“Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses.”
There are 613 laws given throughout the Old Testament. 613 specific rules that, if followed just right, might make a righteous person. The only problem is that no one ever could. Sin had to be atoned for by sacrifices – birds, cattle, or crops. God’s people struggled in vain to earn their righteousness, to make themselves holy enough to be worthy of God. None succeeded. So why did God give these laws? To show the world how much they needed a savior.
For centuries the Israelites struggled with the law. There were those who devoted their lives to keeping the law – the Pharisees – yet Jesus seemed to have the biggest problem with them! It was because they didn’t understand. They thought they could obey well enough to be worthy of salvation. They thought so highly of themselves that they believed their obedience made them worthy of God’s perfection. They completely missed the point that they could never truly do it all themselves, that they needed help.
That’s what Jesus came for. He lived the law perfectly, but not only did he perfectly fulfill it, he also explained it. He explained so many of these rules and God’s heart behind them. He showed that the rules weren’t just rules but God’s desire to take care of his people. The rules weren’t there to be checked off of a list, but to be reflected out of pure devotion to God. He showed us all that we were missing the point.
He lived perfectly, without sin. He is the only one who is worthy, there is no one else. But he allowed himself to be put to death on our behalf. He became the final and ultimate sacrifice for the atonement of our sin. Now, we can be truly justified in this life. More than any rule-following Pharisee ever was, we who believe have been made perfectly righteous through the blood of Jesus Christ.
What the law could never do, Jesus did. What we could never have done on our own, Jesus did.
Thank you for the law and for the lessons that we can learn from it today. Thank you for showing us our need for a savior, and thank you for giving Jesus up for our salvation. I believe that he has set me free from my sin, and I praise you for your unending love and mercy.
In Jesus’ Name,