Jesus Christ and the Law

When Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior died upon the cross He delivered us from the demands of the law which we could never fulfill because of our sinful natures.  Indeed, rather than being an instrument of righteousness in our lives, the law incites sin.  It isn’t the law that is evil, rather it is the sinful nature that makes us captive to sin, even when we will to obey God.  Jesus Christ has delivered us from law of evil present in each one of us through the flesh and has given us the ability to fulfill the righteous requirements of the law by the power of the Holy Spirit.  This is the point of Romans chapters seven through eight.

1 Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives?  2 For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives.  But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband.  3 So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man.  4 Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.  5 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death.  6 But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.  Romans 7:1-6

Unless we relinquish justification by the law, we are bound to it and are condemned, because we cannot perfectly fulfill the law, since it is weakened by our sinful natures.  However, if we accept the gift of righteousness that is through Jesus Christ, by God’s grace through faith, then we are delivered from the works of the law and can bear fruit to God through our union with Jesus Christ by His Holy Spirit.  The dilemma becomes, what do we make of the law?  God gives us the answer through His apostle Paul in the rest of Romans chapter seven.

7 What shall we say then?  Is the law sin?  Certainly not!  On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law.  For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.”  8 But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire.  For apart from the law sin was dead.  9 I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died.  10 And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death.  11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me.   Romans 7:7-11

So we see fulfilled what Paul wrote to the Romans in chapter three, the law makes us aware of sin, but it can never control or conquer sin, because sin is just too sinful; it produces evil within us by that which should produce good, the commandment.

19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.  20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.  Romans 3:19-20 

The degree to which sin deceives the sinner through what is good is further displayed by Paul in the remaining verses of Romans chapter seven, and this leads to one of the greatest declarations of all time.

12 Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.  13 Has then what is good become death to me?  Certainly not!  But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful.  14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin.  15 For what I am doing, I do not understand.  For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.  16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good.  17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.  18 For I know that in me (that is in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.  Romans 7:12-18

Dear brethren, this is the experience of all sinners, they are captive to sin and cannot be delivered from its evil principle.  Whether they follow the law and commandments of the Old Testament, or falsely, the ordinances and commandments of men, they will always fall short, because sin is exceedingly sinful and no flesh can be justified by the works of the law.  The law instead exposes the wickedness of the sinful nature, and the sinful nature abolishes all attempts at goodness.

19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.  20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.  21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good.  22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man.  23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.  24 O wretched man that I am!  Who will deliver me from this body of death?  25 I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!  So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.  Romans 7:19-25

So in this entire chapter the Holy Spirit through Paul is proving the superiority of faith in Christ in contrast to keeping the law for justification, it cannot be done.  But through faith in Jesus Christ we are dead to the law and one with Christ that we may bear fruit to God.  After this long explanation of the feebleness of the law due to the power of the sinful nature, we are given the truth of the power of God given to us through the death of His Son upon the cross to deliver us from the enslavement of the sin nature.  What amazing grace and power for godly living!  Amen!

1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.  2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.  3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin:  He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.  5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.  6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.  Romans 8:1-6

Although the law is spiritual, it cannot produce life in those who are carnal because they set their minds on the flesh, because of the law of evil that is present with the sinner.  However, those who have received the gift of righteousness and eternal life through repentant faith in Jesus Christ have the Holy Spirit so they are controlled by the Spirit and have their minds set on life and peace.  Indeed, if someone claims to belong to Jesus Christ, but does not have the Holy Spirit, then they do not belong to Christ.  They are an imposter.  This explains a great deal of what we see occurring within the visible church today.

7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.  8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.  9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you.  Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.  10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.  11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.  12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.  13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.  14 For as many are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.  15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”  16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God, 17 and if the children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.  Romans 8:7-16

Jesus Christ has freed us from seeking justification through the law that we should receive the Holy Spirit, whom we receive when we place our faith in Jesus Christ.  Is it any wonder that people are condemned because they reject Jesus Christ the only One Who can set us free from the law of sin and death, delivering us from condemnation making us the children of God and His heirs?  There is salvation in no one else, not ourselves, not our religions, not our spurious faiths that deny the truth of Scriptures, not our rule keeping, not our associations, not another person.  Salvation from sin, the consequences of sin, death and eternal destruction, and becoming the beloved children of God is only realized through repentant faith in Jesus Christ, His death upon the cross in our stead and His resurrection from the dead for our deliverance.  Praise God for His glorious deliverance and salvation.  Amen!

1 O foolish Galatians!  Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified?  2 This only I want to learn from you:  Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law or by the hearing of faith?  Are you so foolish?  Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?  Galatians 3:1-3

7 “Nevertheless I tell you the truth.  It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.  8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:  9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.  John 16:7-11

11 “This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ 12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”  Acts 4:11-12

10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.  11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.  12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:  13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.  John 1:10-13

Heavenly Father, we praise You and thank You for the gift of righteousness that comes through repentant faith in Your Son Jesus Christ.  Thank you for the life of righteousness that we can live through the Holy Spirit Who dwells within us.  May we do all for Your glory.  Amen!

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