THE OFFICE OF THE MIRROR
James 1:23-25 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:
For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
Here is a mirror into which we are to look, and search out every defect of character. But suppose that you look into this mirror and see many defects in your character, and then go away and say, “I am righteous”; will you be righteous? In your own eyes you will be righteous and holy. But how will it be at the bar of God? God has given us a rule, and we are to comply with its requirements; if we dare to do otherwise, to trample this under our feet, and then stand up before God and say, “I am holy, I am holy,” we shall be lost in the great day of accounts.
What if we were to go out into the streets and soil our clothes with mud, and then come into the house and, beholding our filthy garments as we stand before the glass, we should say to the mirror, “Cleanse me from my filth”; would it cleanse us from our filth? That is not the office of the looking glass. All that it can do is to reveal that our garments are defiled; it cannot take the defilement away.
So it is with the law of God. It points out the defects of character. It condemns us as sinners, but it offers no pardon to the transgressor. It cannot save him from his sins. But God has made a provision. Says John, “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” So we come to Him and there we find the character of Jesus, and the righteousness of His character saves the transgressor—if we have done on our part all that we could.
And yet while He saves the transgressor, He does not do away with the law of God, but He exalts the law. He exalts the law because it is the detector of sin. And it is Christ’s cleansing blood that takes away our sins, when we come to Him with contrition of soul seeking His pardon. He imputes His righteousness, He takes the guilt upon Himself.