Grace Life Church                                                                                                                     Proclaiming Jesus Christ and the Gospel of God's Grace                                                                                                                                                                

 THE LAW OF CHRIST


"Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you fulfill the law of Christ."

Gal 6:2

The Bible is clear. Our heavenly Father does not want Christians to live under the Law of Moses. He gave the Law to Israel, not the church (Rom. 9:4)!

The Mosaic Law was just one of several law codes God has given people throughout human history. Adam and Eve lived under a law code in the Garden of Eden. Noah had to follow the laws of God in his age, so there was a code he lived under. Later, Abraham was required to obey certain commands and laws (Gen. 26:5). He lived under what is sometimes called the Abrahamic code.

As members of the church, the Body of Christ, we don't live under any of these law codes or any other law codes.  

"For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace." (Rom. 6:14)

Please understand, the law does is have its use today, but its not for believers. The law reveals to lost people that they are sinners and that they continue to sin. The law shows people that they can't measure up to God's holy standards. The Holy Spirit uses the law to convict people of their sins and show them that they desperately need Jesus Christ, and Him alone, to solve their sin problem through the forgiveness of their sins.  

It is important to understand the purpose God has for the law today, so we don't confuse ourselves and others.  Unfortunately, many Christians are confused and frustrated in their walk with Christ because they're not using the law properly. They're not living under grace.  

"We know that the law is good if one uses it properly.  We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers - and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me." (1Tim. 1:8-11) 

Believers today have been made righteous through Jesus Christ. We live under God's wonderful grace, and we have the great joy of being one with Christ! As members of the church, the Body of Christ, our wonderful spiritual position is that we are in Christ and Christ lives in usBeing in Christ is the foundational identification truth that provides believers with a righteous standing before God. Christ's righteousness became our righteousness when we were saved. Being identified with Christ in His death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and being seated in heaven means we have died to sin and the law (Rom. 6:1-14, 7:1-6).

Even though we do not live under a new law code today, there is a law God wants us to fulfill as members of the Body of Christ - "the law of Christ" (Gal 6:2). What is this law and what does it involve? Unlike the Mosaic Law, which was a burden to the Israelites (Acts 15:10,19,28), the Bible says the commands of Christ are not a burden.

"This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world." (1 John 5:3)

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matt. 11:28-30)

Today, as members of Christ's church in the age of grace, we are called to live out the law of Christ, or "the law of the Spirit of life" (Rom. 8:2).

"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death." (Rom. 8:1-2)

Though there is some debate over just what is the law of Christ, God's Word reveals that we fulfill the law of Christ when we love God and when we love others as Christ loved us (Matt. 22:37-39; Mark 12:29-31; John 13:34-35; John 15:12). The law of Christ is living out the love of Christ. All of the other commands and directives in the New Testament concerning how believers should live flow out of love.
 
"A new command I give you:  Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this all men will know that you are my disciples, If you love one another. (John 13:34-35)      

"My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you." (John 15:12)

"And now these three remain:  faith, hope, and love.  But the greatest of these is love." (1 Cor. 13:13)

Though Christians do not live under the 613 commandments of the Mosaic Law, the law of Christ has some new commands and some old ones as compared to the Law of Moses, with love as the focus for godly living. Under grace (Rom 6:14), we live out the law of Christ as the Holy Spirit works in us to produce the fruit of the Spirit. Self-effort and striving are not involved. It is the life of Christ living out through us. 
 
Let's be very clear here. The law of Christ has absolutely nothing to do with believers following the Mosaic Law or any other law system in order to be saved, grow spiritually, or receive God's blessings. Rather, the law of Christ has everything to do with believers loving each other with the love of Christ which is produced by the Holy Spirit.

Furthermore, I believe the law of Christ also relates to the work of the Holy Spirit in believers to grow them spiritually and produce in them the love of Christ. This work of God in all believers (sanctification) results in them increasingly experiencing victory over sin in their lives. The law of Christ is not a law system or performance system to follow in order to gain something.     
 
"Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, 'Do not commit adultery,' 'Do not murder,' 'Do not steal,' 'Do not covet,' and whatever other commandments there may be, are summed up in this one rule: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." (Rom. 13:8-10)    

Loving like Christ is impossible for us to do - only Christ can do it! The Apostle Paul teaches us that the only way we can love this way is through the presence and work of Jesus Christ in believers (Gal. 2:20). It is the love of Christ working in us and going out to those around us. This is a love that is the fruit of the Spirit of God.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Against such things there is no law." (Gal. 5:22-23)

One of the foundational truths to understand and embrace in order to live the grace life is that godly Christian character is produced by the Holy Spirit, not by self-effort. This is the only way that we are spiritually transformed God's way and grow in Christ-likeness.  

Because we were put into Christ when we believed, God wants us to rest in our heavenly position in Christ (Eph 2:4-10). He wants us to understand that in our co-crucifixion with Christ (Gal. 2:20) we have died to (separated from) sin and the law. The Holy Spirit applies that work of the cross in our daily lives and from this death the life of Christ is increasingly manifested.

"We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body." (2 Cor. 4:10-11)  

"And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit." (Rom. 8:4)

"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death." (Rom. 8:1-2)

The law has major weaknesses. 

It can bring death, but not life. Because the law exposes sin for what it is and is even used by the sin nature to produce sinful desires, it actually produces death (Rom. 7:9-13). This clearly shows us that following the law is not God's way for believers to grow spiritually in their walk with Christ.   

The law also has no power to save sinners. No matter how hard we may try to live a perfect and holy life, the Bible says all of us sin. Even if we were to somehow keep 99.99% of the law, but fail in just one point, we would be guilty of breaking all of the law (James 2:10)!

"The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God." (Heb. 7:18-19)

The law was weak, useless, and made nothing perfect! Thank God that He introduced a better hope - GRACE!
 
The law of the Spirit of life is far better than the law. It has the power to actually deliver the believer from the law of sin in the sin nature and it has the power to deliver the believer's conscience from condemnation by the Mosaic Law, or any other law system. Furthermore, the Spirit works in the child of God to produce the very righteousness the law demands but fails to produce!

"So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desire of the sinful nature." (Gal. 5:16)

The law of Christ is loving God and loving others as Christ loved us. It also relates to God's way of producing the love of Christ in us as He makes us more and more like His Son. The law of Christ is not burdensome because the Holy Spirit living in us produces this Christ-like love as we rest in our glorified and heavenly position in Christ. As we live by the Spirit, we will fulfill the law of Christ - we love God and others. As we live by the Spirit, the Spirit produces wonderful fruit in us, including love (Gal. 5:22-23). 


"...being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

Phil. 1:6



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