September 18, 2013 - The Law is not something we like to think about but it is always with us.
When I think back to the beginning of time, when God had just created man and placed him in the Garden of Eden to care for and tend it, there was only one law, to not eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (OK, maybe a second law, to be fruitful and multiply).
But you know how it is, when we are told we cannot have something that is what we desire even more.
So the serpent, changing God's words, asks Eve if it is true that God said they "shall not eat of any tree of the garden?" (Genesis 3:1)
The jar of the cookie lid was open. Eve responded: "We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, 'You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die. (Emphasis mine.)
Eve changed the words God spoke and her hand not only reached into the cookie jar, she ate the cookie.
Later God gives His children 10 commandments, rules for them to follow, that showed how they were to relate to Him and to one another.
They could not keep them and neither can we. So the burden increased as man made over 615 rules to be followed, but it could not be done.
Think about the laws today. We have libraries full of books that state laws, reflect laws, interpret laws and explain laws.
Yet, even when we know the laws we are prone to breaking them are we not? We might only be driving 46 in a 45 but we are breaking the law. We may make a right hand turn on a red light but cause someone to slow down because of it and we break the law. We may take a "sample" at a place that sells by the pound and we break the law.
I know we could go on and on. We may feel guilty or be so calloused by past behavior and that of society and, yes, our sinful nature, that it does not bother us in the least. Even though we were told to wait until after supper for a cookie, we silently lift the lid, reach in and eat the cookie.
Do we deserve to be punished? Of course we do.
We have failed to obey—the laws of the land, fellow-workers, friends, parents, a spouse and especially God.
Isn't it wonderful, however, that we have a God Who loves us so much He sent His Son, Jesus, to take our punishment for us? We could not keep the law but Jesus kept it perfectly and gave us the full benefit of His perfection. This is the Gospel-grace that God so freely gives.
If you are feeling burdened by guilt join us to learn about grace!
The Rev. Kendall Schaeffer is pastor of St. Trinity Lutheran Church.