Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Death to the Law

Why is it that, when we hear a rule, there wells up within us an irresistible desire to break it? Well, maybe not always, but it is a standard reaction. Could it be there is something in us that just does not like rules? This something is what the Bible calls sin (Romans 7:14; 3:23; 1 John 1:8-10). Now we need to face it; in the human realm there are rules that are stupid, silly, and unfair. But our natural tendency is to see every rule that prevents us from doing what we want to do as stupid, silly, or unfair. We also think that if we regard a rule as stupid, silly, or unfair, we can break it with impunity. Now do not get me wrong. There are human rules which are unjust and contrary to the truth of God, at which point we must serve God rather than men (Acts 4:19,20; 5:29). But this should be an extreme case and a last resort, not the first option we grasp onto. But our natural inclination is to break whatever rule we find inconvenient. It is because of this that we need to die to God’s Law.
The problem is not with the Law. The Law is righteous and holy and good (Romans 7:12). The problem is we cannot and do not keep it, like we do not keep the other rules we encounter. Further, the Law requires complete obedience from the heart (Romans 2:16; Hebrews 4:12,13; Matthew 5:21-48). Therefore, even if we, by determined effort, overcome our natural inclination to break the rules, we have already broken the Law by not wanting to obey. The problem is not with the Law; it is with us. It is for this reason that Jesus did not come to abolish the old Law and replace it with a new Law. We would break it just like the old one.

What Jesus came to do was die to pay the price for sin so that we can be forgiven (Colossians 2:13-15; 1 Peter 2:24,25; Romans 5:6-8) and can be saved by faith in Christ, rather than through our obedience to the Law (Ephesians 2;8,9; Romans 4:4,5; John 3:16). But once we are saved, God does not want us to continue in our sinful behavior, but to be changed into the people God wants us to be (Romans 6:12-16; Titus 2:11-14; Ephesians 2:10). But the problem is the Law cannot do that for us either, not because there is something wrong with the Law, but because what needs to be changed is us. We need God to change us from the inside to give us a new attitude (1 John 4:19; 2 Corinthians 5:14,15; Romans 13:8-10) and a new power to obey (2 Corinthians 3:18; Colossians 1:29; Galatians 5:16). Then the requirement of the Law will be fulfilled in us (Romans 8:4)as we die to the Law and are united to Christ (Romans 7:4-6).

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