“What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” - Romans 7:7 (NIV).
The law is good for exposing sin and showing us our need for grace. This is as true today as it was in the OT. We need the law. It is the opposite side of the coin from grace just as righteousness is the opposite side of justice.
Law enforcement officers have to keep this in mind because it is too easy to get caught up in thinking that our ticket to heaven is already punched because of Romans 13:4. If we don’t keep the truth in sight, we can start looking to this verse as an idol that will save us.
“My yoke is easy and my burden is light”; Jesus and grace compared to the Law and death.
Ephesians 2:8-10, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
We tend to think that doing the job (our works) is the only thing God has called us to and that is enough to save us. This is not so. Ephesians 2 says, “not by work”, we cannot be deceived into thinking that the job and justice will save us. Only Christ, “the gift of God” can save us.
Acts 13:39, “Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses.” The law will not save anyone, not even the officer who is called to enforce the law. Only Jesus Christ can save us.
John 5:24 says, “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.” Judgment equals death, Grace equals life. This is something I need to be reminded of… I convince myself that because the foundation of God’s throne is justice and righteousness then they are characteristics we must have. I read Romans 13:4 and fall into a false sense that because I am in this profession that has been ordained by God, that He must have already credited His righteousness and justice to me. After all, I work of the God of justice. I am one of His officers. Law enforcement officers enforce justice which is a good thing but in reality, no one is righteous and judgment leads to guilt and death. Even the law enforcement officer who is not saved by the blood of Christ will face judgment and death. The only way to be saved from judgment is by the grace of God, through the free gift that Jesus offers. He has paid for our sins but until we choose Him, dedicate our life to Him by confessing with our mouth and believing with our heart (Romans 10:9) that Jesus is Lord and has been raised from the dead, we will continue to be lost and headed for judgment. If you have not confessed and believed, or if you are considering it, visit the Do You Know Jesus? page on our website.
John 16:8-11 says, “When He comes, He will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.”
- How can you put sin, righteousness, and judgment in the same sentence?!?!
- Sin: We are wrong about sin because people do not believe in Jesus, the Truth and the Way. If you do not believe this you are sinful, unforgiven, and an enemy of God. The one who does not believe in Jesus is bound for hell and eternal death.
- Righteousness: Only someone truly righteous can ascend to the Father. True righteousness is holy, set apart, and blameless. Jesus is fully God and therefore truly righteous. We are only righteous because we are saved by the sacrifice of the Righteous One, Jesus, and covered by His blood. He has made atonement for us. We cannot be righteous apart from Him.
- Judgment: True judgment is a death sentence for anyone no covered by grace, atoned for by the blood of Jesus Christ.
Charles (Chuck) Gilliland, Chaplain to the National Board
and Executive Director
In addition to being a veteran police officer himself, Chuck is also a past president of FCPO-USA and the author of the Through the Eyes of a Cop daily devotional book series. Chuck can be contacted at [email protected]