For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. – Romans 8:3-4
The real story at Mount Sinai was that God wanted to dwell among His people. Listen to how He describes His actions to the Exodus generation:
“You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine.” – Exodus 19:4-5
He wants to be with us, but intimacy is costly: He requires that we obey (depend on) everything He says. Sounds simple enough. Receiving the Law at Sinai, God’s people believed for generations that they had everything they needed to please God. Although numerous prophets and psalmists knew better, generation after generation concluded wrongly that God was preoccupied with a solid, external effort to keep the Law. Like many people today, they believed that God was primarily interested in changing their behavior.
They couldn’t have been more mistaken. He wants to do far more than reform our behavior, He wants to recreate and capture out hearts.
As much as God loves us, His holiness requires us to reflect inner purity and moral perfection before we can draw near. So, the demands of the Law were not optional, but essential to intimacy. The Law was also designed to show us what life looks like as God intended it to be lived. The Law is a reflection of what we should do and want… naturally. The Law is good. The problem is that we are not.
Paul said the Law was “weak through the flesh.” Although someone might conform outwardly to the Law, on the inside, in the heart, he remains a wide-eyed, self-centered rebel. You might avoid murder, but hate reigns in the heart. You might remain faithful to your spouse, but adulterous fantasies continue to cloud your mind. You might appear righteous, but you know on the inside that nothing is right.
Enter, once again, the Christmas Revolution!
Jesus was born “in the likeness of sinful flesh” but nothing inside Him was dark or wrong. He depended on the Father for everything. He was a walking demonstration of the Law, reflecting the Life that His Father had for each of us to live, but none of us could… or would.
The Gospel or good news is this: everything required for intimacy with the Father has been accomplished by Jesus, then credited to the ones who have placed their trust in the Son. I can approach God as freely as the Son He sent, when I lose myself into the life of the Son.
And there’s more! The “walk” of the believer is like the Son’s “walk“: an overflow of the activity of the Spirit within the heart. The Spirit enables a new way of life, prompting and empowering cooperating believers to become and to do everything God had envisioned for us in the Law.
In the seventeenth century, John Bunyan, Baptist pastor and author Pilgrim’s Progress penned these lines to describe this entirely new way of living:
“Run, John, run”
The law commands
But gives me neither feet nor hands
Tis better news the Gospel brings
It bids me fly
It gives me wings.
Have you found your wings? The Christmas Revolution… God sending His Son so our hearts could be transformed!