Most of us have the idea we can do things on our own. Have you ever tried to help a child do something only to have them say to you “I can do it!?” Even though as the adult you could overpower the child and just do it for them; the only way they ever really see they can’t is by letting them try. Some children will try and try while others give in pretty quickly. The funny thing is some of us still behave this way even as we grow older. Jesus told us apart from him we can do nothing, but for some reason we continue to attempt doing things on our own.
The problem God has with man isn’t so much sin as it is our being so hard headed and not wanting to admit the truth. From the time Adam disobeyed in the Garden He’s been working on getting us back to the truth. The truth is we are hopelessly unable to live our lives in a manner pleasing to God. The reason is because we have a spirit of independence living within us and it has to be exposed. The question is how does God get our attention and show us our real problem?
God is so wise in the manner in which he deals with us. Rather than just force his way into our lives He plays along with us, at least for a while. He knows we are powerless without him, but we don’t yet know it. How will he bring this news to our attention?
You see the devil is the one that brought this whole independent spirit into being. He started this whole deception that we can be like God. He somehow has gotten the idea that he can make himself like God and has since infected the whole human race with the same deception. God understands clearly what our problem is so he set out to expose the lie and reveal the truth to us.
When God gave us his commandments the independent spirit within us had us believing we could keep them. God, knowing we can’t, says, okay give it your best shot then. Rather than just scrap the whole human race idea again, he came up with the plan of letting the law do what only it can do. While the law was always meant to reveal sin and lead us to Christ we, in our deceived state, started to believe we could actually obey it. Paul told us in Romans 5 “The Law came in so that the transgression would increase…” It wasn’t given to keep us from sinning but on the contrary it was given so sin would increase. This sounds kind of nutty at first but once God shows you, it will make all the sense in the world.
The Law wasn’t meant to be a list of dos and don’ts, it was given to show us what God is like. It’s as if God said, “You think you can be like me? Okay, here’s what I’m like give it a good try. When you discover you can’t do it you can come to me and receive the provision I offer you in my Son Jesus Christ.” The letter to the Galatians tells us “The Law is our schoolmaster to lead us to Christ” rather than something we can do. The truth is it’s a mirror so we might see we can’t.
You see, from God’s perspective we’re not good and bad people, rather we’re dead in our trespasses and sins. God wants to solve our real problem and give us life not just make us better people. The Law can’t make us good people but it can lead us to the one that can give us life. Galatians puts it like this, “If a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law. But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.”
So, just like that little stubborn child, God knew all along we couldn’t meet the requirements, but seeing how hardheaded we were, he devised the perfect plan. Rather than berate us, He essentially said, “Okay, if you think you can do this I’ll tell you what it’s going to take and when you’ve finally gotten tired of trying and failing I’ll be right here waiting for you.” We give this thing called life a good go for a while only to find ourselves in a mess that only God can clean up; so when all our resources have been exhausted we fall at his feet in a pile and cry out “Who will deliver me?” Oh yeah, I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”