DayBreaks for 09/23/11 – The Stop Sign and Fire
Dorothy Sayers, the mystery writer, was also a devoted Christian. Dorothy Sayers was attempting to explain the moral law of God. She pointed out that in our society there are two kinds of laws. There is the law of the stop sign, and there’s the law of the fire. The law of the stop sign is a law that says the traffic is heavy on a certain street, and as a result the police department or the city council decides to erect a stop sign. They also decide that if you run that stop sign, it will cost you $25 or $30 or $35. If the traffic changes, they can up the ante. That is if too many people are running the stop sign, they can make the fine $50 or $75, or if they build a highway around the city, they can take the stop sign down, or reduce the penalty, making it only $10 if you go through. The police department or city council controls the law of the stop sign.
But then she said there is also the law of the fire. And the law of the fire says if you put your hand in the fire, you’ll get burned. Now imagine that all of the legislatures of all the nations of the entire world gathered in one great assembly, and they voted unanimously that here on out that fire would no longer burn. The first man or woman who left that assembly and put his or her hand in the fire would discover that the law of the fire is different than the law of the stop sign. Bound up in the nature of fire itself is the penalty for abusing it. So, Dorothy Sayers says, the moral law of God is like the law of the fire. You never break God’s laws; you just break yourself on them. God can’t reduce the penalty, because the penalty for breaking the law is bound up in the law itself.
We would like to delude and comfort ourselves by thinking that God’s laws are all just like the law of the stop sign, and not like the law of fire. They’re not. We think that we may just bruise ourselves a bit when we violate one of His laws, but Romans 6:23 says it’s a far more serious thing to violate His law and put our hand into the fire of sin: the result of that is death. And that’s a lot more serious than a bruise or two.
PRAYER: Father, give us the gift of discernment and wisdom to grasp the seriousness of our sin. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.
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