Law reveals the standard by which we are to conform to God’s righteousness. Through its call to obedience, law steers us toward God’s character. Its purpose is to bring to light the holiness of God, while exposing the sinful weakness of our humanity.
And law has an additional impact as it confronts our nature. Because rebellion is such a significant ingredient of a life centered on self, law can actually have the effect of intensifying our destructive desires: “Yeah, I wanted to do that, but now that I know it’s wrong, I really want it!”
Or maybe you didn’t even have a desire for a particular thing, but now that you’ve been told not to, all of a sudden you want it: “No trespassing? Well, I really didn’t want to go there anyway, but now I wonder what I’m missing!” With law comes awareness of the internal rebellion common to us all. “Sin is lawlessness.” (1 John 3:4)