Question 15: Since no one can keep the law, what is its purpose?
That we may know the holy nature and will of God, and the sinful nature and disobedience of our hearts; and thus our need of a Savior. The law also teaches and exhorts us to live a life worthy of our Savior.
When I was in elementary school, one of my favorite things to do was ride my bike. I became all sorts of “drivers” on that bike. I was allowed to ride anytime I had free time, but there were rules. I could only go about three houses away in either direction. I really hated those limits and felt my mother was trying to stifle my fun for what seemed pretty arbitrary to me. Was I suddenly going to forget how to ride if I went past those houses? Was there evil lurking just on the other side of the “line”? Or was my mother just plain mean? No, no, and yes were my answers then.
Here’s a surprise: I broke the rules on a regular basis. Then, one day I was several houses past the line and I had an accident. The street had just been tarred and graveled and there was lots of loose gravel. My bike got out of my control because of the gravel. I tried to stop my fall and got my foot caught upside down under my tire. To make matters worse, I was barefoot which I’m pretty sure was also against the rules (or should have been). That gravel tore the top of my foot all to pieces; I can still see the scars over 50 years later! In my panic and pain, I was afraid to go home. I was sure my mother would know where I was when I fell. So, I went to a neighbor’s house. The mother of the house couldn’t speak English (thank goodness she couldn’t call my mom), but she tenderly cared for me and my injury.
Now, with more experience and a tiny bit of wisdom under my belt, I realize my mother wasn’t mean. She loved me very much. She wanted me to stay within shouting distance of home in case something happened and I needed her. She was just trying to keep me safe.
And that, my friends, is just a small glimpse of what our heavenly Father wants for us. He has provided us with a safety net because he loves us so much. Does he know that we will rebel and break his laws? Of course, he does! Does he know that we’ll believe we can keep these laws and create our own righteousness? He knows that, too. And he helps us to realize that we just can’t do it. We don’t have the power within us. So, he sent his beloved son to do it for us. All we have to do is give up and let him have control. We’ll still miss the mark and break his laws. But instead of running away from him and hiding, we need to run into his open, loving arms. He will be there to soothe and heal our wounds. And I’m so grateful for that, scars and all.