I have been preaching through Paul’s letter to the Galatians during our Sunday morning worship service. On Sunday I preached Galatians 3:19-25 where Paul answers the question, “Why then the law?” As I was preparing the sermon I kept coming back to a picture of the law as a mirror that reveals our depravity and sin, our inability to wash ourselves of our sin, and ultimately our need for a Savior to come and stand between us and the condemnation of the law and the wrath of God. I looked around online and couldn’t find an illustration anywhere that exactly matched the point I was making so I’m going to post it here. I’m sure that in centuries of Biblical exegesis and sermon illustrations something similar has been stated, but it might still be helpful to some.
Think of it like this. You go through life and you never once look in a mirror. All through your life you do your best to keep yourself looking good and sometimes people will even tell you that you look really nice on a particular day. Then one day you find yourself in front of a mirror. You see that, even though you thought you were doing a pretty good job keeping yourself looking good, that you are actually covered in dirt and trash. In fact, you are so dirty that no matter how much trash you pull off yourself the mirror still reveals more and you never make any progress. You have no hope of ever getting all the dirt and trash off yourself. Then one day a man steps between you and the mirror. He is perfectly clean and free from dirt and trash. He does what you can’t and washes away all the dirt and trash but he doesn’t leave after he cleans you off. He stays there between you and the mirror so that now the only thing that is seen is his perfect reflection.