There are a multiplicity of things that go through my mind in a day's time. I really don't know what I'll be thinking about from one minute to the next. But one thing that generally permeates my brain in some way, for most of every day, is the strong arm of the law and the sweetness of the gospel.
Martin Luther once said something like this: "Give the law to the hard hearted. Give the gospel to the broken hearted." I remember the first time I ever heard that statement. My heart leaped for joy because I understood the meaning behind the words. The more I've meditated on the phrase, the more I've combed through Scripture since then, the more I've seen it in action. The more true it has become.
The primary use of the law of Yahweh is not to curb evil or to instruct us in righteousness. The law does both of those things, and both of those are good things. The law itself is holy, just, good, and spiritual (Romans 7:12, 14). But the primary use of that holy, just, good, and spiritual law is to show us sons of Adam and daughters of Eve that we are not holy, just, good, and spiritual. The problem has never been with the law. The problem is with us. The law's number one function is to reveal our sin. It proves to us that we are transgressors.
I find it amazing that in the large scope of Christianity today we have various groups that believe jumping through their particular hoops makes them righteous. Each group focuses on one or two or maybe a handful of laws (some of which are not found in Yahweh's law by the way), and if they practice those it makes them better than everyone else. This isn't how it works. Yahweh doesn't operate like this.
Yahweh is perfect. He is without flaw. His law is the same because it emanates from His being (Psalm 19:7). He has told us in His law that a person is cursed if they don't continue in all the words of His law (Deuternomy 27:26). What the prideful heart does is read that and then fool itself into thinking he or she is not cursed. So long as a person doesn't smoke or drink, murder or rape someone, there a good person. Just vote republican instead of democrat and you're squeaky clean.
The Bible says that there's not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins (Ecclesiastes 7:20). If Yahweh kept track of sins, no one could stand in His presence (Psalm 130:1-3). All have sinned and fallen short of His glory (Romans 3:23). And if even believers say we have no sin we deceive ourselves (1 John 1:8). If we keep the whole law, yet offend in one point, we are guilty of violating it all (James 2:10). Paul said it well by saying that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, and in my flesh dwells no good thing (Romans 7:14, 18).
Until a person comes to grips with this, they need to keep hearing it over and over. The man or woman that hasn't come to terms about their sinfulness will not appreciate the gospel. They won't long for the gospel. The gospel will not be good news to them, they already think they are good. They've got it all ironed out already. They go to church once a week, and have the "read the Bible in a year program" in their wallet or purse for crying out loud.
This is what it means to give the law to the hard hearted. The hard hearted person, the person that has yet to fully realize their utter depravity, needs to keep hearing the holiness, perfection, and strong arm of the law. They don't need to hear that they are a saint, they in fact may not be. They need to hear that they are a sinner. A wretched sinner. A miserable soul headed for destruction.
But, at the moment we break. At the moment our heart crumbles of its pride and arrogance. The instant we admit we are doomed because we haven't met the law's requirements. It is then that we need to hear the sweetness of the gospel. That Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:1-5). That he who knew no sin became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21). That he was bruised for our iniquities and the punishment for our peace fell upon him (Isaiah 53:5). That right there is some sweet news to a broken heart.
I see this at work in my day-to-day life as a parent. My children range from ages 6 to 16. Each day in some way I give someone the strong arm of the law, and each day in some way someone gets the sweetness of the gospel. I can see when my children "buck up" against me or their mother. I can sense when they are resisting authority. I can feel when their heart is hard, and when I feel it, I give them more law, more discipline. They must realize that they've not just disobeyed dad, they've violated the rules of the Creator of all things.
I often see their little hearts break. They tear up and grab me and say, "Oh dad... I'm so sorry." Just the other day one of my children hugged me, cried, and said, "I don't want to be like this dad." How did I respond? More law? Nope, they had heard enough law. I rather told them, "Take heart my child, your sins are forgiven."
Blog by Matthew Janzen. Lover of Yahweh, Yeshua, my wife and 5 children. All else is commentary.