By the Book (or maybe not)

law books
Photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/mr_t_in_dc/3756880888/">Mr. T in DC</a>

Galatians 3:19-22

So, what are rules for, then? Rules were made up because people were walking all over each other. Until the arrival of the designated heir, it was given by messengers, via a middleman.

A middleman implies that more than one person was involved, but God is one person. So the question is, do the rules contradict God? Of course, they don’t.

If rules could bring someone to life, then you could be right by just following the rules. But writing down all those rules only ended up trapping everything in a rat race of wrong. So it ends up that embracing the practice of Jesus is the way out of this mess.

In an ideal world, you wouldn’t need rules. In an ideal world, people would treat each other with dignity and respect and love without having to legislate people’s behavior. But it’s not an ideal world.

Paul’s saying that the law cannot give life is like saying you can’t legislate the heart. You can’t always change someone’s mind, but you can (most of the time) limit someone’s bad behavior.

The trouble with legislation, though, is that it quite often has unintended consequences. People who are bent on doing wrong will find a way to use the letter of the law to their advantage, and even use the law to aid and abet them in their wrongdoing. Remember, just because it’s legal doesn’t make it right.

On the positive side, though, if your heart is in the right place, chances are you don’t need many rules to do the right thing. In fact, you may find that to do the right thing you’ll have to break a few. At least, that’s what Jesus found.