The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more… Romans 5:20.
It’s hard to believe, but for centuries God had no law against sin. Each man did what was right in his own eyes. So, in a sense you could say that no one sinned! But could it really be that easy? No, for God is not holy by choice but it is the essence of his being. And although sin was present, only to those he called would God reveal the presence of sin. And to them a law that defined justice and righteousness was given. Punishment, then also came into effect.
Until the time of Christ, God’s people were required to live (or die) according to this law. Death however would ultimately be the consequence for any and all sins; for God had established a system of sacrifice that required a life for a life. This of course was fulfilled by Jesus, who took on himself the sins of the world. All sin is contrary to the holiness of God and no good done can blot it out. Sin, once committed, excludes every man (or woman) from the presence of God as the sentence of death is handed down.
But we are eternally thankful for the gift of sacrifice given through the life blood of Jesus. By believing in the power of this gift to forgive us of our sins, we enter again into the favor of God. But under the law, a man was bound to sin. For God’s law offered no hope of overcoming sin, only a constant reminder of the presence of sin and the penalty of death.
Accepting this gift of forgiveness by faith brings to each man and woman the very presence and nature of God. In other words, we acquire the essence of His being; Holiness! And in Holiness there is no sin, in fact there cannot be. For holiness is as resistant to sin, as the sun of being quenched by darkness. But unfortunately, this holiness does not overcome our entire being, at least not immediately. Rather, God has now truly given to us the opportunity of choice. By the presence of God dwelling within a believer, a new strength is given. For, where sin is present, grace is all the more present. Or to say it with the provided power applied – where we have been ruled and overpowered by sin, we now have within us the power to respond to that sin, and say no! No longer are you my master! For as Jesus overcame death, the penalty for sin; greater now is this power within me, than that power without, which used to rule!
Now, there is no temptation to great, no mountain to high, nor wall to great to climb. All that comes before us, we must view as the opportunity for choice, the opportunity to let the Spirit of Christ (if we claim to know him) be expressed though our being. In love, faithfulness, kindness, joy, peace, mercy and forgiveness, the presence of God is shown. These are just a few of the virtues that the Spirit of God will develop in us. For although we may wish to claim these as virtue’s of our own nature, trials and adversity will challenge that claim and reveal the true character that is present. But in grace, God supplies the need. And in no way will you lack the ability to rise above the height of sin and temptation, to express the Holy nature that now dwells within!