'Christ in You...'
by Dale Krebbs
Is the law of God "done away"? Many believe so. The statement is true, and, it is not true. Confusing?
Lets consider (Romans 7) The Apostle stated that the law came in, and he died. The penalty for breaking the law of God is death. Always has been. Always will be. If this is so, then "the law" cannot have been "done away". There is a very simple way to harmonize what seems to be an obvious contradiction. Yes, the law, i.e. the letter (written) of the law, when it is enforced will kill you and me, since the penalty is death, because there is no way we can keep it perfectly. If it is not kept perfectly, it will kill us with the penalty for breaking it in the smallest detail. Then Paul says, in this sense, that the Law kills - simply because it cannot be kept perfectly by anyone.
This presents a scenario of absolute hopelessness. The law requires perfection by those who are incapable of perfection. This is because there is another law operating in all of us. It is the "law of sin and death". The natural man cannot keep the Law of God, no matter how he struggles to do so. This is the point where grace enters in. With all the law-breaking by all of us, and all the word, all is lost. There is only one hope. God being perfectly just in all things, must provide a way for the death penalty to be paid, one that justifies removing the automatic death penalty. Jesus came, not do away sin, as we understand it. He came to cancel the PENALTY for law breaking.
Some have felt that, since Jesus has died for us, that we cannot sin anymore. However, sin is still around, and all do sin, if we are honest about it. So, the question arises, why the Law to begin with? Paul gives a very logical answer. It is by the Law's existence that we KNOW what sin is. The law shows up the existence of our sin-nature so that we can know what our problem really is. And as he says, when we become cognizant of the law, we become automatically guilty, and we "die" - we are as good as dead, because of a Law we cannot hope to keep, What are we to do? Jesus came, lived a perfect life, not in our stead, but as a substitute for our penalty of death for not keeping the Law. When we "receive" Christ (i.e., have Christ through the Holy Spirit living in us), He is the Law living in us, cleansing us, and upon repentance, forgive us for all our Law breaking. Hence, the expression "the law of Christ". Christ is the Law working in by the Holy Spirit that is replacing slowly the sin-nature that breaks the Law. Remember, Paul explains that the Law - the letter of the Law - of itself is "holy, just, and good".
The problem is not a bad Law, but the bad and fallen natures attempting to keep a perfect Law. When we repent of breaking God's perfect Law, and believe in the fact that Jesus' (who was and is a perfect Law Keeper), God applies our penalty we should receive to Him. We are considered "righteous" in the Father's sight because of Christ's payment of our penalty, and His active working within us to create a "new man" that more and more becomes formed in the "image" of Christ who is perfect. All during this process that is taking place, we looked upon by God as already being righteous because of the indwelling of the Holy and Righteous One living in us.
During Israel's sojourning it is said that they could not believe and obey because their beliefs were not mixed with faith. It is by faith in Him that our nature is slowly changed, and we become more and more like Him. We are being reformed into His image of righteousness. We are being moved from under the "law of sin and death", and reformed into the "Law of Christ". The Law has not been done away. Christ is now living in us enabling us to be changed by the Law of Christ into a completely new creations formed into perfectly righteous beings upon our death when we will be perfected forever. We have moved from the condemnation of letter of "the Law" to the "Law of Christ" that saves us. (Romans 7:5-25)
"O unhappy and pitiable and wretched man that I am! Who will release and deliver me from [the shackles of] this body of death? O thank God! [He will!] through Jesus Christ (the Anointed One) our Lord! So then indeed I, of myself with the mind and heart, serve the Law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin." - Romans 7:24-25 (AMP)
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