There are many kinds of laws in our world. Wisely authored political laws bring order and civility by restraining the expression of criminal behavior. Scientific and mathematical laws enlighten us to a deeper understanding of the natural world and thus are invaluable tools for the betterment of humankind.
But there is another kind of law in our world, one that both undergirds and surpasses all others. It is the Law of God, and it is given by divine fiat to all under heaven. It both commands and instructs, exposing the evil in our hearts and teaching us about the nature of reality.
The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul;
the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;
the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever;
the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether.
God’s Law is superior to all others. When it was first given to the nation of Israel, it set them apart from their contemporaries:
And what great nation is there, that has statutes and rules so righteous as all this law that I set before you today?
While the Jewish people were uniquely blessed to receive this Law in written form, its essence is written on the hearts of all people. And despite its many mysteries, its message is as clear as it is concise:
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
This Law is supremely good, and Jesus the Law-Giver should get all the praise for ordaining such glorious statutes. But because of sin, we love the darkness rather than the light. Rather than receive His righteous rules, we prefer to make our own statutes—every man doing what is right in his own eyes. This leads to disaster:
“‘Cursed be anyone who does not confirm the words of this law by doing them.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’
When we rail against the Law of God, we rebel against God himself.
The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying, “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.”
But all such plotting is hopelessly vain. Those who resist God’s Law will one day face the wrath of Christ Himself:
He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury.
The only way to avoid such a terrible fate is to be faultlessly keep the Law. For the blameless, the Law provides salvation and unending blessing:
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
But alas! No one on earth today can claim such a state. All of us are contaminated by the scourge of sin, and thus are unable to achieve perfect righteousness. Instead, by default we serve a different law:
With my flesh I serve the law of sin.
Christ the Law-giver, knowing that we serve the law of sin, could have come into this world to condemn it once and for all. Instead, He chose to save it by taking the full punishment due for the sins of his people. He not only suffered in Himself the very curses He authored in the Law, he became them:
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us.
How is it that the One who authored every last curse in the Bible did so knowing full well that He would bear them all upon Himself? Why would He who knew no sin be judged and condemned by His own Law? Only He who was slain “from the foundation of the world” could fully understand how such a thing could be possible, but we know that He did it out of love:
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved!
Thank You, Jesus, for this incomparable and incomprehensible love. There is no Law more holy and perfect than Yours, and there is no love deeper or more self-sacrificial than Your own. You fulfilled the Law not for your own justification, but for ours, and you suffered the full penalty of its curses for our salvation. Jesus, thank you! Help us to love others as you have loved us, for truly those who have learned to love have fulfilled the law. As it is written,
Love is the fulfilling of the law.