"Take me to You, imprison me, for I,
Except You enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except You ravish me."
John Donne, Meditation 14
How many of you have seen a sign that says, "WET PAINT: Do Not Touch" and felt the urge to reach out and touch? The Apostle Paul said he would not have known "what coveting really was if the law had not said, "You shall not covet'" (Romans 7:7).
Christians in leadership, whether parenting or preaching, often make the mistake of believing that protection from sin comes from proclamation against sin. Prohibition, however, only seems to decrease inhibition. The more a person hears "thou shalt not" the more that person says "I shall too!"
The increased desire for sin when Law is introduced is apparent through both self-evaluation and biblical revelation. With this double confirmation of the impotence of Law to destroy the desire for sin, I find it astonishing that Christian people remain steadfast in elevating Law, thereby guaranteeing sin's continuance.
John Donne, the 17th century pastor of St. Paul's Cathedral in London, England, struggled with illicit sexual sins throughout his life. After coming to faith in Christ, the temptation for these sins did not disappear. Rather, John Donne finally discovered what he believed to be the only tried and true means for the avoidance of harmful sin.
"Except you enthrall me, (I) shall never be free,
Nor chaste, except You ravish me."
The scars that come from Law are only healed by the balm of grace. It is only through the enjoyment of God - the deeply personal and abiding feeling of His mercy, love and grace for you - that you will begin to experience the breaking of sin's bondage in your life. We glorify God by enjoying Him.
Next time you feel tempted to condemn a sinner - either yourself or someone else - through the imposition of Law, try turning the tables a little and proclaim the glorious riches of God's grace for sinners in Christ Jesus. The deep beauty of God's eternal love is the only elixir against the dangerous and shallow pleasures of this world.
Except Christ enthralls me, I never shall be free.