Come with me to the land of my nightmares. Marmite is discovered to be a wonder-food. (If you like Marmite, pretend with me that you don’t.) More than just packed with B-vitamins, Marmite heals all ills, ends war, solves global warming and even cures the common cold! Eat Marmite and I’ll never die! Amazing – but I hate it. A law is passed that everyone must eat Marmite every day. Blergh. But it’s the law, so I grudgingly shove down the minimum I can get away with and wash away the taste with chocolate.
And then the law is repealed! Huzzah! I am free. No more Marmite for me! But freedom from Marmite means freedom from its life-giving benefits. The law was designed to bring life, and what I think of as my freedom is actually killing me! Not because anyone is making me die, that’s just how it is without Marmite.
Sigh. If only Marmite were chocolate! If chocolate were the cure-all, which by law I had to eat every day, I’d happily obey. If the law were repealed, I’d still eat, because that law would be in my heart.
That is what God has done for us in Jesus. The Law that was written on stone and made us aware of sin, leading to death, is now written on our hearts and leads to life. Marmite becomes chocolate and we are “obedient from the heart”. We are free from the Law, (Paul poses the question), so should we now abandon it? “No way!” he exclaims. The gift of God is the miracle of turning Marmite into chocolate – putting the law in our hearts so that we obey from love, not duty, and gladly follow the path to eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
To think about: Does it matter what we do, since we are not under law but under grace? Why?