The endpoint of the Law is death. This statement needs a lot of unpacking. In the most literal sense, if sin were allowed to run rampant and weren’t constrained by criminal penalties, we’d exist in a world of “continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short,” as Thomas Hobbes wrote.

We’re not naturally civil people. Throughout history, we’ve needed the fear of state-enforced torture, humiliation, banishment, imprisonment, or death to keep us straight. Only self-interest keeps all of us from being robbers, killers or rapists.

As much optimism as we find in America and elsewhere, the entire order of our world, with its police and prisons and armies and lawyers, is based on the assumption that we’re naturally abysmal. Our instinctual behavior leads to death.”

~ Law and Gospel- A theology of sinners (and saints)