for Your love. I desire to be as much an instrument of that love as the Apostle John. May I indeed love You and love my neighbor more and better all the time, so that I may fulfill Your law and draw many with me into Your family, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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