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Finally Quiet, At Last: Fulfilling the Law
A Metal Shed of Sin
Have you ever tried to assemble a metal shed? Did you groan when I asked that question? Recently my husband, Phil, and I made that mistake. Needless to say, by the time the project was completed (or as completed as we were going to get it), we’d both sinned enough to send us both straight to hell.
The questions that tormented me afterward were simply this: Who do I think I’m kidding? I write about the gospel? I say I believe it? I write books? What a sham! All I could hear were the Law’s requirements, “Love God!”, “Love Your Neighbor!” screaming at me. I was guilty. I felt hopeless and condemned. I despaired.
My despairing soul needed the comfort that only the gospel could offer. Here’s the consolation that it brought to me when for once I had a clear vision of my sin:
The Law doesn’t have the right to condemn me anymore…in fact, it doesn’t even have the right to speak to me at all because for his own children, Jesus has forever silenced its relentless, impatient demands.
But how do I know that? How can I be sure that I’m not fooling myself? Hear the words of the Savior, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” (Matthew 5:17)
The Weight of the Law
Jesus didn’t silence the Law’s nagging voice by ignoring it. Nor did he diminish it, creating a more user-friendly version. No, in fact, he effectively redefined the Law as to make its demands even more daunting. Love God? Love your neighbor? The law of love doesn’t just mean try to be nicer when you’re frustrated over shed construction. No, it means condescension, sinlessness, humiliation, wrath-bearing, death. Want to know what the Law really demands? Feel the shame of Bethlehem. Weep in Gethsemane. Ponder Calvary’s isolation and agony. Of course, only Jesus could fulfill the Law and proclaim the gospel. He's done it all, so we can rejoice!
Jesus silenced the law by fulfilling its true meaning and answering its every demand.
No, Jesus didn’t make the Law easier, nor did he ignore it. He completed it. For thirty-three years he plumbed the depths of it and poured his righteous life into it so that his Father could be both “just” and the “justifier” of those who put their faith in him. He did everything it demanded so that the Law could finally be silenced. Completely, utterly fulfilled. He did it all so that I could finally rest, too.
The gospel teaches me to tell the Law that it doesn’t have any right to try to condemn me ever again. It tells me that when I hear its voice, I can proclaim that it has already been satisfied and can’t ask for more. And it motivates me to confess my sin and love my husband because I’ve been loved and I’m no longer a slave to its demands. Jesus has done it all. He didn’t silence the Law by abolishing it. No, he silenced it by fulfilling its true meaning and answering its every demand. Thank God that he’s more than our example, he’s our righteousness.