I have had some very touching, and interesting conversations these last few months with some good blogging friends, as well as some people here in the physical world as well.
Several of these discussions center around this idea that the “law” is dead, and that there is no such thing as sin anymore. I will attempt to answer just a few of the arguments regarding commandments and sin.
Is there law anymore? Is there commandment? Most certainly, there is, and I need only two sentences to refute the idea that the law, and commandments are dead forever.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34,35
The argument made by some who believe that the law is dead is that it died on the cross with Jesus, and that it no longer has any authority over us. I speak nothing of the rest of the law, I do not need to. For the law is summed up by the two greatest commandments, Love the Lord my God, and love my neighbor as if he is me. The entire law and the prophets are summed up in these two commandments, and if they aren’t enough, Jesus called His “commandment” a new commandment. It hardly seems possible that He would have given His disciples a new commandment, and then killed it immediately on the cross, making it completely redundant and ridiculous.
So, is there still law?
Depends on your opinion of what the law really is.
I will be called a legalist for writing this, if not out loud, then certainly, there are those who will think it. How’s that for prophecy? I say, they say it or think it because they do not understand, but one day, they most certainly will. God will reveal to anyone the truth, and the fact that Jesus’ new commandment is still a viable commandment is truth which cannot be intellectually argued against.
But let's suppose that there is no more law, that we are “free” to do as we please, and that God winks at everything we do. Oh, that’s maybe a bit strong, but, really, not that strong. After all, if we believe we can do what we want to anyone we want, and God is hostage to His love for us, then we do not think all that highly of God at all, do we? When we say there is no more sin, we call “evil” good. You can argue against that statement all you want, but you will never change the fact that evil is still evil, regardless of what Jesus did on the cross. And if we claim to be without sin because everything we do is now good, then we are liars.
The law being what it had been, was “summed” up by Christ on the cross, but He didn’t do away with it in the way you think. He defined it, married it, took the penalty for our breakage of it, and then put His eternal stamp of approval on the SUM of the law. Therefore, the law is still very much alive, and we, who are born of the Spirit, do not nullify the Law, rather, we fulfill it through Christ, just as Paul said.
So, is the law still in effect? Yes. Are the consequences of the law still upon us? No. For how could we face consequences of that which we have already fulfilled, and fulfill daily through Christ, by faith?
Rather, shouldn’t we obey the law effortlessly? Shouldn’t the law be written on our hearts, the voice of which is the loudest within our lives? And just what is this law written on our hearts?
It is the sum of the entire law, to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, and soul, and to love our neighbor as our self, which is summed up in “Love one another”. For to love one another, we must already have the love of God in our hearts, otherwise, it is impossible for us to love one another, we aren’t even disciples if we have not the love of God within us.
How do I know this? Because any kingdom without law is not a kingdom at all, rather, it is anarchy. And how is God’s Kingdom described right within the pages of our bibles? It is a Kingdom of the government of Christ, which by definition, could never be then a kingdom without law. God’s Kingdom, you can rest assured, is an orderly Kingdom, and no kingdom without law will ever be anything but disorderly.
Try as you might, you cannot kill the new commandment Christ gave to us, which is to love one another, and you cannot kill the law written on our hearts, which is summed up in this new commandment. Christ came to fulfill the Law, and if we FOLLOW Him, then we FULFILL the law as well, through Him, or what else do you suppose it means to follow Him? How can we be crucified in Spirit if we have not this love Jesus spoke of? How can we be His followers if we have not been crucified? Didn’t He Himself say that if we loved Him, we would keep His commandments?
How would it be possible for us to keep His commandments if He had killed that new commandment the moment He spoke it? No, His law is still alive, you can rest in it.
Yet you might say, “But Jesus Himself said He didn’t come to judge the world, but to save it.”
I would answer that He said that right before He said this,” He who rejects me and does not receive my sayings, has One who judges him, THE WORD I SPOKE IS WHAT WILL JUDGE HIM AT THE LAST DAY”.
What is that word? Notice He didn’t say “the word I spoke is what will judge him every day in this age.” Or, “The word I spoke is that there is no judgment”, or, “the word I spoke is that there will no longer be law, therefore, there can also be no judgment.”
Rather, He said there is One who judges, and that one is His word. Now, only God in the flesh could get away with saying this, and still make sense. If I said it, I’d be saying I am two different people, and it would make no sense whatsoever. But the point is, if there is no law, how can there be need of any judgment whatsoever?
Here’s the kicker. You cannot get past this. Jesus fulfilled the law alright. He fulfilled every last bit of it, BEFORE he died. If that law was fulfilled, and then became nullified because He fulfilled it, then His death was absolutely unnecessary towards redemption. Unless……..unless…….
Unless He didn’t kill it.
Jesus fulfilled the law. He defined it, summed it up, and gave His eternal blessing on it as summed up by Him. We who follow Him are only able to fulfill it because of, and through Him. We cannot do it by our merit or our effort. We can only do it because He did it first, and if we follow Him, then we have that same love He has.
What is the sum of the law? Love! And love is not dead, for love is life, and without love, there is no life, therefore, without law, there is no life either. If you say you believe there is no law, then by that definition, you must also say that you believe there is no life, because you cannot have one without the other, you cannot have life without love, which is the law of God’s kingdom.
Deny this if you must, if you even can. But in argument, you cannot refute it. Jesus did not give His disciples a new commandment only to do away with that commandment immediately after He spoke it.
So how does this all fit in with grace? Perfectly. For without grace, love is not possible. Grace is not just redemption. It is more than that. It is God’s love poured into us, and overflowing out of us, onto others, those “one another’s” that Jesus spoke of. Didn’t Jesus call the water He would give us a river flowing unto eternal life? Doesn’t that make perfect sense, when you finally understand that the law of life in God’s Kingdom is indeed love, and that this love is poured into us from God’s grace? That is why our faith is not our own, why we cannot even brag about it, because without God’s love poured into us, none of us even knows what love is, and therefore, cannot pour out love onto one another.
The LAW is not dead. The Law is love, and as Christ lives, so does the Law He summed up, and fulfilled, and then gave to us, His disciples, as a new commandment. And that law was acknowledged and approved of by Christ when He rose from the dead, proving that you can kill the flesh, but you can never, ever kill love. We who follow Christ cannot die, because we have the love of our Abba abiding in us, which means daily, WE FULFILL THE NEW COMMANDMENT. That is why there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Argue if you must, but when you see the law of the Kingdom as love, then everything Jesus said about the kingdom makes sense. And we can never, ever fulfill that law with our efforts, or by our merit. We only fulfill it with love given to us in overflowing amounts from God. That is why I said the other day, "Look inside of your heart, and see the love God has poured out within you." God is always the initiator, and any efforts we make is but a response to the love of God within us. There is law in this Kingdom, that law is love, and the King of this Kingdom has provided it all.