The Law and Grace. Day thirty-two...
At the time the automobile is gaining popularity in the early 1900s, two winding dirt roads intersect in Michigan. For horse‐drawn vehicles the intersection of the two roads had always been safe. But not so for the motorized vehicles.
The approach to the intersection was blind—okay for horse‐drawn traffic, but not okay for the faster motorized vehicles. At least once a week automobiles would collide at the intersection.
Prior to the automobile the intersection had no rules. People had always used common sense and yielded to any oncoming traffic. But now something had to be done before somebody was killed.
Local government officials decided to place signs at the intersection that read, “STOP.” Of course some kind of law had to be passed to make sure the stop sign was not treated as just a suggestion.
Please note: Here in the United States, the stop sign was supposedly used for the first time in the state of Michigan. And while such an event could have happened—just a reminder, as you probably already know, it is only an illustration.
People drove their cars through the intersection without stopping both before the law was passed and after. Was it just as dangerous to run the intersection in an automobile before the law as it was after the law? Of course it was.
While it was just as dangerous before as it was after, it was not illegal until after the law was passed. In other words, no one could be prosecuted for running the intersection, even though such behavior caused harm to other people, until the law was passed—until what was not under the law became under the law.
Destructive behavior and dangerous situations exist whether or not there are ordinances or laws against such things.
To run through the intersection in an automobile was potentially destructive and dangerous at any time—before or after any law against it was established.
Sin was destructive and dangerous before God ever gave the Law to Moses.
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, in this way death spread to all men, because all sinned. In fact, sin was in the world before the law, but sin is not charged to a person's account when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who did not sin in the likeness of Adam's transgression. He is a prototype of the Coming One. (Romans 5:12–14 HCSB)
Sin has a life of its own apart from the law.
And just because we are free, as new‐covenant believers, from living under the law, we are not free from having to deal with sin.
What then? Are we any better? Not at all! For we have previously charged that both Jews and Gentiles are all under sin, as it is written: There is no one righteous, not even one. (Romans 3:9–10 HCSB)
But now, apart from the law, God's righteousness has been revealed—attested by the Law and the Prophets—that is, God's righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ, to all who believe, since there is no distinction. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:21–23 HCSB)
All of us have to deal with sin.
Sin causes all of us to fall short of a full realization of God's glory.
If sin was ignoring the stop sign and the law was the punishment for doing so, then God's grace through His forgiveness frees us from the penalty of running through the intersection.
But His grace does not free us from the temptation to do so. Temptation is common to all of us (see 1 Corinthians 1:13).
Instead, His grace empowers us to resist the temptation to do so.
Have a good day,