Saturday, May 02, 2015

Identity in Christ - 20 (Dead to the Law)

There are a lot of people who think that the way to please God is to keep the rules. Either they keep the Ten Commanments, or some other list of rules.

Paul points out that the Law has jurisdiction over a person's life while he is still alive. He gives the example of a marriage. When two people are married, the covenant holds. If one of the people gets involved with another person, that person breaks the Law. But if one of the couple dies, the other person is released from the Law and is free to get involved with another person. Death gives a release from the Law's requirements.

People seem to forget that those who give their allegiance to Jesus are dead. God, not only places people into his family, he places them into his body. That way, they go through what he goes through.

We have discussed here some of its parts: died with, crucified with, buried with, alive with, baptized into. There is another aspect. Jesus died, so he is released from the requirements of the Law. We are 
in Christ, so we are released from the requirements of the Law.

● God's Perspective

The power to condemn and punish sin comes from the Law. In Christ, we are released from that power, when we died with Christ. We are given to a new power: the power of the resurrection, the power of the Spirit.

The Law was not to show us how to live. The Law was to show us our need for a savior. To show us that we cannot live as God designed us to live by keeping the rules put down in the Law.

God's standard is perfection.  And the Law cannot make anything perfect.  It can only condemn.

● Living My Life

So why bother? If we can't keep the Law, if it does nothing to bring us closer to God, does it matter if we even know what the Ten Commandments are?

The Law is God's Word.  It does express his mind and heart. The Bible says love keeps the Law. So, it is instructive to know that the Law says "be content" (my paraphrase) then being content is part of loving.

Moreover, we were designed to keep the Law ... naturally. It is,  in part, an expression of how God designed us.

For those in God's family,  for those giving allegiance to Jesus, the basis, the power,  and the motivation for every day living is not the Law. It is the Spirit of God,  the nature of God injected into our hearts,  that provides these things.

People live from the overflow of their hearts. God breaks up the hardness of our hearts to let the Spirit flow from it, into our minds, hands and voices, in ever greater measure.

God may use the Law as a reference of growth, or an indicator of an area needing work. But God's children do not live trying to keep the Law . They live according to God's original plan and design,  God's nature in them, imperfectly expressed now because of sin, but increasing day by day, leaking out into their world.

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