Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Keep the law??

Within the Torah, within the ceremonial law delivered by Moses, is the recognition that none could truely 'keep the law'.   I refer to the extensive detail relating to sacrifices for sin. (sin being the breaking of the law). Some sacrifices related to particular sins, trespasses committed. Others involved the blood of atonement more because of the incapacity or ruined character of the offerer. This provision of sacrifice implies the problem of  a broken law.
        God Himself knew and knows the incapacity of humanity to rise to the  law, so He sent His Son in the likeness of sinful man both to fulfil the law (Matthew 5) and also pay the penalty incurred by a broken law (Romans 8.3). Are we then to rush back to the law and start again?
     Several times in the Gospel records, the Lord Jesus refers enquirers to the law e.g. to the rich young ruler ' in the law how do you read?'     ...      The greatest command  ..go and do likewise....etc     on each occasion He exemplified the goodness of the law and challenged them to rise to the standard- in which they failed. Did He direct them to try again? - NO -He called them to follow Him and find rest.- the Sabbath rest of God in His Son.

          Paul lays out this principle in Romans 7 - our failure under the law renders us condemned and incapable.  Our faith in Christ crucified sets us free from the demands of law as a code   of life. Chapter 8 demonstrates a new and living way - the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit in the believer. His functions for the believer vary, but most significant is the relationship established 'in Christ'. We are accepted as children and now say "Abba Father".  This stands in contrast to the people of Israel who asked that the Almighty not speak to them directly lest they die. (Exodus 20).
           The letter to the Galatians reinforces the point that our initial acceptance by God in salvation, is by the cross of Christ and not by keeping law. Paul then declares that the Christian life continues on the same principle - an active God involved in our lives, a speaking God changing our character from within so that we might be conformed to the likeness of His Son.
Just as Moses communicated the will of a speaking God, so the apostles did (1 Corinthians 2), and God is yet operating in our hearts today e.g. the love of God poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5.4)

I trust we can see the kindness of God in providing a better way!

John McKee
Next article  the law in the teaching of the Lord Jesus

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