Growing up in the institutional church and modern Christianity, my wife and I were taught that we are saved by grace but live by law. This seems to be a fairly common way of life for the modern-day believer.
Over the past couple years, we’ve come to see that the Bible mentions that those of us who are saved by grace are now free from the old covenant law. If we still try to live by the commands of the old covenant, we are actually living under a curse. ‘For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them’. (Galatians 3:10 KJV).
Why is it that we can’t accept the free gift provided by the cross and forget the performance based way of trying to please God. ‘For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ. You have fallen away from God’s grace’. (Galatians 5:4 NLT).
We now live for God because of love, not out of obligation, not trying to do more and earn our salvation.
It’s time we realize God, out of His love for us, has provided all we need; He has done away with our old sinful nature. We are forgiven of all our sins by His grace. We can now enter into his rest and rely on what He has done. We no longer have to strive to keep all the rules and constantly try to do more and more to earn a relationship with Him. ‘We have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code’. (Romans 7:6).
Rest in Him, rely on the Spirit to teach you and guide you, through love. There are plenty of things to do, but we do them when we are led by the Spirit, and we do them through love and His strength.
Now, am I saying because we are free of the law that we can just do whatever we want? Eat, drink and be merry? No, not at all. Even though we are free from the law, and even though by keeping our eyes on Christ we have the ability through him not to sin, we are still living in a fallen world. There will be times when we take our eyes off him and commit sins. Although in Christ our sins are already forgiven and there is no longer punishment for them, there are still consequences in this world when we do wrong.
The thing is, by trying to keep the law, we are led into death. ‘The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law’. (I Corinthians 15:56 NASB). The old way of doing things was only a temporary thing. The law showed us that we were completely powerless to live up to God’s standards. It was a tutor for us until Christ came and took our sinful nature to the cross. ‘Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus’. (Galatians 3:24-26 NASB).
For so long we were taught that we needed to do more and more for God. We were taught to try to keep the commandments and strive to be ‘good christians’. Fortunately the Spirit has been guiding us into the reality that we cannot keep the commands. We, in ourselves, are powerless to do so, and so are you. Christ came to fulfill the law and provide freedom to all of us. We are now free to live out of love for Him and free from trying to live by the law. When Jesus said ‘it is finished’, he was saying the old covenant, the old way of trying to live by the law, was finished. He accomplished what we could not do. When he was resurrected, a new way of life started.
The new covenant, living in love through grace became the way we can live as children of God. He has put His spirit within us to walk with us daily.
When we are in love with God, we do not need rules to tell us what to do. We do what is pleasing to Him because we love Him. Laws can’t make us love, but love will let us do what pleases Him.