5:20 "Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, 21 so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
If you ever feel like your head spins a little when you read Paul's letters fret not. Here is what Peter had to say about his written art work:
2 Peter 3:15 "...and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures."
So Paul isn't always easy to understand and it is true that most of the errors that have crept into Christianity over the centuries use a twisted explanation from Paul's writings to support them.
Now back to the law. Paul says basically the law got magnified so that sin could be magnified so that grace could be magnified so that Jesus could be magnified!
I want us to consider for a moment the first sermon Jesus ever preached that we know of. It starts in Matthew 5 with "Blessed are the poor in Spirit..." and after the series of "blessed are" statements Jesus goes into a "You have been taught but I say..." In each of them he introduces a topic, states the current teaching of the church and then says what the law really means on that topic.
Let's take adultery. Adultery used to be a crime. It still is a crime on the books in many states in the USA. Adultery is when you are married and you sleep with someone who isn't your wife or husband. In Jesus' time this was a crime punishable by stoning. In some countries it still is. But Jesus had a different take on adultery. He said adultery starts in the mind. He said if you look at someone and desire to sleep with them you are an adulterer.
Riddle me this. If you were taken to heaven with the mind of an adulterer would you be happy there? If you went to heaven and still had hate in your heart would you be happy there? If you went to heaven and you were the same exact person on the inside with the same fears, anxieties, insecurities, and destructive thoughts and desires that you have now would streets of gold really make it all better?
See we have a way of painting over our real issues and making them seem not so bad. Jesus preached that sermon in such a way as to tear off the painted on smile and socially acceptable behaviour and expose the rotten floorboards and cracked foundation of our heart.
"This is the work of God that you believe on the One He has sent" - Jesus
Abraham believed and it was counted as righteousness. Do we believe that the same God who brought Isaac from a dead womb can create a new heart and mind in us?
See you tomorrow