Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Now That We're Christians, Do We Keep The Law?

Well, do we?

To say that we do would be wrong. If I am still in any way in relationship to the law, then I am condemned by it and justly so.

But I, and many Christians have believed a widespread theology that because we have received the Spirit of God, He then enables us to keep the law. Nothing could be further from the truth! If I were still under the law, I could not be indwelt by the Spirit! But where there is no law, there is no transgression.

Malcolm Smith gave a great analogy as to how silly it is to put a Christian back under the law after being saved by grace. I don't remember the exact words he used, but I do remember the gist of the story.

Malcolm, growing up in the town he was from, didn't have electricity until he was a bit older, so they were forced to light their homes by candle light at night. But as things progressed little by little, the town he lived in eventually got electricity. Then one day, being at an elderly man's house, (who belonged to Malcolm's Church) he noticed the old man nodded toward his wife, telling her to turn on the electric lighting since it was beginning to get dark outside. And then after she turned on the lights, he began to light the candles that they had used before they got electricity, saying that it would be much easier to light the candles now that they had electricity.

The Old Covenant is said in the Bible to have had glory; it had a light. But now, Paul says, the glory of the New Covenant of grace much more surpasses the glory that the Old Covenant of law had. It would be silly to go back to the law (the Ten Commandments) now that you have God on the inside of you. You have the fulfillment of the law living on the inside of you! Why now do you retreat back to the law, believing it has some work yet to finish that God has not already finished?

The works that were to be done in order for God to be pleased with you were done by Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ fulfilled all the law and the prophets, and through faith, that same righteousness that He accomplished is now fulfilled in you.


Sandy said...

This was a good post. I think the hard part for some people (especially if you grew up indoctrinated in the law)that you struggle with which is right and you feel as if you can't really be saved by grace can we? Even if you believe you are saved by grace things keep popping up in your head that make you feel as if you have to go out and be doing something in order to be right with the Lord. I think it's much easier on someone to come to know the Lord later in life and be taught under grace vs. being saved early on and rooted in the law and struggling to accept grace. I don't know if I make sense or not. That is just my struggle I guess.

Daveda said...

Good post. I think many people are not sure if they can really trust the Spirit to lead them. They wonder if they will misunderstand or hear wrong...therefore, it is easier to have a set of rules.

But, once we begin to build a deep trust, in Christ alone as the source of our righteousness, and understand that doing what is right is a fruit of that righteousness, we will embrace the freedom His grace gives us.

Matthew Campbell said...

Thank you, Sandy.

I know exactly what you mean. Ever since I had become a Christian, I was under a mixture of law and grace in my mind. I couldn't honestly tell you the first time I trusted in Jesus, because I honestly don't know. I only know that now I do believe .

It is very difficult coming out of that mindset of works, I agree. It feels as though if I do nothing, Jesus won't be happy with me when He returns. But I'm forced to conclude that that is not faith, but unbelief and fear.

I don't want to condemn anyone who struggles in their transition from law to grace, because I struggle with the same thing. But I do want to encourage them strongly to continue to let go of all their fears, doubts and worries, and to cast themselves whole heartedly on Jesus in full faith.

Matthew Campbell said...

Amen, Dave!!! Couldn't have said it better myself. I think God always used the illustration of fruit because fruit is the result of a natural process of identity.

A grape vine produces grapes simply because it is a grape vine.

Daveda said...

Matthew, I like what you said there "a natural process of identity" I like to look at it like overflow as well. We do not have to "try" to be anything we are not as we realize God's love and favor and begin to see ourselves in such a light, the realization of our identity in Him will simply flow from much better than self effort.

I agree with your and Sandys dialogue too, it can be hard to embrace grace, especially when we are bombarded with the law. I at times have the same thoughts as both of you, but when I think of the freedom and trust I have now compared to all of the trying and striving I had before, I know its truth!

That's why I love finding bloggers who write about this grace that has set me free. I love the conversation and dialogue...I love seeing that God is setting others free in this same way!

Being Loved By Him, With You,

Sandy said...

I think Dave hit it when he said "many people are not sure if they can trust the Spirit to lead them." I have believed in Jesus and what He did for me since I was a little girl but their always seemed to be strings attached to it. They believed in once saved always saved but then there was a list of do's and don'ts attached at the end so you walked around paranoid about whether you were doing the right thing or not. I am definitely at peace when I rest in His grace alone and nothing else. There is nothing I can do that will make him love me any more or any less than he already does and that fact alone should give us the freedom to want to serve Him not feel obligated to do so.

Daveda said...

I just need to say LOL, that I am a girl! Daveda...Da-ve-da...not a boy, Dave.

Just wanted to clear that up!

Matthew Campbell said...

Woop! lol...Sorry about that. I figured the da was added on for middle and last initials or something. I won't make the same mistake again! (hopefully) :)

Daveda said...

LOL not a problem, I found it kind-a funny. But, of course I don't want you to continue to think I'm a guy :)

Jamie said...

This is an excellent post, Matt!

Romans 8:2 (King James Version)

2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.


Matthew Campbell said...

Thank you, Jamie. :) You're too good to me.

Anonymous said...

so sorry Daveda! HA I will just blame Matthew and say I saw that he typed Dave and copied him! HA HA HA!! Actually, I think my brain was just looking at the first part of your name! Don't feel bad my husband Brian and I share our facebook and sometimes people call me Brian instead of Sandy! :)

Sandy said...

I didn't mean for that post to come out anonymous! Especially after I posted my name at the bottom of it! HA

Joel B. said...

Yeah, I say we don't keep the law and we don't break the law either! As you allude to at the beginning, we have no relationship with the law whatsoever!