Reading through my Bible lesson, I came to Hebrews 8:7. “For if the first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second.” I did a double-take. Not faultless? But it’s talking about the Law of God! I distinctly remember somewhere in the Psalms… Yes, there it is. Psalm 19, verse 7: “The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul.” So if it’s perfect, how can it have faults? How can I reconcile this seeming contradiction? For just a moment, it troubled me.
God gave Israel a Law on Mount Sinai that He already knew would have a weak point—namely, that men could never keep it. God knew that, but men did not know that. Mankind has long suffered under the delusion that we can do pretty much anything. We are made in the image of God Gen 1:27 but we are not made in His express image as Christ is. The NASB says Jesus is “the exact representation of His nature.” We are more like a shadow or reflection of God, showing His form, but not the full effect. We share many of God’s attributes, but not His perfection. Any righteousness we can muster is only a shadow of His—like a photograph without depth or substance. No, we are not perfect. And yet, God made us, too. God made flawed things!
The Mosaic law* was flawed. And yet it was perfect. The dichotomy of God. Is He just trying to confuse us? But no. It all comes into focus when we realize that the Law was a teaching tool. God gave the Law so that man could learn his own limitations. We needed to be taught that we are unable of achieving perfection in our own strength.
A potter who teaches others may at some point make a pot that has a problem. Perhaps it is top-heavy and cannot support its own weight. Perhaps it has a less-obvious problem–a bubble in the clay that, when subjected to the heat of the kiln, will cause it to crack. Those pots are flawed, for sure, but they fulfill their purpose perfectly. They demonstrate to the students exactly why it is important to prepare and shape the clay carefully. It shows them what doesn’t work, so that they can learn a better way. The flawed pot is a perfect example to the students.
That’s exactly what God did with the Law. We saw the beauty of the Law but needed to be shown our inability to achieve that righteous perfection. We needed help. We needed a better way. He demonstrated to mankind our need of a Savior.
Instead of a perfect set of rules and a set of stones to stack, we needed a gracious gift and a better promise—one that took into consideration our handicap. He gave us both. He gave us Jesus, His Son, perfect in righteousness and thus a suitable sacrifice to make up for our inadequacy. And then He promised that by His Spirit, we could gradually be conformed to His image—made perfect.
God didn’t want to just create perfect beings. He could have done that simply by not allowing free will. His goal seems to be to train people in relationship. To disciple. That is God’s heart toward us—to show us the way so that we would desire to walk in it with Him. God’s Law was part of His training for humankind.
It’s all perfect. Even the imperfect parts.
We are perfectly flawed, you and I. Just as God intended.
Let’s learn from those flaws and allow Him to reshape us for His glory!
*Yes, the law given to Moses was called Mosaic Law. Which always makes me wonder why artwork made from tiny chips of multi-colored tile is also called mosaic. Are they related? I guess that’s a word study for another day. For now, I shall settle for a Mosaic mosaic to top this page. 😊
The beautiful Mosaic mosaic can be found at https://www.deviantart.com/minanashed/art/coptic-icon-mosaic-Moses-360367820