Sin In The Eyes of The Law

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         If Adam’s disobedience was the match that started the deadly fire that we call sin. The law was the dry forest that allowed the fire to run wild, consuming people in their fallen nature like trees in their flammable nature. The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more (Romans 5:20) God then provided His only begotten Son as a rain storm of His Grace to extinguish the fire of sin. just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ (Romans 5:21) The transgression of Adam, which created in all of us a fallen nature leading to death, was redeemed through the sacrifice of Jesus who knew no sin. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. (Romans 5:19)

        To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come. (Romans 5:13-14) The law could not conquer sin because death was still the result. Even perfect adherence to God’s law resulted in the same death that existed before law established and magnified sin and the fallenness of man. God had to come to earth in the flesh to redeem us from the disobedience of Adam and disobedience of man in turning away from God’s law. Jesus had to fulfill the requirements of the law to set us free from the penalty of death. The law given through Moses was fulfilled in Jesus. Jesus says: “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.” (Matthew 5:17)

 

Adam-Moses: No Law, No Spirit   (People turn away from God)

The world was held under the rule of death. All humanity fell into the depravity of sin with no way to know God as His name was lost through generations. It fell into such disarray that God flooded the world that showed no promise of redemption.

Moses-Christ: Law, No Spirit   (People turn away from God and the law)

God gave Moses laws that would guide His people to be set apart and to keep God their focus. The laws were protection from their fallen nature and a way to keep God and His faithfulness at the center of their lives. They turned away even when God gave them direction and guidance.

Christ-Eternity: Spirit, No Law     (God comes to find His people)

The death and resurrection of our Savior gave us access to the Holy Spirit which writes the law upon our hearts. The love we are commanded to give to God and to our neighbors fulfills the requirements of moral law. As we walk in the newness of life and obedience to God we are not subject to the death penalty of sin.

Changed By The Spirit

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                Many people who come to know Jesus as their Savior feel that once they’ve accepted Him, they have reached a point of completion. In terms of salvation their faith has brought them into relationship and reconciliation with God. It is sad when they stop at that point and miss out on the opportunity to submit to God and let Him take control of the life He created for a specific purpose, greater than they can imagine. They don’t acknowledge the new life given to them through Jesus. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. (2 Corinthians 5:17) Reconciliation to God through faith in Jesus tears down the house we’ve built for ourselves with the fleshly materials of this world and allows the construction of a Spirit based house on the foundation of our Savior. The problem arises when we try to build that new life in our own power. For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. (Galatians 2:18-19) We must rely on the Holy Spirit of God to bring lasting change to our lives. We fall victim to legalism and religion when we try to do God’s work for Him. As we dwell in this world we only have access to worldly materials to build ourselves. It’s important that we let God sanctify our new hearts and draw us out of the slavery to this sinful world. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? (Galatians 4:9) The laws that guided people in the Old Testament to rely and focus on God are just shadows of what we have in the light of Jesus Christ. I’m not referring to the moral laws that Christ fulfills in His call for us to love God and our neighbors. I refer to the sacramental and ritual laws that kept eyes and dependence on God until His chosen could be reconciled through faith in His Son. So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. (Galatians 3:24) Don’t fall backward into trying to work for God. Humble yourself to His will and what He wants to do in your heart. Let His infinite power create lasting change, and let that power fight these battles to completion. Live by the Spirit and let your works honor God because of His love, not to attain the love you already have. Let God do the work in your heart and your life that you are unable to accomplish because we were designed to live in reliance on our Creator through faith and love for our Savior. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. (Galatians 5:25)

Lesser is the Law

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        God offers grace to fulfill a need most deny exists. He values what we need over the law. Laws were made to honor God and glorify His provision. Sinful man used that law to turn on each other with judgement that belongs to God, not them. Man used the law to glorify themselves and gain power. They used the law to become god-like. The law, designed to keep our focus on God was used by sinful man to create further sin and fallenness. The law draws us away from God. The laws were created for our good, but our fallen nature caused us to miss sight of the source of all good. If we focus on a love based relationship with the Father through the Son, we follow a path lit by His glory. We become in tuned with a walk that is greater than the law. The law won’t change your heart of stone. Loving God will give you a heart that doesn’t need rules. Morality will be written on your heart. The law is a shadow of what God desires. He wants your heart. God became flesh so that you could see an example of holy. He left Heaven to come alongside His beloved creation and show His desire for us. Man wasn’t created to obey laws, they were created to glorify God.

 

Old Testament Law vs New Testament Love

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                We find the 10 Commandments given to Moses (Exodus 20) fulfilled and overshadowed by the 2 Commandments of Jesus Christ (Matthew 22:37-40). God says that those who fear and love God will obey His commands. Obeying the law was impossible in the flesh, through fear. The entire Old Testament proves that. Obeying the commands of God is only possible with the Holy Spirit, through love. The OT gives us the law of sin and death, Jesus gives us the law of spirit and life. (Romans 8:2) For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. The OT tells us what is right while Jesus and the Holy Spirit equip us to do it. The OT law gives us condemnation, Jesus gives us grace and mercy. (John 1:17)  For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. OT law isolates people from one another in sin, love brings us together. The law is made weak by flesh, love is made strong by the spirit. (Romans 8:3-4)  For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

                “Rules without relationship leads to rebellion.”      -Josh McDowell

Love Over Law

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(Matthew 22:37-40) “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

The commandment to love God covers the first 6 commandments given to Moses in Exodus. Love your neighbor covers the final 4. (Romans 13:8-10) Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

The love found from God and through the Holy Spirit removes the need for the laws given in the Old Testament. Jesus came to earth to bring about a new covenant that is not under the law. The new covenant involves the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in believers. The maturing of the spirit leads us to the ultimate goal of unconditional and perfect love found in 2 Peter 1:5-7. Love is culmination of the Fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23. Christ had to remove the law to allow room for love to flourish. The law creates judgement, love creates mercy. (James 2:13) Mercy triumphs over judgment. God is love. The Holy Spirit makes unconditional love possible in our sinful human form. The presence of perfect love does not allow sin or temptation to exist. The presence of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of God’s people makes the Old Testament law obsolete. The presence of love fills the voids of that law and proves how incomplete it was without the sacrifice of Jesus for our sin made evident in the law. Once we realize our need for a savior because adherence to the law is impossible, we can let go of its hold on us and live in God’s love, through Christ as we reflect that love back to God and to our neighbors.

 (Galatians 5:22-23) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

(2 Peter 1:5-7)  For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.

The Law is Death

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Old Testament Law is death. The law killed Jesus Christ. People who could quote scripture and lived blameless in the law killed the Word — made flesh (John 1:14). Even Paul, the Pharisee of Pharisee, had to die unto himself to escape a life lived perfectly in the law. The law had to die in him for the spirit to fill him with the love of the new, better and perfect covenant. Paul tells us (Philippians 3:8) For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ. Paul is saying that his life, perfect in the law of the Old Testament, was worthless (as dung), in comparison to knowing Christ and living in His spirit. Without the law, sin is dead. (Romans 7:8) apart from the law, sin lies dead. Sin is made alive in the law but cannot exist in love!

(Romans 7:5-6)  For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.

(Romans 7:7) if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin    Apostle Paul

Don’t miss God’s plan

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Old Testament Laws are like guiding lights/ bread crumbs/ a map/ a GPS. They were originally intended to bring the focus of the Israelites to God and at the same time serve as a guide to show His power in their lives to the rest of the world. Knowing that sin kept all people from fulfilling the laws God became man and a sinless sacrifice so that love could succeed where the law had failed. Mercy could succeed where judgement fails. Many people miss the point of Jesus and continue attempting to please God in obedience to law. They use the law as a tool to learn about God and try and grow in Him. They miss the opportunity to be filled with His spirit in complete intimacy as a conduit of His power. Focusing on the law will cause you to miss God’s desire which is to live in your heart and allow you to shine His light to this dark world. Keeping your eyes on the Map/ GPS God gave people in the Old Testament will cause you to miss the destination God gave us through Christ, His Spirit!