Is this crazy?

Or is it glorious?

Romans 7:13 (NKJV)

Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful.

The third sentence contains two Greek purpose constructions. Expanding them, it could be translated as, “But sin, for the purpose that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, for the purpose that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful.

In other words, God’s purpose in creating the law is to make sin more visible, for the further purpose of making it more sinful.

This weaves sin and the law together in a grand plan of redemption. God had it all planned out from the beginning and making sin totally, undeniably obvious was part of that plan. This leads to some pretty blunt questions.

What in tarnation is He up to? Why did He do it that way? Man’s fall into sin is ugly. The law deliberately makes it uglier. Why would God want that?

And His plan of redemption is tremendously unpleasant—for Him! He could have avoided all this nastiness in the first place. What possible set of priorities could He have that would lead him to deliberately create this sequence of events?

No one can fully understand God’s priorities, this side of eternity anyway, but His glory is obviously a big part. That’s clear from Jesus’s prayer in the garden of Gethsemane.

I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. — John 17:4-5 (NKJV)

Somehow, rescuing us from our sin—at great personal cost—glorifies Him. We may not understand how, but we have to admit it’s anything but boring. He’s up to something.

This is the great sticking point for some unbelievers. The plan of redemption strikes them as completely crazy. And if pain avoidance is your thing, it is crazy, but then again so is the existence of carnivores.

The creator of this universe is obviously okay with pain.

There’s no guarantee that we’ll ever fully understand this, even in eternity, but we’re promised that we’ll understand a lot more.

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. — 1 Corinthians 13:12 (KJV)

All the weekly study guides, which include all five devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.