Wir Sind Ausländer: Christians and the Law Series, Conclusion


This is part 3 of the Bible question: As Christians, are we to keep the Law? Today we will discover the purpose of God`s law.

My wife always wanted to visit the mountainous region of Switzerland where the story of Heidi originated, so when we did arrive in Maienfeld, in the Swiss canton of Graubünden, we found a cozy parking place, right close to one of the many delightful water fountain (Fresh alpine water sure tastes good!). As we took off for higher grounds, one of the locals made us aware that we needed a special paper contraption on our dashboard indicating the time of our arrival.

Not even remembering the German word for that piece of paper, we discovered it was available in any gas station in the region, for a price naturally. The problem was that there were no gas stations nearby.

We weren't sure what to do. We didn't have much time before the sun set, and looking for a gas station wasn't really what my boys considered "fun". We didn't want to get into trouble with the local law, however, so we decided on a compromise which we hoped would work. On a blank piece of paper, which we affixed on our dashboard, we wrote "Wir sind Ausländer. Ankunft: 16h17. (We are foreigners. Arrival: 4:17 P.M.) We hoped that would do the trick, and it did. There was no one with a nasty grin waiting for us when we returned to the car, and there was no nasty yellow slip of paper shoved under our windshield wipers. Thank You Lord!

We may not know all the local regulations of countries we may be visiting, but for some reason, God's law is ingrained in us. Those who kill someone, even if it is an accident, feel utter remorse. Those who steal for the first time, even if it is on their tax return, feel guilt. Naturally we could go deeper into such illustrations, but this is not the purpose of this devotional.

This makes us wonder: Why do we have this ingrained in us? What is the purpose of God's law?

Paul answered this in his letters to the Galatians: "What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come."(Gal 3:19 NIV)

Or in other words: "I would not have known what sin was except through the law." (Rom 7:7 NIV)

God's law leaves us without doubt that we have indeed, sinned! It's right on paper, clearly visible for anyone who can read.

But notice, the text in Galatians 3:19 also mentions: "Until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come."

Doesn't this refer back to Gen 3:15, which speaks of the coming Messiah and was fulfilled by Jesus Himself?

Indeed! "So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith." (Gal 3:24 NIV)

The law was "to lead us to Christ" through whom we are "justified by faith". Or, in other words, through whom our sins have been forgiven and erased for good!

Without the law we never would have been aware that we needed a Saviour! Without the law we never would have discovered how far we have erred from what our full potential was meant to be!

What we lack in respect for the law has been covered by Jesus' revolutionary love that He urges us to experience! That same love drove a hated Samaritan to save the life of his enemy. That same love drove the apostle Paul through unbelievable hardships so that others could hear about this revolutionary love. That love motivated Jesus to die a horrible death on a cross, so that anyone who believes in Him would be reconciled with God and would experience real love for eternity!

"Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." (Rom 13:10 NIV)

We either accept such love and start to be driven by it or we go on our own way to oblivion, just like the Priest and Levite in the parable of the Good Samaritan. The only way to share what Jesus did in our lives is by living this kind of love that only comes from the one called the Messiah.

No parking cards will be necessary in heaven, but love will certainly be a requirement!

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." (1 Cor 13:13 NIV)

"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me." (Matt 25:34-36 NIV)

Rob Chaffart

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