I have a dog named Tojo and he is a Jack Russell Terrier. Actually we have several dogs, but we have had Tojo the longest. He is a good dog who is getting on up in years. He is less hyper than he used to be and maybe a step slower. He is very smart and is patient with our grandson. He stays in our fenced back yard during the day and since the area is nearly an acre, he has plenty of room to run. He has food and water, companionship, and plenty of shade. It’s a good life! Or is it?
We have to be very careful how we go through our gate, because if we’re not on our toes Tojo will fly through the gate like a bolt of lightning. He has done this for years and our first inclination was to go after him, calling for him to come back. The more we chased him the farther he would run. What would cause him to do this? He has a good life and he isn’t mistreated. The problem is the fence. It takes from him the one thing he doesn’t have, his freedom.
At least from our perspective the fence is a good thing. It protects him from danger. When was the last time you heard of a dog being run over by a car while he was in his fence? It also keeps him from destroying other people’s property. From his perspective the fence represents bondage.
Another thing we noticed about Tojo is that when we stopped chasing him and went home he would come back within a few minutes and we would find him waiting at the front door. Now, when he escapes, we don’t bother to chase him; we just go inside and wait. In a few minutes he will be sitting at the front door wagging his tail and wanting to come in. It’s kind of humorous in that when we force him to stay in the fence, the only thing he wants is to escape, but when he has his freedom the only thing he wants is to do is come home.
Isn’t this a wonderful picture of the difference between Law and Grace? The Law is a fence; it defines the boundary of what is permissible and not permissible, what is evil and what is good, but the problem with the Law is that it puts us in bondage. (Galatians 5:1) Not only does the Law represent bondage, but the power of sin is in the Law. (1 Corinthians 15:56) The Law stirs up within us the desire to sin. Look what Paul said in Romans,
Well then, am I suggesting that the law of God is sinful? Of course not! In fact, it was the law that showed me my sin. I would never have known that coveting is wrong if the law had not said, “You must not covet.” But sin used this command to arouse all kinds of covetous desires within me! If there were no law, sin would not have that power. At one time I lived without understanding the law. But when I learned the command not to covet, for instance, the power of sin came to life, and I died. So I discovered that the law’s commands, which were supposed to bring life, brought spiritual death instead. Sin took advantage of those commands and deceived me; it used the commands to kill me. Romans 7:7-11 NLT
Not only does the Law stir up our desire to sin, it is faulty. (Hebrews 8:7) It is important to understand that I am not saying the law is faulty in content. God's Law is perfect in content; it is holy, right and good. (Romans 7:12) The fault of the Law lies in its capability. It’s assessment of our shortcomings are right on the mark, but its ability to lift a finger to help us is nil. The Law does not have the ability to produce righteousness. It is like a mirror in that it shows us that our face is dirty, but it can’t wash our face for us.
Thanks be to God, Jesus tore down that fence (Law) when He died on the cross. He has lifted the veil that separated us from Him and has given us the privilege of being called His children. We have been given our freedom and have been set free from the chains that bound us. The Law that binds has been replaced with a new law, the Law of Liberty.
Since the Law stirs up our desire to sin, what does the Law of Liberty stir up within us? It produces same thing that freedom produces in my dog; the desire to return home. Look what the bible says,
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. Titus 2:11-14
The grace of God produces in us the very thing that the Law could never do. It teaches us to say no to ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly and to do good deeds. These are the very things that were required of us by the Law, but they were only accomplished after the Law was “torn down.” Isn’t that good news? You're free! Free to live your life in complete abandon to Him. Free to run barefoot through the fields of grace. Why would you want to rebuild the fence only to spend your life plotting your next escape?