Did you ever play “Red Light, Green Light” as a kid?

I did. You have everyone line up against one wall of the gym or side of the field with a single person all the way on the other side. They turn their back to you and yell, “Green Light!”

Everyone runs as fast as they can to get to that person. But then they turn around as quickly as possible and yell, “Red light!” At that point you must stop immediately. Anyone found moving has to go back to the beginning. The object is to get to the person and tag them while the “light” is still green. But that’s hard if they keep whipping around and catching you moving.

Coming to God is the same way. We want to come and be right before Him. He invites us to come, but there is an issue. That issue is sin. We take only a few steps toward God and the Law tells us we have sinned. “Go back to the beginning. You didn’t make it to God.” We try again. Only a few more steps and there is sin’s presence staring us in the face. “Go back. You sinned.”

We don’t like the Law. It keeps us from God, but Paul says in Romans 7, “I would not have known what sin was except through the law.” The Law reveals sin, but instead of avoiding it; my sin nature produces the desire to do it. It’s like seeing a “Do Not Touch” sign. Something you never thought of touching, you desire to touch.

I learn from the Law that “I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin … I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.” God is so far removed that I will never be made right before Him. That is part of the purpose of the Law – to reveal my sin and help me realize that I can never make it to God.

And that is the place each of us needs to begin. We must realize we can’t make it to God on our own. We need someone to bridge the gap to God. We need someone to take care of all this sin. That’s when Paul proclaims, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! … there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus …”

Jesus has taken our sin and we can now “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16).