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The law leads us to Christ

May 26, 2008

by Rev. Eric Nelson, St. Paul Lutheran Church, Lester Prairie

Lex semper accusat.

Latin has such an ecclesiastical ring to it. It makes simple phrases sound profound and noble. In this case, it expresses an unavoidable truth: the law always accuses.

The law always accuses because it is not merely interested in outward behavior. The true target of the law is what lies inside of us.

The Lord stated that it not what is on the outside that makes us unclean. It is what is inside that ruins us. From the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, and slander. (Matthew 15:19).

So what do we do about the law? How do we put an end to its accusations?

There are a few popular strategies. Some will simply ignore the law and its demands. After all, a truly loving and gracious God would not punish us.

Others simply claim that the law and its demands are outdated. They were meant for a different people living at different time.

Others will attempt to put forth a good effort with the idea that such sincere effort and piety should count for something before the Almighty and get him off of our backs.

Yet, no matter what we do with the law, we cannot get rid of its accusations. The finger of God’s justice continues to point at us and declare that we are guilty.

There is only one solution: Christ Jesus. He is the end of the law and its accusations. That is why he became our flesh and bone and went to the cross in our place.

On the cross, Jesus took upon Himself all of our sins. This means that the finger of God’s justice now pointed to Him and pronounced Him guilty. As a result, He took our punishment and death.

However, the death Jesus suffered on the cross for our sins was not His end. On the third day, He rose again. The resurrection proclaims that the law has been fulfilled. The accusations have been silenced.

That is how the law leads us to Christ. The law reveals that we have sinned and stand guilty. As a result, we need a Savior.

Jesus has come to be such a Savior for us. That is why He suffered and died. That is why He rose again.

Lex semper accusat has now come to an end. In its place is gloria in excelsis for the mercy and grace we have in Christ Jesus our Lord!