The Blurred Line – Part 3
“Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.” Proverbs 4:7
What does it mean that Jesus fulfilled the Law? There are two Laws at work in the world, The Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus and the Law of sin and death. We are free from the Law of sin and death through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, which fulfilled the law of sin and death, but we are made alive to the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus because He was raised from the dead and is alive forevermore.
The Law of sin and death condemns all mankind because we are by nature incapable of fulfilling it. Even the rich young ruler whom Jesus loved, who claimed to have kept all the Law, lacked one thing that he could not do.
“Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. You know the commandments: “Do not commit adultery,’ “Do not murder,’ “Do not steal,’ “Do not bear false witness,’ “Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’ ” And he answered and said to Him, “Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.” Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.” But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.” Mark 10:17-22
In order to get the benefit of the Law you had to keep all of it.
“For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.” James 2:10
So, is there no hope or benefit for doing your best to try to keep the Law even though you know you may fail? No there isn’t, particularly if you are trusting that the Law (your doing good) will be your pathway to Heaven. Good works no matter how noble or selfless are not and can never be a substitute for the blood of Jesus Christ.
“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. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 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, 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.” Romans 8:1-4
Jesus has made it absolutely clear. Salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. There is no other way.
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6
The good-deed-doer who refuses to acknowledge the grace offered in the suffering, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ alone for salvation, but bases his expectation of acceptance on his good deeds is in rebellion against God no matter how good or how beneficial to others his deeds may be.
“…knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.” Galatians 2:16
“For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” Galatians 3:10
So then, we are done with the Law, with it’s rituals, sacrifices, circumcisions, blood of animals and ceremonial cleansings and all such religious activities, but, we need the spirit of the Law which reflects the Holiness and Righteousness of God. The sacrifice lamb without spot or blemish that the people would offer during Passover was to serve as a type of Jesus, the Lamb of God who would come to take away the sins of the world.
He has come and the work that He came to do is completed. There is no more sacrifice to be made, nor can there be. All the Law pointed to that ultimate sacrifice. Now we who are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ bring ourselves as living sacrifices and the offerings we bring, the sacrifices that we bring are sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving,
“…you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2:5
“Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” Hebrews 13:15-16
Worship motivated by love is our highest calling now to the glory of God. Not as ritual, not by mandate of Law, not by grudging necessity or under compulsion, but freely by the joy of our hearts recognizing the worthiness of God through the sacrifice He has made for us and the Love He has given to us in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Where many people are confused about not being under law but under grace is in matters of daily living, in their choice of relationships, their moral/ethical behavior, in spiritual acts of tithing and giving, in church attendance and participation in ministry and so forth. We’ll look more closely at these tomorrow.