I love the Law. I do. I love how relentless it is, how deep it is. I love how its perfection just blows apart any attempts or thoughts I might have at self-righteousness. And I think of this especially every year as the 6th Sunday after Trinity approaches, and we get Matthew 5:17-26 as the Gospel lesson.
My sinful flesh loves to think it's pretty good. After all, I've tended to make pretty good choices in my life. I've been well disciplined and have exercised much moral restraint - certainly moreso than is typical of my generation. Ah, see my wisdom! See my goodness! See my devotion to God and my progress!
Or so my flesh, my pride, my ego whisper in my ear. And oh, how I could feel so good about it!
And then the Holy Spirit wields His Law, and that perfect Law takes that pride, that arrogance, and blow it apart and it kills it.
So you haven't killed - been angry ever? BOOM!
So, you've never had an affair or fornicated - ever lusted? BOOM!
So you're truthful - ever grandstanded? - BOOM!
On and on it goes.
This is the wonderful thing about the Lutheran approach to the Law. We don't reduce it to a check list. We don't treat it as a mere guide - it's not merely some sage advice to help us be healthy, wealthy, and wise. It's not just there to make sure we make good choices in life.
Think on the Ten Commandments in the Small Catechism - not merely a list of do nots, but do's... and full, and continuing, and unrelenting. And if we are not to be workers of lawlessness - if we let the Law hit us with its full force, we see that we FAIL. We are sinful. We are left to echo Peter - Depart from me, for I am a sinful man! No thoughts of how good or obedient we've been, no protests about how we've made at least decent choices. We are sinners.
As we sang on Sunday: "The Law reveals the guilt of sin and makes us conscience stricken."
And I love this - because my old sinful flesh NEEDS to be killed, it needs to be drowned daily by contrition and repentance. And why? Thusly the song continues: "But then the Gospel enters in the sinful soul to quicken. Come to the Cross, trust Christ and live; the Law no peace can ever give, no comfort and no blessing."
I need Christ. Satan, the world, my flesh - they seek me to forget Christ, to take comfort in myself, my "strength", my "goodness". And it's all lies - but the Law of God bursts through those lies, destroys them - and then I am left with Christ and Him alone - and Christ saves me.
I love the Law, I rejoice in it - because it drives me to Christ.