Senseless Religious Laws - Part I

May 2022

The question should be asked, under the new covenant, are there laws that believers should keep? In a word, no.

There are definitely laws under the new covenant; however, they pertain to the plan of God.

For instance, there is the “law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:2). This is the most powerful law in the universe, and it was devised by the Godhead sometime in eternity past. It is the only law that is able to overcome the “law of sin and death” found in the same verse.

As well, there is the “law of God,” which is the moral law ensconced in the Ten Commandments (Rom. 7:22). Of course, the question begs to be asked, aren’t we as Christians supposed to keep the moral law? Yes, but in reality that’s not the question. The question is, how is it to be kept? I’ll deal with that momentarily.

As well, there is the “law of my mind,” which is the law of desire and willpower (Rom. 7:23).

The believer doesn’t have to worry about any of these laws, if he is faithfully functioning in the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.

This law pertains to the Holy Spirit and how He works. The short phrase, “in Christ Jesus,” as Paul uses the term, or one of its many derivatives such as “in Christ” always, and without exception, refers to Christ and what He did at the cross, all on our behalf (Rom. 6:3-5). For this law to work for the believer, the believer must ever make the cross of Christ the object of his faith. Making certain that this is done and on a constant basis, to be sure, the Holy Spirit, who works exclusively within the finished work of Christ, will work mightily on behalf of the believer. This is the only way that He will work, and the only way that we can walk in victory, and I mean victory over the law of sin and death.

How Does The Believer Keep
The Ten Commandments?

As is obvious, the Ten Commandments are the moral part of the law of Moses. Jesus fully and totally kept every aspect of that law in His earthly life and ministry, failing not even one time. As well, He addressed the broken law, which was incumbent upon every believer who had ever been born, and did so by giving Himself in sacrifice on the cross, which God the Father accepted and, thereby, the debt was forever paid.

Paul said this:
“Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us (pertains to the law of Moses, which was God’s standard of righteousness that man could not reach), which was contrary to us (Law is against us, simply because we are unable to keep its precepts, no matter how hard we try), and took it out of the way (refers to the penalty of the law being removed), nailing it to His cross (the law with its decrees was abolished in Christ’s death, as if crucified with Him)” (Col. 2:14) (The Expositor’s Study Bible).

Due to what Christ did at the cross, and according to Colossians 2:14, the law is, in a sense, dead, at least that’s the way it is to be with the believer.

However, if the believer in any manner resorts to law, and I speak of laws made up by men, then he will find that the law of old will have a resurrection fast and will then finger its victim, so to speak, with all of the attendant guilt. In other words, the believer is never to function according to law, but always under grace.

If we function under law at all, despite the fact that we are believers, there will be a resurrection of law and then law will do with us what law is supposed to do, which is to condemn.

The believer stays clear of the law by evidencing his faith exclusively in Christ and what Christ has done at the cross. That being done, the law will have no claim on the believer and will remain dead to the believer (Rom. 7:1-3).

Again, we ask the question, is not the moral law of God incumbent upon modern believers? And again, the answer is yes. However, if the believer sets out to keep that moral law by trying to obey commandments, he will find once again that failure will be the result—with all of its condemnation—because that’s the wrong way to address the problem.

Man is unable to keep the law of God. There has never been a single human being other than Christ who has succeeded in that task. Even believers who are close to God cannot, of themselves, keep that law. That’s the reason the Holy Spirit is not happy at all when we attempt to do something that we cannot do—something Jesus has already done, and He did it on our behalf.

Considering the price that Christ has paid so that all of this may be properly addressed, don’t you think it is very disconcerting to our Lord for us to attempt to contradict what He has done, and which He alone could do?

The believer keeps the law of God—the moral law—and he does so perfectly when he places his faith exclusively in Christ and what Christ has done for him at the cross and keeps his faith in that finished work. Then, and then alone, can the moral law be kept. It’s kept because the Holy Spirit sees to it that the victory is ours, and it is ours because of what Christ did at the cross, and by that means alone.

Christ Lives In Me
Concerning this very thing, Paul said:

“I am crucified with Christ (as the foundation of all victory; Paul, here, takes us back to Rom. 6:3-5): nevertheless I live (have new life); yet not I (not by my own strength and ability), but Christ lives in me (by virtue of me dying with Him on the cross, and being raised with Him in newness of life): and the life which I now live in the flesh (my daily walk before God) I live by the faith of the Son of God (the cross is ever the object of my faith), who loved me, and gave Himself for me (which is the only way that I could be saved)” (Gal. 2:20) (The Expositor’s Study Bible).

If it is to be noticed, Paul used the term several times, “the faith of Jesus Christ,” and “by the faith of Christ,” and “the faith of the Son of God” (Gal. 2:16, 20).

What does the term mean?
The words, the faith, are used by Paul in the same sense as “the cross,” and both are actually synonyms used to explain the entirety of the redemption plan of God. In other words, these two short phrases are so used, in that they stand for the entire concept of Christianity. Individuals know what you’re talking about when either phrase is used. It is not speaking of Christ having faith, but rather, the faith that is made possible by Christ, and what He did for us at the cross, in which we are to register our belief system at all times and in totality.

Frustrating The Grace Of God
In essence, Paul tells us that if our faith is in anything except Christ and the cross (I am crucified with Christ), then we will frustrate the grace of God.

The Apostle said:
“I do not frustrate the grace of God (if we make anything other than the cross of Christ the object of our faith, we frustrate the grace of God, which means we stop its action, and the Holy Spirit will no longer help us): for if righteousness come by the law (any type of law), then Christ is dead in vain. (If I can successfully live for the Lord by any means other than faith in Christ and the cross, then the death of Christ was a waste)” (Gal. 2:21) (The Expositor’s Study Bible).

How Does One Frustrate The Grace Of God?
Let’s see what grace actually is.
Grace is simply the goodness of God extended to undeserving saints. It’s the good things that God gives us that come from His own person, which we cannot obtain any other way except that He would freely give it, which He does.

We receive this grace, and we do so in an uninterrupted flow by placing our faith exclusively in Christ and what Christ did at the cross. As believers, when we who have been saved by grace through faith place our faith in something other than the cross of Christ, this frustrates the grace of God, which hinders or even stops its flow, which spells spiritual disaster for the believer.

This article continues in the June issue of The Evangelist.


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