After calming down a bit from last week’s thoughts, I began to think about the answer to that first thought in last week’s post:
Why do we as Christians insist on teaching obedience to the Law?
As I asked the question, I came up with three simple answers. First, because we know Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey my commands.” (John 14:15) In this verse, we confuse Jesus’ teachings with Moses’ teachings. Moses gave us the Law. Jesus gave us grace and truth (Look up John 1:17). We assume that the Law is what Jesus commanded. That is because we know that Jesus came to fulfill the Law, and the Law is perfect. But we fail to realize that the Law empowers SIN, not our walk. Also, we don’t understand that love naturally obeys. We think we have to teach obedience, as if Holy Spirit doesn’t do His job. We assume it is our job to encourage and teach and push people to read their bibles, instead of showing them the wonders and glory of having a close and intimate relationship with God. No one has had to encourage me to read my bible in years. Holy Spirit does it every time. He even calls me out when I don’t read, convicting my heart to make more time for Him.
The second reason I came up with for why we insist on teaching obedience is because Satan knows that the Law empowers sin, so he has kept us bound to the Law. We must realize that if we aren’t walking with Holy Spirit, we will be walking with the devil. I know that is an extreme sentence, but it’s still true. If I walk in the Spirit, I will not give in to sin. But if I walk in obedience to the Law, I will sin more and more. It’s a hard pill to swallow- that there are many “Christians” out there preaching a strong message about obeying the Law, and we don’t even realize they are closer to the devil than they are to Jesus… because Jesus didn’t preach the Law, He preached Grace through Holy Spirit, and it’s the devil who preaches the Law. It is my hope that someone here would read this and realize this error and get free from the bondage of obedience.
The third reason we insist on teaching obedience to the Law is there is comfort in following a list of do’s and don’ts. As long as my eyes are on a list of what to do and what not to do, I will stay a victim to the schemes of the devil. When I do what I want to do, it’s good. But when I don’t do what I want to do, or I do what I don’t want to do… well, that’s bad, isn’t it? And suddenly, we all find ourselves relating to Romans 7 more than we do to actually walking in the light and glory of God, in the freedom that He promises. It’s in chapter 7 that we find the promises of God to be a foreign dream, and not a reality. We don’t even realize that chapter 7 was written to explain what life is like when we are pursuing obedience to the Law more than actually pursuing Christ. Just remember what Romans 5 tells us: where sin abounds, death reigns (which is also why Paul wrote 1 Corinthians 15:35-58).
In response to these 3 answers, I would like to take us to Galatians 2:19-21.
“For through the law, I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the Law, Christ died for nothing!”
That’s some real truth right there. As Paul wrote in Romans 6, I am supposed to consider myself dead to sin, but alive in Christ. It is He who is alive in this body. I don’t focus on obedience to the Law, but instead I focus on the grace of God. If obedience to the Law has value for my soul, then Jesus died for nothing!
What’s even more amazing is what Paul writes in Galatians 3, particularly in verses 10 and 11:
“All who rely on observing the Law are under a curse, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.’ Clearly no one is justified before God by the Law, because, ‘The righteous will live by faith.’”
When we feel that our obedience to some of the Law is of any value… for example, if I believe that I have more value than someone else because I have never murdered anyone… then that means Jesus dying on the cross has equal or less say than my obedience to the Law. That would be ridiculous. No one is justified by the Law, regardless to how well we have been able to follow the Law. Also, if I believe that my ability to not sin adds any more value to my life, then I am denying the power of the Cross, saying it doesn’t have full say in my life. Remember, “the Law is not based on faith…” (Galatians 3:12a).
In fact, Faith and Obedience are and WERE at odds with each other, and faith defeated obedience at the cross. Faith brings us close to Jesus. Obedience pushes us away from Jesus. Again, I’m referring to Obedience to the Law*, and not to Jesus’ commands. Remember, in John 14:15, Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey my commands,” but this was not in reference to the Law. This was referring to Jesus’ commands to love each other and love God, as well as to heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons, and cleanse lepers. Jesus was referring to partnering with Holy Spirit, and make your body a home for God to dwell. And again, we aren’t saying the Law is bad. We are saying that committing your life to obeying the Law will never work, and if you place any value in your ability to follow some of the Law, then you are actually denying the Cross’ work in your life, or at least devaluing Jesus’ sacrifice for you.
Why is this so important? Because we need to realize that we must walk in faith, not in obedience. The righteous live by faith. Our justification does not come from anything but Faith. The more we focus on doing things, the less justified we are, and eventually it will lead to a denial of God’s goodness… which is why many Christians preach the wrath of God instead of the kindness of God.
So this week, let us strive towards letting go of the desire to be good, do good, and earn anything. Let us all focus on what Jesus has already done for us. I pray that each of us realize that Jesus has done enough, that we don’t have to do anything else to gain value. We are all priceless to God. Be blessed…
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