Summary: The Law came thru Moses, Grace and truth thru Jesus. What was the difference?
OPEN: Back in the 70’s the Police Dept. of the State Connecticut had a regulation, a law that after the 1st snowfall each vehicle in squadron had to have chains on its tires. One day after a particularly bad winter storm, a woman called into the police to report an accident where a state Trooper’s car had ended up upside down by the side of the road.
“Is anyone hurt?” the dispatcher asked.
“I don’t know,” the woman replied. “But, he is acting a bit bizarre. He’s standing on the car trying to put snow chains on the tires.”
APPLY: Now, did that police officer know what that regulation was?
Well yeah - he was putting chains on the car. BUT he was putting them on after the accident.
Why would he do that? Why would he put the chains on AFTER the accident?
Well… he was doing that, because there was a penalty. There was a price to be paid for his negligence. I don’t know what that penalty was, but it WAS severe enough - that he struggled to put the chains on even when they’d do absolutely no good.
I. Any law… in order to be effective - has to have penalties
John tells us that when God gave the law, He gave it through Moses.
Were there penalties then?
Oh yeah… look with me to Exodus 19:9-15
“The LORD said to Moses, ‘I am going to come to you in a dense cloud, so that the people will hear me speaking with you and will always put their trust in you.’ Then Moses told the LORD what the people had said.
And the LORD said to Moses, ‘Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow. Have them wash their clothes and be ready by the third day, because on that day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. Put limits for the people around the mountain and tell them, “Be careful that you do not go up the mountain or touch the foot of it. Whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death. He shall surely be stoned or shot with arrows; not a hand is to be laid on him. Whether man or animal, he shall not be permitted to live.” Only when the ram’s horn sounds a long blast may they go up to the mountain.’
After Moses had gone down the mountain to the people, he consecrated them, and they washed their clothes. Then he said to the people, ‘Prepare yourselves for the third day. Abstain from sexual relations.’” (Exodus 19:9-15)
The law of Moses began with penalties:
God told Moses: “Put limits for the people around the mountain and tell them, ’Be careful that you do not go up the mountain or touch the foot of it. Whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death.’” (Exodus 19:12)
There were penalties associated with the Law of Moses
not just IN the Law
but even ON THE DAY that the Law was introduced.
Why are there penalties associated with laws?
BECAUSE nobody will pay any attention to a Law if there are no consequences.
The purpose of a law is to help us understand what is acceptable and what isn’t.
The Law is there to draw a line that says – “don’t cross here…” “don’t do this…” “don’t do that…”
BECAUSE - if you do cross here… or do this… or do that… there is a price to be paid.
ILLUS: Have you ever had a speeding ticket? (wait for a response)
Good… now I don’t feel so bad! Last Thursday, I was going up to my sister’s and I was late. As I came onto US 31, almost everyone was going 70 to 75 miles an hour… so I did too.
Now, I don’t know what happened to those other fellows… but the police caught me. I was given a ticket for $108.
II. Now, let’s ask a question… was the law good?
Oh yeah. Laws are there to protect us from individuals that do wrong.
They exist to protect us from people who endanger others because they’re in a hurry
The law that Connecticut officer disregarded (about the tire chains) existed to protect him and his vehicle from just the type of accident that turned his car upside down.
Laws are basically good. But laws have a couple of weaknesses.
1st… while laws exist to protect us, they can’t necessarily make us better citizens.
If we don’t want to obey a law… we won’t.
Did I know what the speed limit was last Thursday? Yeah, 55 mph. I can recite it in my sleep now.
Did that Connecticut State Policeman know what the law was? Yeah… that’s why he was putting the chains on after the accident.