"Mom, who did the Pharisees believe in?" Jacob asked from the backseat of the car.
"Themselves," I answered. "They believed in themselves, in their ability to keep the law." And it was one of those moments when teacher and student were learning together because as the answer was coming out of my mouth, I was having a God moment. It was like a word of wisdom, and the words were not mine.
God is the Lawgiver.
He has created this world and set it in motion.
In Him we live and breathe and have our being.
And from this incredible, eternal Mind comes Law which sustains His creation.
He wrote scientific laws, like gravity.
He wrote economic laws, like supply and demand.
And He wrote moral law, which He originally entrusted to Israel.
His Law cannot be broken without serious consequence.
And therein lies the irony...
because break it we do.
Minute by minute.
In short, He wrote a Law we cannot keep.
This Law that is impossible to keep demonstrates to us what is right and what is wrong.
The Law reveals to us our sin,
which reveals our dead-ness,
which reveals our need for a Savior...
someone who can keep the Law,
and pay our penalty,
and make us right with God.
That is the function of the Law.
And in Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, He interprets the Law to implicate us all.
If there was any doubt as to our ability to achieve right standing with God through the Law,
it was all cleared up then.
"Think you've kept the whole law? Let's talk about calling your brother 'Raca.'"
No wonder the Pharisees were mad.
They thought that Jesus was making the Law impossible to fulfill.
But He wasn't adding new requirements.
He was acting the Judge, interpreting for the people what the Law had always meant to the Lawgiver.
The Law had always been impossible to fulfill!
Being the Lawgiver is serious business.
And it is a job reserved for God Himself.
But over the last few years, the Lord has been showing me how much I like to play Lawgiver.
I write new laws
and hold others to them
and make judgments based on whether they 'keep' them.
What is 'sin' but the failure to keep the Law,
literally 'missing the mark?'
So when I write a new Law, and others fail to keep my law...
I'm really saying they are sinning, because they're missing my mark.
I can think of laws I've written regarding all kinds of issues of conscience:
youth groups and children's church
nose rings and tattoos
women working outside the home.
(We need to have standards.
Christians are notorious for feeling, rather than praying and thinking, their way through life.
We need to be in the Word, applying the Word...
and I'll get to that.)
I can have a value on homeschooling and commit to it, come hell or highwater.
I can define what I think it is and what I think it's not.
I can even assess, based on my definition, "I don't think X is homeschooling."
But I cannot say that not homeschooling is sin.
I cannot say that because God does not say that.
I don't want to write any more Law.
I am a worm.
I am but dust.
I am not qualified to write Law.
God is holy.
God is perfect.
God is the author of Creation
and the source of all knowledge
and the source of all wisdom.
He alone is qualified to be the Lawgiver.
"Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen." (I Timothy 1:17)
Lord, help me to remember that You alone are the Lawgiver.
And I am the sinner--saved by grace.
(Up next, what I'm learning abut issues of conscience and setting standards...)