“Jesus described the moral law as a mirror. You can look at a mirror and find that your face is dirty, but you don’t go and rub your face on the mirror to clean it.”
— Ravi Zacharias
Only by something that transcends anything that we could ever do can we overcome the tragic impasse between us and God.
We are required to fulfil the Law, but by the Law alone we are condemned, because we cannot possibly keep it perfectly. And when we find we cannot do something that God requires, when we urgently seek to obey the Lord, it causes a great deal of inner conflict. This inner conflict is part of the existential chasm we are at odds with all our lives – until, that is, we come to call Christ, Saviour and Lord.
Love surpasses the Law because it heals all our guilt and shame at its source, where we would otherwise be left to flounder.
Let’s not forget, like the mirror, the Law is useful. It shows us our wrong; the stains of past and present – our sin. But the mirror – as a metaphor of the Law – cannot help us, just as the Law cannot help us. The mirror merely points us to the wash rag and soap that can address the dirty face, much like the Law merely points us to the cross that can address a dirty life.
We must have the cross as a way of comprehending that God has made a way for broken, imperfect human beings to enjoy fellowship with him.
And we must have the resurrection as proof that Jesus overcame death, just as he overcame sin on the cross.
Moral law is only half the story. It shows us the truth. It shows us what we need. We need Jesus, who came both as the Law and the Prophets, not to abolish the Law, but to fulfil it.
Love is the fulfilment of the Law, for love surpasses the Law, both by intent and in actuality. Love raises the bar over the Law. It makes it easier to obey, yet it compels us to reach higher.
Only by love could the grip of the Law over us be vanquished.
Only by what God had created before creation itself could have the power to supersede the Law – a thing that all humanity wants and needs; that which makes sense to a human, but has no sense, because it doesn’t work.
Love surpasses the Law because the Law is inherently flawed because it requires perfection from imperfect people; the Law is a divine insanity.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.