2006-09-13 / Religion

From the Pulpit

We need more than a desire to be good
Heath Kahlbau

Galatians 3:23-24

Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.

Have you ever had an xray? What does it do? (Exposes what's broken). What effect does it have on a patient to see a broken bone on an x-ray? (Causes us to submit to a physician's treatment). I know you're thinking, "What do x-rays and scriptures have to do with each other?" Well, let me ask a question in response: What does the scripture mean when it says that the law was given to be our guardian?

Probably one of the closest descriptions we have in the English language for the Greek word translated here as "guardian" is the word "truant officer." If you ever watched the "Little Rascals," (or had personal experience with a truant officer) then you know that the truant officer's job is to catch kids that were playing hookey and take them to school and plop them down in front of their teacher where they belonged.

When the scriptures say that the law (10 Commandments) is our guardian, this is what it is saying. The law of God exposes us like an x-ray and shows us that we need a savior, and drives us to the cross.

The law is never intended to heal our sin-wrecked heart (any more than an xray is intended to heal a broken bone), but rather to reveal to us that our heart is sin-wrecked.

One thing that often happens to us as Christians is that we unintentionally begin to think that the Christian life is a matter of trying to be good, and trying to obey the law.

The problem is twofold: First, we cannot obey the law, and second we're misunderstanding why God gave it in the first place. If after receiving an x-ray, we asked the doctor to perform another x-ray so that the xray could fix our broken bone, he'd probably smile at our ignorance.

As silly as that would be, it is no more silly than our trying to heal a sin-wrecked heart by turning over a new leaf and trying to keep the law.We need much more than to be told what we should do. We need to be healed and we need the power to desire and to do what we should do. Only our Great Physician can give us this.

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