October 28 I Sunday
2 Timothy 2
“And so He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” —Romans 8:3-4
While Moses was receiving the law at the top of Mount Sinai, the Israelites were at the bottom actively breaking it. They made and were worshipping a golden calf as if it had delivered them from Egypt. When Moses returned, he was shocked by this blatant disregard for the first three commandments, but God was not. God did not learn something new about His people that day; they learned something new about themselves. In receiving the law, Israel discovered that they could not be what God wanted them to be.
The law can accurately diagnose our sin, but it cannot impart righteousness any more than a plumb line can straighten a wall. What the law demands, it cannot fulfill. It cannot fix us but is “our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Galatians 3:24 KJV). The law reveals our sin so we might turn to Christ, who fulfills the law in our place. It teaches us how to live the Christian life, but only Christ can equip us to live it.
There is a true story of a man who became a Christian while serving time in prison for theft. On the first Sunday following his release, he chose a church at random, went in and sat down. At the front of the church was listed the Ten Commandments, five on either side of the pulpit. Seeing this, the man thought to himself, “This is the last thing I want to see. I know my history, I know my failure; I don’t want to see those laws which only condemn me.”
But as the service went on, the man began to read the Ten Commandments and discovered he was reading them very differently than ever before. Where he once read the command, “You shall not steal,” he now read the promise, “You shall not steal.” Where he once read the command, “You shall have no other gods before Me,” he now read the promise, “You shall have no other gods before Me.”
I imagine his response at that moment was something like, “Thank You Lord, but why?” Because Christ fulfills the law in us and moves us to follow His decrees! When we receive His Spirit, what were once commands imposed become promises that liberate. We will do the law, not because we are more disciplined than we were before but because the Spirit of God begins to produce in us the character of Christ, who fulfilled the law. When we grasp this truth, a whole new set of biblical promises are available to us, and our response will be to simply stand amazed and thank Him.
Prayer: Lord God, thank You for turning the commands of the law into promises by giving me Your Son, who fulfills the law in me and enables me to live it by Your strength and empowering.