Jailbreak of a Different Kind
by Mary Alice McGinnis
Have you ever been caught red-handed doing something wrong? It’s one thing when we do things wrong in secret, when we sneak around and hide what we are doing. But when the TRUTH comes out and the evidence is so clear it cannot be disputed, it becomes a whole different type of experience.
I really think that is what Paul is saying today about the Law. The Law exposes us, calls us out, unveils the REAL TRUTH about our actions and behaviors. It even uncovers the depths of our selfish motives and the self-centered thoughts of our hearts. It puts on display how often we place ourselves above God and how our love towards Him and others has grown cold.
The God’s Law, revealed to us in scripture, shows us God’s standard, and how to be in a right relationship with Him. It shows us what it means to be living as we were meant to live. We were created to glorify God – to love Him with ALL our hearts, minds, souls and strengthen. And to love our neighbors as ourselves.
Many today argue that the problem is not our sin, but the LAW. If the law wasn’t so harsh, we would be fine. That is like saying the law of gravity is bad. Without it, we would float off into oblivion.
We need to see the desperateness of our situation. Romans 3:23 tells us - “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Since we all disobey, we all fall short, we are all lawbreakers, and we deserve the penalty!
Paul tells us that that “we were held in custody under the law.” We were held captive - under arrest. And we will stand before the One who sees all and knows all, the One who holds perfect justice in His hands, the One from whom no secrets are hidden.
So, it seems the only logical thing to do is to always do what is right. That way we won’t be condemned. But time and time again, we find ourselves unable to break free from the power of sin.
Can you picture yourself in that prison waiting for the final verdict? Can you see the dark prison walls closing in? Can you see the bars on the cell door? There is nowhere to escape, nowhere to hide, and not a spark of hope.
Martin Luther lived through this dilemma. He tried and tried and tried to be good enough, do enough penance, punish himself by literally whipping himself. It terrorized him and drove him to deep despair.
Then Luther had a breakthrough. Here is a quote from his commentary on Galatians that captures how he came to understand God's grace in this passage:
“When the law drives you to the point of despair, let it drive you a little farther. Let it drive you straight into the arms of Jesus who says: Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’”
God’s plan is a jailbreak of a different kind.
Picture yourself back in that prison cell – inexcusably guilty.
The prison door flings open wide. On the other side is the Master – Jesus Christ Himself.
He tells God the Father, “I take upon Me all this one’s guilt and wrongs – all their dirty prison clothes. In exchange, immerse them from head to toe with the robe of My righteousness. Now when You look upon them, see only ME. This one is set free.”
Lord, Your have shown me how desperately short I fall from Your plans for me – to reflect Your glory. Your Law shows me without question how utterly lost and imprisoned I am. Thank You for setting me free and clothing me with YOUR robe of righteousness. I am eternally grateful!!