As we continue our study of grace and the law, remember the purpose of the law:
1. Revelation of Sin
2. Preparation for the Savior
Was the law to blame for man’s sin?
In Romans 7:7, Paul explains: “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! I would not have known what sin was except through the law.” The law reveals sin…it does not cause someone to sin.
Outside the garden Adam, Eve and their offspring (the human race) would be forced to live with the curse of sin. Even that was grace as God extended physical life. But He disciplined their disobedience. They were His. They belonged to Him. Therefore, He disciplined them—much like we do our own children. When our children misbehave, break the rules, do something dangerous, we discipline them for their own safety; to teach them right from wrong and what is good from what is not good and what can harm them versus what becomes a blessing. We do not discipline the children of others because they do not belong to us.
I remember a story our young pastor told when we were members of a church north of Dallas. His dad demanded obedience. Steve had learned his lessons well over the years and knew that when his father told him to do something, he would be wise to obey. One day they were preparing to cross the street. Steve was, like most children, rushing ahead and ready to cross before his father and brother. Just as he stepped off the curb, He heard his father yell, “Steve, STOP!” Without even taking the time to think about whether or not he would obey, he stopped. Just as he did, a huge truck sped by barely missing him. One more step and he would have been lying in the street! He stopped because he knew what the consequences would be if he disobeyed. But his father’s obedience training was not mean-spirited or hateful. It was meant to teach his sons that there can be dire consequences to disobedience.
In the same way, we can consider God’s law as obedience training. It is for our protection and given because of God’s favor or grace towards us.
So when Eve, beguiled by the serpent, ate of the forbidden fruit then shared it with Adam, God’s grace interrupted the law and rather than immediate, death became a future event. He granted them time.
Rather than unmold Adam and Eve and begin again, in an act of grace, He chose to put them out of the Garden. Adam blamed God for Eve's disobedience, but God continued to supply their needs and multiply their family through childbirth. In Adam’s refusal to accept responsibility for his sin in the Garden, he provided God with one more opportunity to display His grace!
Although God displayed His grace to Adam and Eve, he also placed a curse on the ground and on child bearing. God’s law, his instructions had been violated and the penalty had to be paid. However, justice was mitigated by grace.
But God would use the law to infiltrate the understanding of the Israelites and reveal the impossibility of keeping the law for it required an “all in” approach. If you broke one law, you were guilty of all. The law revealed the darkness of sin.
Remember—the law was given to God’s people…the Israelites! And the first five books of the Old Testament, the books of the law, were inspired by God and written down by Moses to introduce to some and re-introduce to others this God Jehovah Yahweh I AM!
God’s heart is a place of grace. Like He did for Adam and Eve, God continues to shower love and mercy rather than wrath on His disobedient children.
© Joyce Powell