Les Mis Law vs Grace

thOne last look at a deeper theme of Les Misereables…

I am assuming if you have been reading my Les Mis posts that you are probably a fan of the show or at least have seen it and know the story line.  If this is the case, you are fully aware of Inspector Javert’s nagging reappearances throughout Jean Valjean’s life.

Javert contends that the thief that 24601 was, is who he will always be.  But this was not the case and I previously wrote about the catalyst for Valjean’s change.  Yet because of Javert’s presuppostion, Valjean continued to be plagued by the “law”.  The “law” that ruled Javert.

Javert could not let it go and it consumed him.  But why?

The concise answer is because those under the “law” cannot reconcile Grace.


But let’s draw out…

Javert believed his behavior made him better than others, specifically Valjean.  And in his superiority Javert took great pride in “looking down” on Valjean, which became a constant “voice” of condemnation speaking lies to Valjean.

I think Christians also struggle with this “voice” of condemnation.  Life in Jesus frees us from our sin, yet we are not free of sin.  In other words, Christians still sin, we are just no longer eternally condemned by it.  What often happens though when we sin is we beat ourselves up. We can’t accept that we are imperfect and we have a hard time with Grace.  Even though we believe it is by grace through faith that we have been saved, we don’t just leave it at that.  We think and act like we need to work harder, do better and somehow earn God’s favor.

Sounds a lot like Javert!

When we live under the “law” it not only enslaves us but we enslave others with this unattainable standard.  We are living like Pharisees who cannot see the Truth.

The reality is this burden to be perfect and to perfectly keep the “law” cannot be met by us or anyone else.  Yet we expect it. And to make ourselves feel better for failing to measure up to this standard of righteousness, we condemn others finding satisfaction when they fail.

Again, the story of Javert.  When Valjean discovered Javert’s sin and did not accuse him for it, Javert felt worse.  No longer could he justify his higher standing over Valjean and it destroyed him, literally. Eventually leading to his suicide.


He couldn’t live with the fact that guilty people could go free.  His world was all “law” and no Grace. There was no mixing of the two.  And he couldn’t believe Grace was enough.

So if the “law” kills us, like it did Javert, what kills the “law”?


God sent His Son to achieve what we cannot. He upheld the “law” perfectly and then died setting us free from the penalty for our failure to perfectly keep the “law”. Through His life and death we have been given true freedom – the gift of Amazing Grace!

Romans 3:20 “For by works of the law no human being will be justified in His sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.”

Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

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2 thoughts on “Les Mis Law vs Grace

  1. Pingback: Power of the Word: The Book Thief | house of hatton

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