Why We Need the Law

The law is not a tool in the hands of a vengeful, condemning God. Rather, it is a gift of grace.

For both the Israelites thousands of years ago and for us today, the law is a mirror we desperately need to look into. And if we’re honest, we will admit that we transgress against that law, and often. But this isn’t just about our actions. Jesus says the law is not just for behavior, it’s for our hearts as well. Without the law, we are prone to believe that we are sin-free. But with the law, we are crushed.


I had a terrible habit of telling white lies when I was younger.

“Thanks for inviting me to your birthday party, but my grandparents will be in town.” “Thank you for asking me out, and I would, but my dad wants to go camping.” “I appreciate the invitation to youth group, but I have a huge test tomorrow.”

When my now-husband and I started dating, he overheard me telling white lies to other people and he called me out. I defended myself. I was just doing it to be polite, I explained. I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. That’s the definition of a white lie, “a lie about a small or unimportant matter that someone tells to avoid hurting another person.”[1]

But he was adamant that, small or not, they were lies. The motive didn’t matter, he said. I was intentionally deceiving another person. With arms crossed and jaw dropped, I didn’t have much of a defense.

I couldn’t see that my white lies were wrong until they were held up to a clear standard.

A Sin Is a Sin—No Matter How Small

I had justified years of fibbing in the name of being polite. But the black and white measuring stick of truth showed my lying for what it was: deception.

In reality, I wasn’t kind; I was a liar.

“Why then the law?” Paul asks in Galatians 3. He answers his rhetorical question this way: “It was added because of transgressions” (Gal. 3:19).

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