Les Misérables – the story of the law

We are all, if we are redeemed, pulled by both law and grace. As we start to understand Grace and achieve some “victory”, the law then appears and demands our incarceration. The law is not satisfied by Grace because the law thinks there only one satisfaction: works. Perfection is what the law demands and Grace, as seen by the law, is not perfection of works, for each redeemed person under Grace, still appears to the law to be a law breaker.

Luckily for us the law doesn’t have the last word, for there is a Judge who stands above the law, and he says that Grace satisfies the law, even when the law thinks not. For this Judge knows how costly Grace really is and how much it actually does satisfy law’s demands, because He Himself has suffered under the law.

When Jesus lived a perfect life and then died for the sins of people other than himself, as an innocent man, a law keeper, he achieved something we could never: a righteous reward as a law keeper. To the law, Jesus is the only perfect man who has kept its standards. What the law did not expect is what happened next. Jesus took his reward, his righteousness, and shared it with his brethren.

As the perfect man Jesus stood in the courts of God Almighty, God asked Him what He desired, and Jesus replied that He wanted to redeem His people from the curse of being law breakers, by paying for their sins with His own good deeds and perfect obedience of the law, and transfer to them His own inheritance, His reward for a perfect, righteous life.

The day broke on Jesus, the dead Jesus in the grave, on the third day and something happened that has never happened before, a man rose from the dead because death couldn’t hold him. The wages of sin is death, but Jesus never sinned, so death couldn’t hold him, but had to release the innocent man. Sin had been put on Jesus, not because He sinned, but because He willingly paid the penalty of sin, death, for His people, but death couldn’t hold Him after the penalty was paid, thus Jesus rose from the dead to gain His reward. His resurrection means that His people are now free from Sin, free from the Law, and are under Grace, deserving of all the benefits of Jesus’ perfect life. Not only is Jesus’ people now innocent, but also considered law keepers deserving of a reward for obedience, Jesus’ reward.

While the law doesn’t see us who are redeemed as perfect yet, it is forced by Jesus to look at Him in our place, and then the law is satisfied. The law will hound us until it looks to Jesus and realizes that all along we have been guiltless because of Jesus alone, and then it will lay down its arms and die having given up the pursuit of us, thinking us guilty and never able to be transformed or redeemed. Only once it learns of its mistake will we be truly free from its tyranny.

The law is satisfied, it just often doesn’t know it is yet, and so it haunts us, chases us, condemns us. We should know better. We should know that the law really is satisfied on our behalf by Jesus, and tell it so. No longer should we give into the erratic flailing’s of a mistaken law, but trust the Law Giver and Judge that we really do stand justified as law keepers no matter what the law might tell us.

This story of Grace, Redemption, and the laws futile pursuit of an redeemed man is nowhere told better than in the story of Les Miserables as Valjean is foolishly pursued by a prejudiced law man Javert. Only once the law learns that men can be redeemed and justified, apart from their own guilt and works, will the law stop pursuing and lay down and die. Think about it.

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