The Law Points Us to Jesus
In February 2013, my mom had a major medical scare. Shortness of breath and overall fatigue landed her in an emergency room one evening. Now, Mom is not quick to run to a doctor at the first sign of an ache or pain. She doesn’t even like to take aspirin. But she knew she needed to be in that emergency room.
The physician on call wasn’t sure what was going on inside Mom, but she knew it was something serious. She checked Mom into the hospital and scheduled a cardio angiogram for early the next morning. The angiogram showed a total blockage around Mom’s heart. As soon as the radiologist saw it, he knew she needed surgery immediately. They rushed her to the operating room to perform emergency bypass surgery.
The surgery was successful, and she has since recovered nicely. That never would have happened apart from the angiogram. That X-ray helped her team of doctors diagnose her problem, which led them to the solution.
The angiogram wasn’t the solution. It was powerless to do anything at all to repair Mom’s heart. She needed the skilled hands of her surgeon to fix the problem.
I share this story because it illustrates the nature and purpose of the law. Its purpose is much like the purpose of an angiogram. The law diagnoses our spiritual problem, but it cannot provide the cure. Read what Paul had to say about the law: “No one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin” (Romans 3:20).
What does the law show us? Our sin. This is what God designed it to do. It is a spiritual tool in his hands to draw our attention toward Jesus Christ. The law can’t save us. That is Jesus’s job. The law points us to him. Here is the purpose of the law in crystal clear language: “The law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian” (Galatians 3:24-25).
The reason God gave the law was to show you your need for Jesus, to help you diagnose your problem. Now that you are alive in Christ, you are no longer under the supervision of the law.