If you hang on to the law as your guide, you can expect sin, guilt, and a whole lot of confusion. The law is ineffective to save us. It’s ineffective to grow us. It’s just plain ineffective for believers.
First this explanation. The term “Old Covenant” is not the equivalent of the Old Testament. The Old Testament is just a collection of 39 Bible books from Genesis till Malachi. The “Old Covenant,” however, is a disctinct era that doesn’t start until the cross. It’s only after Jesus death and ressurection that the New was established. Before the cross, people lived under the Old Covenant of Law. As a believer today, you live under the New Covenant of Grace.
A covenant determines how God relates to people.
- In the Old Covenant God had to deal with people according to their works (law)
- In the New Covenant God deals with people according to Jesus’ work (grace)
The Law isn’t for you
Problems arise when you try to relate to God through a law mindset. You’ll sin more, feel quilty, and struggle with confusion. Romans 6:14 tells us you don’t have to struggle with sin or guilt any more since you’re not under law but under grace!
Grace is the divine enablement to live in victory over sin and condemnation.
Some migth say, “what about Matthew 5:17-18 where Jesus says He did not come to abolish the law?” Indeed the law isn’t abolished. It still is has a divine purpose. But the question is: to whom is it applicable?
Paul tells Timothy the law isn’t for believers (1 Tim. 1:7-9). If it isn’t for believers, there’s only one group it can be for (Gal. 3:23-25). The law was put in charge to show us our sin and lead us to Christ. Yes, the law – including the Ten Commandments – is “holy, righteous and good” (Rom. 7:12) but it’s not meant as a moral compass or for growth in Christ but to condemn sinners and bring them to Christ for salvation.
Let’s have a quick look at the purpose of the law:
- The law points its holy finger at us and silences every one of us (Rom. 3:19)
- The law makes us aware of our sin nature (Rom. 3:20)
- Being under the law is like being under a curse (Gal. 3:10)
- The law shows us that we’re trapped as prisoners of sin (Gal. 3:19-20).
- The law arouses sin giving it the oppertunity to thrive (Rom. 7:8)
- The law is the ministry of death and condemnation (2 Cor. 3:7)
- The law causes our sins to increase, not decrease (Rom. 5:20)
You are dead to the law!
Does that sound like you want to have anything to do with the law? The good news is that the law isn’t applicable to you any more! Why? You’re dead to the law! Our old self was subject to the law, but we have already discussed that our old man – the person we used to be – is dead! Now we’re married to Jesus Chirst. We’ve become royalty (1 Pet. 2:9). This means our former affection for a law-keeping life has no place any more. The life we have now is the life of Christ.
The purpose of the law is to show that a right relationship to God is not the result of conforming to external regulations. Now we live by the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:2) which is not based on external demands but rather on internal desire. When we understand that Christ is our life, we are motivated by His desires within us.
We live godly, not because we have to, but we want to.
The law tells us what we ought to do, but it can’t give us the ability to fullfil its demands. The only thing law can give us is a sense of guilt over our failure. And the law is designed to make sin thrive. That’s how it points us to Jesus for salvation.
Once saved, you need to realize you’re in a New Covenant where God deals with you according to Jesus’ work. In other words, God relates to you independent of your performance, but based on Christ’s perfomance. If you do good, God won’t love you more. If you do bad, God won’t love you less. That’s love without conditions! You are loved – all the way, all the time!
No rules, but relationship
Here is what is true about you in relationship to the law? You can boldly confess:
- I’m dead to the law (Rom. 7:4; Gal. 2:19)
- I’m not under the law (Rom. 6:14)
- I’m free from the law (Rom. 6:7)
- I am not supervised by the law (Gal. 3:25)
- I don’t serve in the old way of the law (Rom. 7:6)
- I can live in the newness and freedom of the Spirit (Rom. 7:6; Gal. 5:13)
You have died to a system of rules and have been born again into a supernatural relationship of grace! We no longer focus on rules but our relationship with Him.
The law, including the Ten Commandments, have nothing to do with the Christian life! For some this is a radical statement. Many of us are still wanting to hang on to the law as our moral compass or for growth in Christ but it’s ineffective to lead us or grow us! It causes you to sin more and make you feel guilty.
Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes (Rom. 10:4). Our relationship with the law is over. It is impossible for you to fullfill the law. It is impossible for you – in and of yourself – to live the Christian life. The only one who can live a Christ-life is Christ. As Watchman Nee says,
God is the Lawgiver on the throne, and He is the Lawkeeper in my heart.
The million dollar question is: will you allow Chist – who’s in you – to live His live through you?!
Gods concern with you isn’t about rules but relationship.
Enjoy your relationship without rules.
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