The Need for Law- Summary

When one wishes to have the gospel in their lives, but not its laws, it is often due to an image of an exacting and punishing taskmaster God versus that of a loving and forgiving father. There is no question that the law of Moses given in the Old Testament was strict and severe, and yet we say that it was given by the same God who stated “as I have loved you, so you must love one another.” One tries to resolve these two images, and finds themselves asking so does God hate the sinner? Or does He love His wayward child?
In the process of this study I have come to the conclusion that this is a false dilemma. Strict commandments do not preclude the caring compassion of a father, and the giving of commandments is a greater act of love than sweeping misdeeds under the rug. There is probably more to be explored on the matter, but for the topic of this study it is enough to know that the laws of God are given as an act of kindness.
Having a proper understanding of these laws puts to rest so many of the fears related to them. Our concerns stem more from misinterpretation than disagreement. Let’s take a look at some of the fundamental principles of law, and how they truly are designed for our benefit.

Law is Inevitable

Societies have experimented with anarchy from time to time, and always to disastrous effect. Notably, anarchy does not survive. There never has been a successful and lasting nation that was not structured on some sort of government or law. Even on the most basic level, it is in our nature to band together under clans and tribes, to submit to a set of rules, and to function as a society.
Even more than this, though, we belong to a world of order and rigidity. Physical laws govern every material interaction of our lives, and provide us a sense of dependability. Were it not for the presence of natural law, all would be chaos, and life would be impossible. Our very existence depends on there being a set of universal rules.
And there is still more. For we are not only material bodies, but also composed of an immortal spirit. These spirits are the creation of God, and therefore inherently bound to the laws of heaven. That is their natural place to dwell, and so must adhere to its commandments or else divorce themselves from it.
Thus it is necessary for us, first and foremost, to recognize the parts that we are made of, and from the recognition of our nature, then accept the laws that inevitably apply to us. To live without law would be to stop being what we fundamentally are.
John 3:5-6- Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Mark 12:14, 17- And when they were come, they say unto him, Master, we know that thou art true, and carest for no man: for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth: Is it lawful to give tribute to Cæsar, or not?
And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Cæsar the things that are Cæsar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. And they marvelled at him.

Laws Inherently Divide

Inherent in law is the division between those that adhere to its commandments, and those that defy them. To be a law, there must be two states of recompense defined and exacted: reward for those that obey the law, and penalty for those that do not. If these qualities are absent, then there are not any laws, only a list of suggestions.
Thus the laws of our government have punishments defined for those that break them, and securities promised to those that follow. Those that respect the laws of physics will enjoy a life far freer from pain than those that pay them no mind. And so, too, our spirits suffer or thrive dependent on our adherence to divine law.
Our problem, of course, is that we are all doomed to fall on the wrong side of natural and divine law. If we possessed a never-ending source of power we could stave off entropy, and maintain our body’s vitality forever. But we do not. And if we had perfect self control we could resist every temptation, and maintain our spirit’s purity forever. But we do not. Instead we are all bound for the grave and bound for hell. The temporary benefits of predictability and structure that these laws give us in mortal life, come at the cost of eternal woe afterwards.
2 Nephi 2:5- And men are instructed sufficiently that they know good from evil. And the law is given unto men. And by the law no flesh is justified; or, by the law men are cut off. Yea, by the temporal law they were cut off; and also, by the spiritual law they perish from that which is good, and become miserable forever.
2 Nephi 2:13- And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away.

The Law of Christ Spares Us

However, if the terms of these first laws have been satisfied, then a new law can be erected in their place. Thus, to our fallen state came Jesus Christ, sent to atone for our sins, sent to die the death of our mortality, who then turned and offered us resurrection and forgiveness instead. He did so, under the domain of a new law, his law.
But as we have already noted, for this to be a law it must have terms and commandments, which provide reward for their fulfillment, and punishment for their transgression. The rewards for Christ’s law are resurrection and forgiveness, the punishment is simply to default back to the hell required by our inability to perfectly follow divine law.
But this new law could only be beneficial to us if we are aware of it, and knew how to make use of it. And thus the gospel was written out and given to us in the form of scripture. Thus our conscience was instilled in our hearts. Thus teachers and guides were inspired to direct and educate us. All of these were provided for the express purpose of teaching us us the terms and conditions of this new law. In these sources we find every stipulation laid out in exhaustive detail. We learn over and over again that the law of Christ requires us to have faith in him, to repent of our sins, to enter into a covenant by baptism, and ever recommit to following him when we fall short of his example.
If we do these few things, then the saving of our souls is sure.
Luke 4:18- The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.
Isaiah 51:4-5- Hearken unto me, my people; and give ear unto me, O my nation: for a law shall proceed from me, and I will make my judgment to rest for a light of the people.
My righteousness is near; my salvation is gone forth, and mine arms shall judge the people; the isles shall wait upon me, and on mine arm shall they trust.

Romans 8:2- For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

The Need for Law- Alma 11:37, Helaman 5:10-11

And I say unto you again that he cannot save them in their sins; for I cannot deny his word, and he hath said that no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore, how can ye be saved, except ye inherit the kingdom of heaven? Therefore, ye cannot be saved in your sins.

And remember also the words which Amulek spake unto Zeezrom, in the city of Ammonihah; for he said unto him that the Lord surely should come to redeem his people, but that he should not come to redeem them in their sins, but to redeem them from their sins.
And he hath power given unto him from the Father to redeem them from their sins because of repentance; therefore he hath sent his angels to declare the tidings of the conditions of repentance, which bringeth unto the power of the Redeemer, unto the salvation of their souls.

COMMENTARY

And I say unto you again that he cannot save them in their sins.
The Lord should come to redeem his people, but not to redeem them in their sins.
It is important to note that the gift of Christ’s law, which rescues us from the condemnation of divine law, does not give us free license to sin and carouse about without a care for the welfare of our soul.
We often make the mistake of thinking of law as simply being a set of punishable rules, but really it is a guide for living a purposeful life. We obey the laws of our nation not only to avoid being thrown into prison, but also that we may establish a community that is nurturing and safe. Imagine if we could break the laws and steal and cheat and kill without punishment. Yes, we would avoid imprisonment, but also our societies would disintegrate into utter chaos.

Not to redeem them in their sins, but to redeem them from their sins.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is not merely cosmetic. It does not take sinners, who remain sinners, who indulge in sinful thoughts and actions as a way of life, and then stamp them with a “fit for heaven” label that doesn’t belong. Rather it takes sinners, and it teaches them how to live purely.
Obviously there is a delicate line here. Because even those who are sincerely trying to follow the gospel are going to make wrong choices along the way. And I don’t just mean ignorant mistakes, I mean that they will willfully and intentionally do something that they know is wrong. And for these sincere-hearted, but imperfect souls, there does need to be grace. There does need to be some degree of understanding and pardoning of guilt.
To what degree? Well, that isn’t for me to judge. That falls under the purview of Christ himself, and he alone can tell us how aligned we are in his eyes.
What I do know, though, is that he intends for us to repent when we have these shortcomings. Even knowing that we are sure to slip again, he does expect us to keep moving. And when we do commit to try again, he gives us a purer heart that wants all the less to sin. He is saving us from our sins, slowly moving them apart from us until we have no more desire for them.

The Need for Law- Galatians 3:19, 24

Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.
Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

COMMENTARY

Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made.
The law of Moses was an intermediary law, one given after the ancient Israelites rejected Moses’s guidance time and time again. On one occasion Moses literally broke the tablets of stone, upon which the law God had intended for them was written. Then, later, they were denied access to the promised land, instead consigned to wander the wilderness for forty years. Thus, there were elements of Christ’s law that they might have had, but the people were deemed not ready to receive them.

Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ.
And it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.
But the withholding of Christ’s law, and the giving of Moses’s law instead, was not some sort of punitive punishment. Moses’s law was a very strict law, but it was actually given for a loving purpose. It was what God knew the people of Israel needed, to train them up, until they were ready to receive the law of Christ. And though it is called the law of Moses, it was not Moses’s invention. Instead we learn that it was ordained “in the hand of a mediator,” meaning it was given by Christ. Thus it was divinely appointed as a sort of “spiritual training wheels.” It was a law of Christ, given to prepare them for the law of Christ.
And so, too, Christ may do for us. To each of us he gives customized requirements and training, helping us to come to that common destination of his full law. We receive those customized instructions through the yearning of our hearts. And so, on top of the ten commandments, and the one to love our neighbor, and all those others, it becomes a personal commandment to start eating healthily, or to call up our son and apologize, or to go back to school and finish that degree. We still have the core law of Christ, but we also have our own law as well. One that is personalized, given to be just what we need. Not given to replace Christ’s law, or to excuse us from any of its principles, but to extend upon them, and bring us into better harmony with them.

The Need for Law- Alma 7:12-14, 2 Nephi 9:41

And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.
Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me.

O then, my beloved brethren, come unto the Lord, the Holy One. Remember that his paths are righteous. Behold, the way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate; for he cannot be deceived, for the Lord God is his name.

COMMENTARY

And he will take upon him their infirmities, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities
The Son of God suffereth that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance
Once again, we see how the atonement of Jesus Christ is given so that he may blot away our sins and make us clean. But further we see that it permits him to understand our sufferings on a very personal level. He knows firsthand how it feels to be on the wrong side of the law, and he knows it in the very personal, individual way that I have been so, and the very personal, individual way that you have been so.
Thus he knows what unique ways each of us need to be trained into following the law. Different children require different methods, and he has the freedom to teach us according to our requirement. The commandments are still the commandments, and each of us is still expected to live all of them, but the intermediary steps we take towards being able to meet them is personalized.

The keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there
Thus we all know what the final destination for all of us is, but the next step toward it will be different for you and for me. I have not been elected to judge over you, and tell you what next actions you must do to improve yourself.
Yes we have teachers and priests, we have those that we confess to, we have those that counsel and bless us according to the words that God gives them. But they are not meant to be our new masters, only guideposts to point to the one master. As this verse attests, there is no servant employed, no barrier between us and Christ. If we want to know what personalized law he intends for us to adhere to today, we only have to ask.

The Need for Law- Romans 7:6, 22-24; 8:1-2, 5, 14, 16

But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

COMMENTARY

But now we are delivered from the law
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death
Verses such as these have been used to suggest that all Christians are free of condemnation, regardless of their behavior, after confessing Christ as their Savior. And, in a sense, this is true. For where we were once condemned to hell for our sins, the adherence to the gospel of Christ frees us of the demands of justice, and lets us live as if there had never been any condemnation over us. Thus we have sinned, yet are liberated from the consequences of having done so. But…we do still need to adhere to the gospel of Christ.

O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
Yes, Paul is speaking of being made free from law. He is speaking of being free from carnal, mortal law, and he is speaking of being free from divine law and its requirements for perfection. But he is not suggesting that we should surrender Christ’s law, too. The freedom that Christ offers is the freedom of subjecting ourselves to his law. We still must repent, we still must resolve to try again after every slip.

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God
.
Which is the other freedom that Christ offers to us. His Spirit makes trying again appeal to our hearts. It no longer becomes a burden to us, but rather a joy. His Spirit convinces us that we are the children of God, and when one is instilled with the knowledge of that in their hearts, it becomes natural and freeing to live in virtue.

The Need for Law- Jeremiah 31:33, 3 Nephi 11:31-33

But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will declare unto you my doctrine.
And this is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me; and I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me.
And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.

COMMENTARY

But this shall be the covenant that I will make, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people
As we mentioned yesterday, Jesus became the mediator between us and divine law, having purchased the right to save all of us according to his own terms. And even before being born in the flesh and performing his saving atonement, he spoke through the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah of this coming covenant.
In that pronouncement he made clear what his mission statement for this new covenant would be: to put the law into our hearts, to be our God, and to cultivate us into being his people. The purpose of Jesus’s gospel, therefore, is to bring us in harmony with heaven. Through his tutelage we are meant to learn to love the law, to desire to follow its precepts, and to willingly choose God for our God.

And this is my doctrine, and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me.
And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.

To repent, to put away the old, and to be born again as a new creature. These are the stipulations of the new law given by Jesus. Unlike divine law, perfection is not required, but that does not mean that effort is not required. He forgives us for not completely following every commandment of divine law…but he forgives us so that we may then try again. And when we fail again we are must to try once more. Over and over.
Thus the mandate of divine law is perfection, but the mandate of Christ’s law is not perfection. It is to try and try again. So long as we sincerely are trying, so long as we are truly repenting and recommitting, then that is it, we have already satisfied our part of Christ’s law. Thus the mandate of divine law is to already be heavenly, but the mandate of Christ’s law is to work on becoming heavenly. So long as we are sincerely becoming better, then that is it, we have already satisfied our part of Christ’s law.

The Need for Law- 1 Timothy 2:5, Ephesians 2:13-15

For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;

COMMENTARY

For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus
We have considered how Jesus Christ came between humanity and the damning consequences of our laws to offer a mediation. Having fulfilled all of the requirements of mortal and divine law, one can only assume that Jesus was free to make the terms of his new law be whatever he wished.
If it had been his intention to still surrender us to the torment of damnation, who could deny that he had the right? Or if it had been his intention to liberally grant salvation to everyone regardless of their behavior, again who could deny that he had the right? Or if his intention had been anywhere in between, who could question it?
Obviously not all of these possibilities can be true, but the point is that Jesus was free to set his own terms, and whatever terms he chose, they would become our new immutable law if we chose it. Whatever he thinks it is that we need to do to achieve salvation, that is what we need to do.

He hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us
For to make in himself of twain one new man

So what is it that Jesus wants to do? Does he want to save us all? Well yes, of course, but that is not all. As we see in these verses from Ephesians, Jesus wants to bridge the gap between us and God. He wants to break the wall between frailty and perfection, and teach us flawed souls the way to be pure. He wants to make new men and women out of us, so that we do not only live in heaven, but belong in heaven.
And as we review the terms that Christ did ultimately choose for his law, we will see that they were selected specifically for their effect of changing sinful people into something holy.

The Need for Law- The Three Laws

I’ve spent these last few posts discussing a different laws, their origins and their destinations, and it has been a pretty organic, free-flowing conversation. And while everything I wrote made sense in my own head, I imagine it might have been a bit confusing to follow. Having muddled out all the details for myself, I think it would now be worthwhile to spell things out more clearly.

These are the three different laws that govern our lives as I understand them. The scriptural references to support them are included throughout my previous posts. It is, of course, entirely possible that I am misaligned in some way though. Spiritual study, after all, is a process of constant refinement.

Mortal Law

What I mean by mortal law is the balance of nature that rules our world. These are the purely physical forces that define gravity, magnetism, chemical and nuclear reaction, and all the other natural interactions that make our universe the way that it is. These laws are observable with our physical senses, and can be measured and studied. They are consistent and reliable, as every universal law is.

These laws provide wonderful benefits to us. They allow the matter of our planet to have coalesced into a singular body, they keep it moving in a steady orbit, they retain a breathable atmosphere around us, and they also maintain every other requirement to make our lives possible.

These laws are fair in that they apply equally and universally to all. However they give no assurances for social, moral, or karmic justice. That is entirely outside of their domain. And so the lazy might prosper and the industrious come to ruin. The guilty might be exonerated and the innocent condemned. The unhealthy might survive and the healthy die young.

But whether rich or poor, healthy or unhealthy, good or evil, wise or foolish…the mortal law brings all to the same conclusion. Death, entropy, eternal silence. Under this law we all share the common destiny of ceasing all existence forever.

Divine Law

Divine law is where the influence of God enters the mortal realm. As such, it directly addresses the limitations of the mortal law. While the wicked may still prosper under the worldly domain, divine law now requires that they will be stung in their conscience. While the pure-hearted may still die young, divine law assures that they can pass in peace.

To put it simply, where mortal law governs our bodies, divine law’s domain is that of the spirit and soul. And just as how mortal law applies the same rules to each body equally, divine law weighs on each spirit equally, too. No good deed goes without a sense of fulfillment, no evil deed goes without a stinging of the conscience.

And where mortal law consigns us all to the grave, divine law picks us up from that one destiny and turns it into two. It ushers the immortal spirit either into a paradise or into a hell, depending on whether its precepts and commandments were obeyed or not. The problem here is that we, given our fallen nature, have each disobeyed the commandments of divine law, and thus are destined for hell.

Christ’s Law

And here we see the need for one more law. From mortal law our bodies are destined to die, and from divine law are spirits are destined to hell. The final act of everyone’s story is an inescapable tragedy.

Christ’s purpose is to answer the demands of both laws and to offer us a third in their place. He accomplishes this in three steps.

First, he adopts us as his children. To everyone that is willing, he takes us under his wing, and makes himself culpable for our errors, and us worthy of his virtues. Any punishment we receive he may take for us, and any reward he receives he may give to us.

Second, he pays for our crimes. He died to the mortal law and he was condemned by divine law. In Gethsemane he suffered the pain of a soul damned to hell. On Calvary he suffered the death of his body.

Third, he rises above his own death and condemnation, so that he can continue as our adoptive father, able to govern us and give grace as he sees fit.

Unlike the first two laws, this third one from Christ is entirely optional. We may refuse it if we wish. That is fine, we will simply remain under the purview of divine law, still consigned to hell. On the other hand, we may accept his law, and as a result our destination can be changed to life and paradise. He resurrects our bodies back from the grave, and he rescues our spirits from the clutches of hell*.

Of course accepting his law now means living that law’s precepts and commandments. Unlike divine law, those commandments are not total perfection, but they do expect particular behavior from us. The good news is that they are behaviors which we actually can satisfy. We will begin examining exactly what they are with the next post.

*Because the mortal law was not chosen by us, but by our first parents Adam and Eve, Christ provides an escape from it for everyone. Even those that reject Christ’s law will have the benefit of resurrection. This is only fair.
Our individual failure to fulfill divine law, however, is on our own heads, and so reclamation from hell is dependent on whether we accept Christ’s law or not.

The Need for Law- Romans 8:2-4

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

COMMENTARY

The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
Yesterday we considered how God gave us His Law, which took us from the destiny of the grave, and split that into two paths, one towards salvation and one towards damnation. The problem, though, was that each of us breaks God’s Law, which consigns us to the path of damnation, an even worse situation that what we were in before.
But God’s plan did not end here. In addition to putting His Law upon us He provided a Savior as well. In a previous study we examined how Christ is able to pay for the demands and punishments of every law. Yes, each of us breaks God’s Law, but now it is Christ who is consigned to our damnation, having taken that burden upon himself as part of his atoning sacrifice.
Thus, as Paul suggests, we are free at last from both the law of death (required by mortal law) and the law of sin (required by divine law).

For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us.
It is important for us to acknowledge and appreciate the doom of mortality’s law and the strictness of divine law, but now we do not have to regard them or their condemnations as our own. Now, if we will allow it, we can subscribe to the law which Paul called “The law of the Spirit of life in Christ.” And if we satisfy the demands of this third law (and this one, thankfully, we can satisfy the terms of!), then we avoid the two terrible destinations of death and hell, and may instead access the third destination, the one that we desire.
It took the quite process to get here, but at last we have the option to obtain resurrection, forgiveness, and salvation with God.

The Need for Law- Alma 41:3-4, 2 Nephi 2:5

And it is requisite with the justice of God that men should be judged according to their works; and if their works were good in this life, and the desires of their hearts were good, that they should also, at the last day, be restored unto that which is good.
And if their works are evil they shall be restored unto them for evil. Therefore, all things shall be restored to their proper order, every thing to its natural frame—mortality raised to immortality, corruption to incorruption—raised to endless happiness to inherit the kingdom of God, or to endless misery to inherit the kingdom of the devil, the one on one hand, the other on the other.

And men are instructed sufficiently that they know good from evil. And the law is given unto men. And by the law no flesh is justified; or, by the law men are cut off. Yea, by the temporal law they were cut off; and also, by the spiritual law they perish from that which is good, and become miserable forever.

COMMENTARY

Men should be judged according to their works; and if their works were good, that they should be restored unto that which is good. And if their works are evil they shall be restored unto them for evil.
Raised to endless happiness or to endless misery, the one on one hand, the other on the other
Previously we observed that the natural order of the world is entropy and extinction. Eventually all of us will go quiet, cease all existence, and that would be the end of it. It is a silent and bleak destiny, devoid of anything whatsoever. To be fair, there is no pain or suffering in it, but that comes at the expense of there being no other things as well.
However, as we saw, this somber ending is given an escape in the form of God’s law. God interrupts our path and introduces an afterlife as a new final destiny for us. This afterlife is split in two, though. Instead of having just one destination, there is a division. One of the potential destinations is one of joy, the other is of misery.
This is blessing and the curse of God’s law. It is a medium, like water, by which those that are validated ascend to the surface, and those that are invalidated are sunk to the bottom. By it we have the greatest potential, but also the greatest of danger.

And the law is given unto men. And by the law no flesh is justified.
And here we find the big catch to all this plan: none of us can keep God’s law. It offers everlasting joy…but only to those that keep its strictures perfectly, which none of us will. It is good to have a law of righteousness to guide us, it is good to be given a choice in life, it is good to have the potential for exaltation…but all that good won’t actually do us any good when we inevitably break the law.
And remember, this isn’t just a law, it is a Law, capital L. It is eternal and irrefutable. We aren’t going to be able to just vote it away, it must be enacted universally, and must be compensated for entirely. God’s Law would take the surety of dead nothingness, and effectively replace it with the surety of damnation instead. Not really a better situation for us!
But…with that law came a plan. It turns out that there actually is a way for us to get the benefits at the positive endpoint of God’s Law, and avoid the detriments at the other endpoint. To accomplish that, though, requires some sort of mediator to bridge the gap.