First of all what is “The Law”?
This really needs clarification as many people confuse this. Here is one of the simplest definitions I have come across regarding what it means to live under the law: The keeping of religious laws and rules viewed as a means to achieving righteousness or right standing with God.
When we talk about the Law we are not talking about civil law that is given by our governments, to say we don’t have to obey those laws contradicts Rom 13:1-6, where we are called to honour our authorities and their laws.
The Law also does not just mean the Law of Moses, it includes any laws imposed by any religious organizations such as Pentecostals, Evangelicals, Baptists, Amish, Catholic’s etc., any laws or rules that are made to try to achieve righteousness with God, all have the same effects as the laws of Moses.
For Example do you feel condemned if you don’t go to church or even do the unpardonable sin and stop tithing? Then chances are we have made them laws and therefore have gone back under the law. (Gal 3:1-3)
Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
In the New Testament, when it mentions the Law it is referring to the old Covenant which is essentially the 10 Commandments and all the 613 laws. Gal 3:10 tells us plainly that you can not separate the 10 from the rest. You either keep all or nothing.
1st Reason: There are no more Laws for to keep to achieve righteousness.
Rom 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
The New Testament is not an add-on to the Old Covenant. It is an entirely New Covenant that has been put in place. This has been expressed clearly time and time again in the Old Covenant and throughout the New Testament. The Law/ Old Covenant is, done away,abolished, annulled, obsolete, out of date, disestablished, faulty, weak through the flesh, merely a shadow of things to come and was only in place for the Jews until Christ & faith came. Consequently the OC laws were never for the Gentiles but only for the Hebrew Nation. Our Covenant, the New Covenant, is not based on the old Covenant Laws but on faith in Jesus through whom we receive righteousness apart from the law, freely given by God, neither earned nor deserved.
Jer 31:31, Gal 3:19,Gal 3:23-4, Jhn 1:17, Rom 6:14, Rom 7:4, Rom 7:6, Rom 8:2-4, Rom 10:4, Hbr 7:18-19, Hbr 8:7-8, Hbr 8:13, Hbr 10:1-10, Hbr 10:16, Eph 2: 14-16, Hbr 7:22, Hbr 9:15, Hbr 12:24, Gal 3:19, Col 2:14, Rom 3:28, 2Cr 3:6, 2Cr 3:11-3, Mat 26:28, Mar 14:24, Col 2:20
2nd Reason: The law works against us and doesn’t prevent sin.
1 Cor 15:56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.
Rom 7:5-6 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. 6 But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not [in] the oldness of the letter.
Many people point out the few passages in the NT about the small group of people who lived in sin as they misunderstood what it meant to live under grace, but these same people fail to point out the multitudes of examples of people in the Old Covenant and New Testament living in sin while living under the law. The truth is the law was never there to prevent us from sinning or make us perfect, but contrarily it ultimately does the opposite because it stimulates us to sin more.
Rom 5:20 says that “the law entered that the offense might abound.” It stirs up sin, strengthens sin and produces more transgression. The Law focuses in on the flesh and all the things that we have done wrong, do wrong and don’t do enough of. It’s like scratching an itch, the more you scratch the worse it gets. Living under grace focuses our eyes on Jesus, who has made us righteous through faith, rather than on the flesh that tries to say we are not righteous.
Rom 7: 5 – 7: 9, 1 Cor 15:56; Rom 6:14, Rom 4 : 15, Hbr 7:19, Col 2:14, Rom 5:20
3rd Reason: The law pushes us away from God
Eph 2:14-19 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
The Law pointed out our inadequacies and faults, which brings guilt and condemnation and in turn causes us to turn away from God who is holy and righteous because we feel ashamed. The more we live by the law the further away we feel we are from God. When we look back to the Garden of Eden, it was not God that pushed Adam and Eve from Him because of what they had done, no He came into the Garden looking for them even after they had sinned, but instead He found Adam and Eve hiding from Him because of what they had done. It was the knowledge of their fault that caused Adam and Eve to hide from God.
God never wanted the Law. He wanted the Jewish nation to walk by faith, just like their father, Abraham did, whom God declared righteous because of faith. There was no barrier between man and God until they asked for laws. Then God said, “set bounds around the mountain.” (Ex 19:12) The Law doesn’t bring anyone near to God it keeps them away. This is also the reason for Jesus’ comments regarding the religious ways of the Pharisees. (Matt 23:13-15).
Rom 8:1-2, Col 1:20-22, Eph 2:14-19, Gal 3:12 2Cr 3:9 2Cr 3:15-18
4th Reason: The law brings curse, judgement, bondage and ultimately death
2 Cr 3:6 who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
You wouldn’t add arsenic to your drinking water would you? Well that’s the same idea that Paul gives when he talks about adding any laws to grace. A tiny bit of law, nullifies grace. Before Paul was converted on the road to Damascus, he was very much a man of the law. By his own words he was circumcised on the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a faultless Pharisee.
He knew the law through and through and he had some very strong comments about the consequences of the law, such as, those who live by it are under a curse, it makes us a slave to bondage, it’s a ministry of sin and death, it kills, it’s a ministry of condemnation, it’s bewitching, it blinds us, it brings about wrath. The Law is at war with us!
Rom 7:5 Rom 6:14, Rom 8:2, Gal 3:13 Rom 2:12, Rom 8:2 2Cr 3:6-7, 2Cr 3:6, 2Cr 3:9, 2Cr 3:14 Rom 4:15
5th Reason: The law is a wolf in sheep’s clothing
Col 2:20-23 Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations - “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” which all concern things which perish with the using – according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.
The law was attractive to the Israelites, that is why they asked for it, but when it was given they fell into more sin. Today the law is also attractive to many Christians. Why? Below is an expert from my friend Chris Defibaugh’s manual: “Law Vs Grace”, that gives 4 points on why the law is so attractive.
Why do we like the Law?
- It is familiar.
- The Law gives us a religion that is respectable, but independent of God (The Law brings respectability among the religious). Anointing vs Respectability.
- The Law gives us a false sense of security, while grace initially feels insecure.
- The loop of legalism. This vicious psychological phenomenon carries the victim in an exponentially tightening circle of law. Beginning with insecurity about grace we create law; our laws make us feel good, relieve insecurity and guilt. We then become self righteous; we add more law to generate a fresh religious “high”; again it feels better; at some point we can no longer sustain our vast amounts of law and collapse into a home-made hell. The victim is now more “backsliden” and insecure than he has ever been, so what do you think he does next?
The Law is a superficial, soulish, temporary fading glory, that feels good and makes you look good as you do things in your own works, but only for a while. Sooner or later it will cripple your spiritual walk, just like running a race in a wrong sized pair of Stilettos. Yes, it may look good, but start running and it will seriously hurt you.