As a 19 year old army soldier, he and two others attacked and killed one man, wounding another. The 19 year old went to prison for 23 years as a convicted killer. In 1977 he escaped, disappeared and assumed a new identity. Then, March, 2014, Federal marshals arrested him outside his work place. He didn’t respond when called by his real name—perhaps for not speaking it so long.
The story illustrates the bulldog-tenacity of law, especially where murder is committed. Those enforcing the law never stop looking for the guilty. The murder may be found in a high pile of cold cases, but hot interest always pursues them. San Diego Union Tribune, 3/15/14
The spiritual application of law is even-more alarming.
God’s law, revealed through Moses, like all law in all nations, had the purpose of controlling behavior by limiting misbehavior. And, when violations occurred, constituted authority imposed restitution or penalties.
Law always looks to adherence, even to those rules we may not know: ignorance of the law is no excuse. It seeks penalties on breakage since its purpose is to force compliance. The pivot in law is always, “why haven’t you obeyed?” And, if we’re guilty of breaking even one of 10 laws, no limit to the amount of misbehavior exists.
Unforgiven sin is like the crime the man committed. God’s justice never forgets; that sin is always inscribed in the Books God keeps on each of us Revelation 20:12. We may forget we sinned but in vain if we don’t have it forgiven, for it will, like that man’s past, rise up in the most unexpected time and denounce us.
Now…thank God for Grace…a word of hope. While law searches God’s justice looking for a rule to condemn, Grace ransacks God’s love seeking an exception that forgives. The pivot in grace is always “how can this sinner be exonerated?”
Law was preventative, given to protect others from ourselves. “If you don’t do good, at least don’t do bad to others.” Grace was given to be pro-active, freeing behavior to benefit others. “I must help you any way you need it because God has helped me.”
At Judgment, only Grace, not Justice, will look at every page in our book and find FORGIVEN scrawled in blood-red letters. Then we’ll know what “saved by grace alone through faith” really means. And if no Grace looks in, endless lists of sins glare at the sinner. And you know what that means!