March 23, 2012

The Humpty Syndrome

Romans 7:5 5 For when we were in the realm of the flesh, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death.

A person who would base his relationship with Christ on the law and rules would end up aroused by the law. People who live this way would usually sing the song:

Gusto kong bumait pero di ko magawa. 

In English, I want to be good but I can’t. If you live according to the law, you will end up trying harder to be good but failing miserably. Why? Because we are relying on our own strength.

7 What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” 8 But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of coveting. For apart from the law, sin was dead.

The law is not sinful and please don’t misinterpret this verse as a license to sin because Paul was clear.  It is when we look to the law for life, identity, security.

The law defines sin and also provokes sin. When confronted by the law, sin takes the character of rebellion to prove that we are independent. Nobody tells me what I should and could do!!!

Let’s face the fact, a lot of us are Addicted to the LAW.

The law, at least, assures us that we determine our own destiny.The law does promise life to me, If my obedience perfect be. (Ralph Erskine)

9 Once I was alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. 10 I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. 11 For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. 12 So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.

I thought if I could be holier than the others I am far better. Sin deceived me into believing that by trying harder to follow the law I will be more loved and I will definitely change.

The law offends us because it tells us what to do–and we hate anyone telling us what to do, most of the time. But, ironically, grace offends us even more because it tells us that there’s nothing we can do, that everything has already been done. And if there’s something we hate more than being told what to do, it’s being told that we can’t do anything, that we can’t earn anything–that we’re helpless, weak, and needy.

The law reveals sin but is powerless to remove sin. It points to righteousness but can’t produce it. It shows us what godliness is, but it cannot make us godly.

As Martin Luther said, “Sin is not canceled by lawful living, for no person is able to live up to the Law. Nothing can take away sin except the grace of God.”

But the good news is:

25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me (redeems me) through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature slave to the law of sin.

As Spurgeon wrote, “When I thought God was hard, I found it easy to sin; but when I found God so kind, so good, so overflowing with compassion, I smote upon my breast to think that I could ever have rebelled against One who loved me so, and sought my good.” Indeed, it is “the kindness of the Lord that leads to repentance” (Romans 2:4).