Not so very long ago, a friend lent me a book called Cooking for Geeks. This book was intended to explain, in precise and empirical language that a scientist like me could appreciate, exactly how to do amazing things in the kitchen. Like fry an egg without causing an explosion.
I’m not sure it achieved its intended effect, but one message of this book has in fact stuck with me. In one memorable section, this book called on all the laws of physics (i.e., it showed a picture) to compare the effects of cracking an egg on the side of a bowl versus cracking an egg on a flat surface like the countertop. One of these methods is more likely than the other to result in egg shell in the resulting product. Do you know which one?
Let me give you a hint. Before I read this book, I always cracked my eggs on the side of the bowl. (Now that I have read the book, I still crack my eggs on the side of the bowl. Then, as I am picking out egg shells, I am reminded that I should have used the countertop.)
The other day as I was once again picking shell out of my egg (it takes a while, so I had plenty of time to think), I was pondering Martin Luther’s exposition on God’s Law. (This is actually a more logical connection than you might think. Really.) Martin Luther said the 3-fold purpose of the Law was to act as a curb (to prevent us from going too far astray), a mirror (to allow us to recognize when we have done something wrong), and a guide (to show us what we should be doing instead). There are times when we may not even realize we’re sinning until we bump up against that curb… until we’re wiping egg off our face or picking shell out of our omelet. Maybe we said something we shouldn’t have said; maybe we did something we shouldn’t have done; but sooner or later we get a twinge of conscience. We bump that curb, and we begin (step two) to reflect upon what we did. (“Oh, I should not have done that!”) That’s when the third purpose of the Law becomes manifest. It’s not enough for us to know what not to do. We also need to know what to do. My cookbook tells me how to crack an egg. God’s cookbook tells us how to live: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself (Luke 10:27).
None of us can do this perfectly. We mess up – just like every time I forget and crack an egg on the side of the bowl. But each time we do, God’s law curbs, reflects, and guides us back to Him.
No matter how hard we try, we will never be able to follow God’s Law perfectly. We will always forget. We will always crack the egg on the side of the bowl. The truth is, when it comes to this analogy, we’re not the Master Chef. We’re not even the sous chef.
We’re the egg.
The Fall in the Garden of Eden was far worse than anything Humpty Dumpty ever dreamed up, and we’re never going to be able to put ourselves back together again. That could be the end of the story, but thank God it’s not! God’s cookbook doesn’t end with the Law. It ends with the fulfillment of the Law: Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the Master Chef. He picks the pieces out of our lives. He wipes the egg from our face. He presents us as blameless before the Father.
When we try to live out God’s Law on our own power, we will always fail. But when we place our lives entirely into the hands of Jesus, we are the most beautiful cracked egg of all.
Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this Man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by Him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses (Acts 13:38-39).