Law. The first thought that this word brings to mind is something restricting and binding. Perfect law, i.e., the Law of God, is quite the opposite. But how?
“The Law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul.” Psalm 18:7
Because we are created in God’s image, we are most perfectly ourselves when we most resemble God. However, due to the effects of Original Sin (weakened will and fallen nature), we no longer easily choose perfection. Our true selves seek fulfillment that can only be found in God, but our selfishness seeks to fulfill this need elsewhere – in various imperfect things and people. We seek to go against our natural need for God, and “throw out the instructions.” But any parent will tell his child that if the toy is not used properly, it will break. We are the same. We need our Maker’s Instruction Manual. It requires the Law of God to call us from our now-natural selfishness to what we were created for – perfect union, perfect communion, with God. Therefore, the Law of God is freeing.
Think of your closest and dearest friend. You have love for him, therefore there is no need for the law, “Thou shalt not kill.” You are free from that law in this instance – you have no desire to kill your best friend. Your relationship has reached a higher level of perfection. This is the state that Adam and Eve lived in before the Fall from Grace that weakened their wills, damaged their nature, and required their expulsion from the Garden of Eden.
Now think of your worst enemy. You do not get along at all, and perhaps they’ve done some great evil to you. Still, as a disciple of Christ, you are called to love. However, because your relationship with this individual has not reached the level of perfection mentioned previous, you must be bound by the law, “Thou shalt not kill.” It is this law that calls you to a higher perfection – to rise above your fallen nature, and have the love Our Lord demands towards your enemy. This law ‘frees’ you from sin, to love like Christ. It is the call to return to the original Grace we were designed for. And when something is functioning properly, is being used how it was designed to be used, it is truly free.
Because of our fallen nature, we must have God’s Law to be free. A train is only free to be a train if it has tracks.