The law declares us guilty and leaves us without hope. Here, grace rushes in to rescue us. When Satan keeps his palace -- the hearts of unsaved men -- his goods are in peace. But Christ came. He took from the strong man the armor in which he trusted (Luke 11:17-22). And in the preaching of Christ's glorious achievements for sinners, the Spirit of Christ takes away the blindness of His sheep who are held by Satan (Acts 26:18; 2 Cor. 4:4-6). Christ, by His Spirit, reveals that the covering we trust by nature -- our best actions, intentions, and religious experiences -- is vile nakedness. He convinces us of our unbelief. He convinces us that we are miserable, wretched, poor, blind and naked before God until by faith Christ and Him crucified, risen and reigning is everything to us in our salvation (Rev. 3:17-18). The Spirit of God convinces us of Christ's righteousness: that His obedience unto death is the only righteousness there is (Psalm 71:6; Isaiah 45:24; Jer. 23:5-6; Rom. 3:21; 10:4; Philippians 2:5-8; 3:9). Never is a sinner free until he is set free by seeing Christ as his full answer to God for sin and righteousness, an untarnished covering that God provided, the only covering He approves! Christ is the sinner’s refuge and answer to God in heaven, in his conscience and in the day of judgment. The law is good, but I am sinful. Yet Christ is all righteous, and He only is righteous. He bids me look to Him in the Gospel revelation by faith and be saved (Isaiah 45:22; John 6:37-40)! By faith in Him only, God declares that I am the righteousness of God in Him (Jer. 33:16; Rom. 10:4; 1 Cor. 1:30-31).
We all are legalists by nature. We can only think of coming to God and being accepted by Him by our own personal obedience, by our intentions, our experiences, by something about us or in us. We naturally fear what complete freedom in Christ will do to this sinful nature. But when God writes the gospel of His free and sovereign grace in Christ on our hearts, when He reveals to our conscience the free and full forgiveness that is ours by His redemption, and when we see that every supply of grace is met in Him, every need before God has been fulfilled and satisfied in Him, then and only then are we truly free. "If the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed" (John 8:32,36)! And until the Son of God makes us free, we are in bondage to sin and the law (Rom. 7:1-4; 2 Pet. 2:19).
We ought to fear God’s law if we imagine that by keeping it we will somehow endear ourselves to God, make ourselves acceptable to Him, obtain His favor or earn from Him a reward (Rom. 4:4-5). If we come to God by our works, we will be judged by our works (Gen. 4:3-7). But if we come to God by Christ, we will be judged by His works!
O, Blessed Savior! The strictness of God’s holy law is magnified by your glorious achievements for sinners! Let this sinner to Thy bosom fly! May I be found in you alone, who, by God, have been made to your people, righteousness (1 Cor. 1:30)! Give me to know the liberty with which you have found and made your lost sheep free, that I may see your glory in your salvation and serve you in truth and love with a pure heart (Ex. 7:16; 8:1; 1 Tim. 1:5)!