“In Vancouver it was illegal to sell a stove on a Wednesday from 1947 to 1986. In Alberta it’s illegal to set fire to the leg of a wooden-legged man. Purple garage doors are against the law in Kanata, Ontario. In Canada it is illegal to challenge someone to a duel or accept an invitation to a duel. It is illegal to remove a band aid in public in Canada”. As crazy as this sounds, these laws at one time were written in our nations law books. In some ways, this is reminiscent of the laws we read about centuries ago during the time of Moses, the law given to God’s chosen people, Israel.
In the book of Romans, Paul has some very thought provoking and enlightening words to explain the relationship between law and grace. “… we have been released from the law (by the grace of God given to us through the death and resurrection of Jesus) so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code (the law of Moses).” Paul does not dismiss the law all together in this narrative, “I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law… So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.” (7:12). The law continues to call us as believers to be obedient to the commands of the Lord, it calls us to a moral and ethical purity that we can only stand true in through His grace and forgiveness. It is only by the power of the Holy Spirit that these things can be accomplished.
Sin has a heavy grip on all our lives and relentlessly battles to pull us away from what is holy and true. We like Paul might have the desire to do what is good but because of sin, we do not do what we want. Romans 7:25 reminds us of the mindset that keeps us “on track”. Paul writes, “So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.” It is only by God’s grace, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the forgiveness of sins through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that we can overcome death (sin). Sin separates us from God; grace breaks the hold that sin has on our lives, offering forgiveness (something the law could not do) and draws us back to Him. The law cannot set us free from sin and death, it is only through the power of the Holy Spirit and the grace of our Father in heaven that he pours out on us that we will be free to spend eternity with Him.