Saturday, January 10, 2009

The law in the life of a believer - GOOD or BAD?

So in light of some discussions I have been having, I decided it was time to review the place of the law in the life of a believer again. I find it to be helpful to me, to go back and reconfirm what I believe, by going through the Scriptures. It is so comforting for me to do this. Not only do I feel more confident in God's grace, I get to seal these truth's in my heart at a deeper level. And, I get to preach the Gospel to myself yet again. Something my former church insisted was crucial - "preach the Gospel to yourself everyday". Only problem was, they only understood part of it. (and I include myself.)

So what about you? Do you believe that the law is a good thing for the believer, does it bring him joy to live by it? Should we as believers aspire to live by the law? Is the law indeed God's set of moral values or standards for us? OR is the law a bad thing for the believer to live by, bringing death and condemnation? (You know which one I vote for!)

John 1:17 - "For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. (truth is on the side of grace, not the law)

Galatians 2:21- "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." ( The moment you place the law of Moses between you and God again, you are negating the finished work of the Cross, of Jesus, for if righteousness could come through the law, then Christ died in vain.)

Col. 2:14 -"having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross" (the written code here is the law, does this sound "bad:" to you? You cannot reduce our christian walk to a list of rules, Jesus death fulfilled the righteous requirements of the law of the old covenant. The righteous requirements were nailed to the cross, so once we come to faith in Christ through the cross the law stays nailed to the cross, and we enter into a new covenant, and the way to God is now open - He fulfilled it so we don't have to! )

Matthew 5:17-"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them." (Jesus did not sweep the law under the carpet, He came and He fulfilled every requirement of the law perfectly on our behalf. The debt we owed to the law has already come and been fulfilled by our Saviour, we do not still owe payments or installments on that debt by keeping the law anymore, it is cancelled fully! The law has no hold over you anymore!!)

look at Col 2:14 and then 15, ..."having disarmed the principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it." (It sounds like the devil was armed with the "handwriting of requirements that was AGAINST us. The handwriting of requirements was written on Mount Sinai by the finger of God on 2 tablets of stone - the devil armed himself with the law to accuse and condemn, man - remember he is an accuser.(see Rev. 12:10- he is the biggest legalist of ALL) God didn't give the law to arm the devil, but the devil, knowing that the law was AGAINST man, took advantage of it and has been using it against man ever since. The law always condemns and keeps man away from God. So the devil, knowing this, uses it to keep us from God - that's why when God nailed it to the cross, He made a public spectacle of the devil and all the powers of darkness.)

so when you here a voice telling you you failed and did not live up to the law and you feel guilty or condemned, you can point to the cross and say I am redeemed from the curse of the law, I stand fully justified and complete in Him and condemnation has no hold over me!!!

But if you insist that you need to keep the law, you are actually arming the devil again! God has nailed the law, he blotted out it's requirements and disarmed it, but when you subject yourseld to this old covenant system of the law, you are putting the weapon back in the devil's hands. ANY teaching that says, "we have to keep the law to be blessed by god and to sanctify ourselves" is putting the weapon of the law back into the devil's hands. Instead of resting in God's disarmament, people are rearming the power's of darkness!!! And let's not forget that if you insist that you need to keep the law,you must keep the whole thing perfectly!

Yes the law is holy, just and good. But, even though the law is holy, just and good, it has no power to make you holy, just and good. The law was added that the trespass might increase, it was added and designed to expose your weaknesses, your sins and your inability to be holy, just and good. It is like a mirror that exposes your flaws! You can't take the mirror and try to clean up your flaws, because that is not the purpose of the mirror. You need to realize that no amount of keeping the law can make you holy. Only the blood of Jesus can do that. Regardless, the law is holy and it is from God.

Romans 3:20 - " Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin."

Romans 6:14 - "For sin shall not have dominion over you for you are not under law but under grace." So sin WILL have dominion over you when you are under the law.

Romans 4:15 - " because law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression" ( Did you hear that? Where there is no law, there is no transgression. Did you also hear that law brings wrath, that doesn't sound good to me! Here's an example of what that would look like; say there is no law on how fast you can drive, there is no speed limit. the cops can't pull you over and give you a ticket for speeding, because there is no law stating that you cannot speed. In other words, no law = no sin. No recognition of sin equals no need for a Saviour - the law was given to bring us to the end of ourselves, so that in our desperation we would see our need for Jesus!! Because of the law, none of us can say that we were not sinners and none of us can say we didn't/don't need Jesus. That is the purpose of the law. It was not designed to make you godly, but to expose your ungodliness. The devil will use the law to make you conscious of all your shortcomings - but through Christ you are not under the condemnation of the law any longer!!! )

Righteousness is a gift, it's not a reward for perfect obedience to the law. You are clothed today not in your own righteousness, which is self-righteousness, but with the righteousness of Jesus Christ. God sees you as righteous as Jesus himself. Think of the parable of the prodigal son, remember in the story how the Father ran to the son, and kissed him and hugged him and wanted to throw a party for him and kill the fatted calf, he also put his finest robes on him, symbolizing the gift of righteousness, God's royal robes of righteousness. He loved us so much, he wanted to be with us, he didn't care that we had been in the pig sty after blowing all our inheritance on prositutes - he looked past all of that and blessed us anyway. What lavish love!!

Gal. 3:2-3 -" Let me ask you this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?" (Do you believe the idea that the Holy Spirit helps us keep and obey the law? We no longer have a relationship with the law. We have died to it. The life we live now is not a life of Spirit-led keeping of the law.)

Let me say this too, that the difference between the old covenant of law and the new covenant of grace is: the law is deserved favor (when you obey the commandments perfectly, you will be blessed.) and grace is undeserved favor (Jesus obeyed God perfectly, and you will be blessed by BELIEVING in Him) So, which covenant are you under? Cause you can't mix the two and still call it grace. God found fault with the old covenant, Hebrews 8:7-8 (hect, read the whole chapter!) "for if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second. For he finds fault with them when he says; "Behold the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of on through verse 13. He made the first one obsolete............OBSOLETE!!!! No more old covenant keeping of laws and rules and regulations.

Romans 7:1-4 -"Do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to men who know the law—that the law has authority over a man only as long as he lives? For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man.

So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God." ( I love this picture! We were all born into this world in Adam, married to the law. In other words, we are married to an authoritarian dominating husband, a husband that points out our faults, a husband that says, don't do this, don't do that, and he never lifts a finger to help, any time you try and argue with him and say that's not fair, you can't because he is always right.

And Paul is saying here, that you can't say, I am tired of the Law, this husband, I am just going to go marry Jesus - because Paul says, "Hey, while this husband is still alive you would be in spiritual adultery to go marry Jesus while the law is still alive." And to make it really bleak and dark and discouraging in the Gospels, Jesus says the law will never pass away. -So you're married to a husband who's fault finding, oppressive, dominating, a bully, always pointing out your faults, never lifts a finger to help you, is always right and you can't argue with him and he'll never pass away, and you can't go marry anyone else. - Pretty bleak and depressing right? Doesn't sound good to me! Is this good news? So what happens now - back to Gal. 2 - You died to that which once bound you, so that you may marry another - Jesus! Jesus is a husband that does not point out your faults, He is extremely gracious, extremely loving, extremely gentle, helpful, breathes life into you, stands by you, does not point out your faults, believes you, holds no sin against you- that's who you're married to, in Christ.

Romans 10:3 - "Christ is the end of the law."


jul said...

Great post Lydia!

And I will add that while I remained married to the law, I was barren. No amount of therapy or drugs, or fertility treatments could get me pregnant. The law is completely impotent. If as an unbeliever I try to produce the fruit that pleases God through obedience to the law, through trying to be a submissive wife, I will fail. The same holds true for a believer. Galatians says why having begun in faith are you now trying to be perfected by the flesh? That 'perfected' is referring to what most in the church commonly call sanctifiction. Galatians is NOT about the misunderstanding of the doctrine of regeneration or justification, the Galatians started out on the right path! Galatians is for those who begin in grace and then fall for the demonic lie that to progress in our walk with Jesus, to grow in holiness, to produce the good fruit of the Spirit, we must turn away from our new husband and go back to bed with the former husband.

This doesn't make sense on so many levels. First, we should know from experience that the old husband is impotent, and our new husband is full of live and can conceive in us every good thing by his power and love.

Second, the person we are now is a new person. The person who was married to the law is DEAD. By going back to the law we are trying to resurrect a the corpse of who we used to be, the sinner. If we do that, we will manifest death.

Third, Paul makes it clear in Galatians that the law is a package deal. You can't chop it up and say this part is good to follow but that part isn't. If you trying to obey one law, you will be held accountable to all of it. ALL OF IT!!!! Isn't that terrifying? If you fail in just one point just one time you will be subject to CURSE.

I could go on and on, I'm sure that's obvious by now! Love hearing the truth!

lydia said...

Excellent additions Julie!

So if someone were to tell you that the law isn't bad, you'd let 'em have it.............

What a horrible marriage that was? I sure do love being married to Jesus instead...............!!!!

jul said...

Hmmm. I'd use 1 Timothy 1....The law is good if used lawfully, not for the just but for the ungodly. It's illegal in God's courts to try to accuse/condemn any of his children under the law. They have already been declared righteous, everlastinly righteous because of the perfect blood of Jesus.

I prefer not to try to bring charges of the law against anyone who God has already declared innocent...even myself! But that's just me I guess.

Jamie said...

What a marvelous discussion!!!

Scotty used to say, "Don't keep your old husband's shoes tucked under the bed; throw them out!"

I love that picture...we don't need any reminders of our impotent first husband.

lydia said...

No we most certainly do not, I am finally really getting over that old man, the shoes went out the window a long time ago!!

Phil said...

Man (or I should say women),are there some rich thoughts here. I'm not up to speed with you all,but I believe I'm getting there. Would you say, Lydia, that the commands Paul and others give are just descriptions of what the life lived out looks like?

lydia said...

Welcome!! I am chuckling as I write this, getting there indeed, you just summed it up perfectly - Yes I would agree that he is spelling it out practically so we can see what it should look like and will look like - awesome words! Thanks for stopping by....

Grace and peace to you!!

Phil said...

Thank you, I've bookmarked your site so I can read more of writing like this in future. I'm really looking to get rid of my legal fears and get myself established in grace and abundant life experientially like you and others seem to breathe. I can probably talk all day theologically from the head...

lydia said...

You are most welcome! Visit anytime, you are in the right place, and feel free to talk as much as you need to......

Grace and peace!!

Phil said...

Ta, muchly :)