We Christians are under law or under Christ or we are in rebellion
by David Leach
We Christians are under law or under Christ or we are in rebellion
What is the difference between seeing God’s words as Law and seeing them as Grace?
LAW: The Law demands that we do our utmost, using our unrighteous human nature, to comply with the righteous requirements of the written words of scripture, to the letter.
Ex 20:15 YOU shall not steal. (but unrighteous man cannot comply with righteous law)
Rom 7:6 But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter. (This Covenant failed and was replaced by:)
GRACE: Under a better Covenant our heavenly Father offers to (1) Pardon our sins and give us a new heart or spirit, (2) Write His words of Grace, made living to us by His Spirit, directly into our hearts, (3) Put His Spirit of Grace into our hearts and cause us to both desire to and be able to obey His words, and by those words impart to us Christ’s nature:
Ezek 36:25-26 I will sprinkle clean water on you (as you believe My word), and you shall be clean...I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you;
Heb 8:10 This is the covenant that I will make...I will put My laws (My words) in (the spirit of) their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God....
Ezek 36:27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes (My words), and you will keep My judgments (My words) and do them. (Like:)
Ex 20:15 You SHALL (be empowered by My Spirit and My word in you now to) not steal.
To look upon scriptures as law is to see them exclusively with our natural faculties of sight and reason. Since these faculties are part of our unchangeably sinful human nature, the law keeps us bound to our sinful flesh and therefore can only strengthen sin in our lives.
That’s why the Bible refers to law as the ministry of death and condemnation (2 Cor 3:7-9).
1 Cor 15:56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.
2 Cor 3:7-8 if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones (Law), was glorious, how will the ministry of the Spirit (Grace) not be more glorious?
Sadly for Christians who continue striving to comply with the law Jesus Christ died in vain.
Gal 2:21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.
Gal 5:4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace (this is written to Christians).
Christ, the living word, is the Grace of God – we are either under the law or under Christ.
John 1:14-17 The Word...the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth...out (KJV) of His fullness have we all received, and grace upon grace. For the law was given by Moses but grace and truth came by (and are) Jesus Christ.
Yes but Jesus said He didn’t come to destroy the Law. True, but He said more than that:
Matt 5:17 (Jesus) …The Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.
So you and I must answer the question: “Did Jesus fulfill the Law?” That’s why He said:
Luke 16:16 (Jesus) The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it.
Here Jesus says the preaching of the Law is now being replaced by the preaching of the kingdom of God, which is a spiritual kingdom that requires a spiritual re-birth to enter it and a life that is in submission to the Holy Spirit, to remain in it. When we live in God’s kingdom we participate in Christ’s fulfillment of the law. For He fulfilled the law for us:
Rom 8:4 That the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Why do so many Christians after being re-born by a living word then see the Bible as law?
1. Because our natural human faculties or flesh can understand “the do’s and don’ts of the law” without any need to be currently right with God or in submission to His Spirit.
2. The law was given to those not re-born in spirit, and could only require them to try and keep it using their human abilities. Hence the human nature of born again Christians sees the law as its territory; and out of pride presumes it can comply with it. If we allow it to try to keep the law, our flesh will continue to dominate our will rather than our new re-born spirit.
3. Because of “cheap grace” teaching that excuses our sin, and false “sovereignty of God, Calvinism” teaching that makes us not responsible for our actions, some Christians have swung back to legalism. As a reaction to teachings which downplay the need under the New Covenant to always obey God. The truth is, obeying the dead letter of scripture has been replaced with two new requirements to obey God, but now with God’s power to do it.
(1) To believe, retain and do those of God’s words that daily speak to, are made alive to, and personally imparted by the Holy Spirit to, the re-born spirit of the Christian.
(2) To submit to and obey the continual leading of the Holy Spirit who bears witness with, that is, communicates directly with, the Christian’s re-born spirit. (Rom 8:16)
The power of God to obey Him is now actually contained in His words and His Spirit that are both alive and active within the re-born heart of the Christian. What a tragedy to fall back to trying in vain to keep the law, just because some misrepresent the New Covenant.
1 Thess 2:13 ...The word of God...you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which works mightily in you who believe.
Mic 3:8 But truly I am full of power by the Spirit of the LORD...
Phil 2:13 For it is God who works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.
Heb 5:9 He (Jesus) became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,
The Covenant of law reflects Hagar and Ishmael, but the New Covenant, Sarah and Isaac
Gal 4:22-30 Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman born according to the flesh, one by the free woman born in fulfillment of God’s promise. This is an illustration; these two women represent two covenants. One, the Law, like Hagar, bears children destined for slavery (to the law, flesh and sin)...But our mother, the spiritual Jerusalem (the true Church, like Sarah) is free (from law, flesh and sin) so you brethren, like Isaac, are children of promise...born of the Spirit....Cast out the slave woman (law) for her son shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. AMP/NASU/NKJV
The Covenant of Law, since it seeks compliance from our sin nature, insures our ongoing slavery to sin. But the New Covenant creates the sinless Christ within our hearts, by His word and His Spirit, then causes us to live in Him, making us free from the tyranny of sin.
Gal 5:18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
2 Cor 3:17…Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (from our own sinful flesh)
Now this liberty is not a liberty to do just as we please independently of God. No, it is a liberty from the bondage to our lower sin nature, as long as we submit to the leading and empowerment of the Holy Spirit. But the reverse is true too; those who are not led by God’s Spirit are back under the law, or in rebellion, and remain the slaves of their flesh.
Rom 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace (that is under the immediate control, in the Spirit, of Jesus Christ).
Christ not only fulfilled the law but died to it for us – when we’re in Him we’re dead to it too
Col 2:14 Having canceled the written code with its requirements that was against (NIV) us and that stood opposed to us; He took it away, nailing it to the cross.
Rom 7:4-6 ...You have become dead to the law through the body of Christ...(by faith)
For New Covenant Christians the law has been annulled so we can be married to Christ
Heb 7:18-19 ...There is an annulling of the former commandment because it was weak and useless, for the law made nothing perfect; and there is the bringing in of a better hope (Covenant) by which we draw near to God.
Rom 7:4 …That you may be married to another — to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.
Dear legalistic Christian won’t you receive your annulment from the law, the dead letter of Scripture, so that you can be married to Christ, the word of God made living to you by the Holy Sprit? The living word, Jesus Christ, is the grace of God. Please do not allow Jesus to have died in vain for you, come into the liberty in which Christ makes you free from sin.
Gal 5:1 So Christ has really set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don't get tied up again in slavery to the law. NLT
Gal 3:5 Does God give you the Spirit and work miracles among you because you (TEV) do what the Law requires or because you hear the gospel and believe it?