Summary: Why couldn’t the Law of God make us acceptable to God? And if it couldn’t save me, what could?
OPEN: The following is a list of police comments that reportedly were taken from actual police car videos where police arrested various law-breakers:
1. One officer told a man who was complaining about how tight the handcuffs were by saying: "Relax; the handcuffs are tight because they’re new. They’ll stretch out after you wear them awhile."
2. Another criminal looked like he was going to run: "If you run, you’ll only go to jail tired."
3. Another dangerous criminal was warned: "Can you run faster than 1200 feet per second? In case you didn’t know, that is the average speed of a 9 mm bullet fired from my gun."
4. One traffic violator wanted to talk to the shift supervisor: "Yes, sir, you can talk to the shift supervisor, but I don’t think it will help. Oh, did I mention that I am the shift supervisor?"
5. A drunk was pulled over and asked a series of questions ending with this one: "Was Mickey Mouse a cat or a dog?"
These last four were said to speeders:
6. "No, sir, we don’t have quotas anymore. We used to have quotas, but now we’re allowed to write as many tickets as we want."
7. "I’m glad to hear the Chief of Police is a good personal friend of yours. At least you know someone who can post your bail."
8. "You didn’t think we give pretty women tickets? You’re right, we don’t. Sign here."
9. "Warning? You want a warning? O.K., I’m warning you not to do that again or I’ll give you another ticket." (Alan Smith)
APPLY: The law can be a difficult thing for us. We don’t mind it when someone else (who deserves to be pulled over) is stopped by the police. But we’re really not all that happy when a they pull us over!
At times like that, it’s hard to remember – Mr. policeman is your friend.
But (most of the time) policemen really are our friends. They are there to defend and protect us against forces we couldn’t control on our own.
ILLUS: I once read the true story of a woman who called the police department and complained, "People are speeding on our street, endangering the lives of children walking to school."
The next morning, she herself was stopped for speeding. "But officer," she pleaded, "I’m the person who called yesterday to tell police about these speeders."
"Well then, ma’am," he replied, handing her a ticket, "you should be happy we caught one."
(Readers Digest 7/93 p.26)
The law is the law, and if we’re caught breaking it, we pay a penalty.
And that is the consistent message in the Bible
The Law of God is the Law of God, and if you break it there is a penalty
Romans 6:23 tells us of that penalty: “…the wages of sin is death…”
In the Old Testament Law, almost everything was punishable by death
· Breaking the Sabbath
· Attacking or Cursing your parents
· Blaspheming the name of God
And the list went on and on and on.
(PAUSE) And ultimately, every sin an Israelite might commit called for death.
Either of the perpetrator of the sin… or the death of a substitute - an animal brought as a sacrifice. The law of God repeatedly drove home that we were sinners. As Paul wrote: “through the law we become conscious of sin.” Romans 3:20
Now, how many of you have been given a ticket for speeding? (almost everyone raised their hand). Me too. Now, I don’t feel so bad. But do you remember thinking to yourself: “I really didn’t think I was speeding. I was just driving along at a what I thought was a safe speed!”?
And no one was more surprised than you were when those red and blue lights went off in your rearview mirror. You didn’t really think you broke the law. But you did.
And that’s what Paul is telling the Jewish Believers in Rome. Apparently some of them had the misunderstanding that all they had to do was obey the OT laws and they’d be OK with God. They didn’t think they ever really broke the law. They might have pushed the limit a little bit.
But break it? Nah.
So Paul spends a great deal of time in his letter explaining that God’s law was pulling them over to the side of the road. The law found them guilty of sin. And if they depended upon obeying the law to make them acceptable to God, they were in for a rude surprise:
Paul explained that NONE of them had ever kept the law perfectly and so “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23