This weekend we went out with some of our amazing friends, two of which are my cherished girlfriends I don't get to spend enough time with. I was feeling fancy enough to wear this hot pink lipstick my makeup artist sister-in-love gave to me (spoiler alert: I don't wear it nearly as good as she does.) By the time I got done with my tacos, I looked like a child who just finished a strawberry popsicle in the middle of summer. No matter how nicely they tried to direct me to the hot pink smudges, the situation could not be mended. Both being mothers, their Mom lightbulb went off, they dug for a baby wipe, & sent me to a mirror. Though seeing the disaster for myself made me feel even more like a 5 year old, I was able to wipe away the impurities and start fresh.
Fast forward to tonight when I heard Dr. Justin Cooper speak at our church. This wasn't even his main point, but it struck me because it reminded me of my lipstick disaster...
The Law of the Old Testament is like a mirror given to show us our sin, our impurities so that we see our need for Grace through Jesus, the only thing that can take our sin away and make us clean.
Whoa, I know. That was a big jump.
Let's back up with a Law v. Grace crash course.
God gave the Israelites laws that would serve to...
A) set the Jewish people apart so that others would see God's presence in their lives.
B) lead them to recognize Jesus Christ as the Messiah, along with the prophecies given throughout Jewish history.
For example, the Passover symbolized the night the angel passed over every Hebrew home that sacrificed a lamb & covered their doorpost with its blood, sparing the first-born from physical death. Almost 1500 years later, Jesus would sacrifice His life, shedding His blood so that we would be spared from a spiritual death.
Many Jewish laws were a foreshadowing of Jesus & the deliverance He would bring.
When Jesus came He fulfilled every prophecy. He followed every Jewish Law because they were given by God. But the Jews had gotten so preoccupied with the act of carrying out the Law that they forgot the point of the Law. Now that Jesus was here, they didn't have to sacrifice animals to have their sins forgiven, He would soon give the sacrifice of His perfect human life. The religious leaders saw Him as a Law-breaker, but He actually fulfilled the Law perfectly so that Grace could enter in.
We as Christians are saved by Grace, not the Law.
The Law serves as a mirror that shows us our inadequacies. It reveals our need for Something stronger. How can we fix something that we cannot see?
Grace, the avenue through which Jesus bestows salvation to all who believe in Him, is what wipes away all the stains that are revealed by the Law.
... Just like my hot pink makeup disaster would have never been controlled without, first, a mirror. & then a good cleansing.
The old hymn says...
Jesus paid it all. All to Him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain. He washed it white as snow.
When we receive Him as our Savior, we are pure. He doesn't see our sin anymore, we are spotless.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. - John 3.16-17
Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. - Romans 5.1
For by grace are ye saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. - Ephesians 2.8-9
Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. - Jesus, Matthew 5.17
None of us are perfect, no matter how closely we follow the rules. We need His Grace.
Have you let Him cleanse you today?