You are no longer under the Law, you are free!
But, what about the Ten Commandments? Jesus mentions them; we are told we need to keep them. So what do you mean we are no longer under the Law? Now people can live however they want, sin like crazy, and it’s OK?
I’m glad you asked.
It is true that we, who are in Christ, are no longer under the Law…the Ten Commandments, or the bigger group of 613 laws called the Torah or the “613 Mitzvot.” For one, unless you are a Jew, you are a gentile and never were under the Law. But regardless, what was the purpose of the law, to make us holy? No, not even close. The real purpose of the law was to set up a standard by which to measure our own personal “HQ” or holiness quotient. What’s your HQ? It was never expected that any of us could actually keep that law, any of it, perfectly. And that is the standard isn’t it? 100%, nothing less. You break the law in on area and you have broken it all. Why? Because, if the goal is holiness, or perfection with regard to the law, then it must be kept in its entirety. You can’t be 98% pure. You are either 100% pure or you are not pure at all. So why even have the Law?
You see, people wanted to please God. They believed that if God is holy then we must do our best to be holy, too. Or at least give it our best shot and prove to God that we are serious about loving Him and staying away from sin or anything that even seemed like sin. The intention was not really that far off. It was a form of trying to please God. The problem is that God never wanted us to keep a law, He wanted us to love Him and enjoy Him and be His friend. He knows who we are and He knows our stupidity and our weaknesses. After all, He made us.
Maybe it would help if we step back a bit, Ok, a lot. Let’s go all the way to the very beginning. We were created pure. We, mankind, Adam and Eve, enjoyed fellowship with God in the garden. But we, or “they,” got tricked into doubting God’s love for them and they were conned into trying to take things into their own hands. Even though they were tricked, they still made a conscious choice to act. They chose to become independent of God and things went down hill from there. First they thought they could hide from God and then they thought they could fix everything on their own. Remember the fig leaves? That only made things worse. Instead of just coming right out and admitting what they had done they lied about it, blamed others and ultimately severely damaged their (our) intimacy with God. We have been wandering, lost and broken, separated from our loving Father, ever since.
Because God loves us so much, even though He desires intimacy with us, He has allowed us the freedom to live our lives however we wanted. Throughout all of time, we have always chosen the way of selfishness and self-centeredness. Regardless of all of God’s provision and love, we have simply chosen to ignore Him and His voice calling us back to intimacy with Him. Even when we did reach out to Him, we did it in the way that pleased us the most rather than asking Him to show us what pleased Him, the truth, the real path to restoration. Rather than admit our need and accept responsibility for our estrangement we continued to turn our backs on God. We created other god’s and pretended that they loved us and helped us. Rejecting the one and only true God caused our hearts to darken and we grew more and more distant with each new generation.
In His great love and patience, God continued to reveal Himself and reach out to these stubborn, blind and selfish things called people. God chose a group of people, the Jews, to act as emissaries or missionaries to the rest of the world. His hope was that as he lavished his love and protection on this group of people, they might see His greatness and His goodness and soften their hearts and humble themselves and enjoy sweet fellowship with almighty God once again, and tell others of His glory. Time and time again He revealed Himself to these people and time and again they turned their backs on Him. Ultimately their blindness and hardheartedness drove them into slavery. As a nation they were in bondage for four hundred years when they finally cried out to God. He heard their cry and sent them a deliverer named Moses, who would broker their freedom.
It was to these newly freed slaves that God drew near once again. He showed them his grace, mercy, love and power. But, again, they rejected His overtures of love. A real relationship with the Almighty was just too much for them to accept. God was big and scary to them. Just like their great grand parents of old, Adam and Eve, they did not really trust Him or believe that He was loving and good. So, rather than risk being killed by His holy presence, they begged Him to give them some other way to show their worthiness instead of an intimate, personal relationship with Him. They just wanted some chores to do. What can we do to make you happy (so you won’t zap us) and to show we love you (so you won’t zap us). They again doubted the goodness of God, just as they did in the garden. So He granted their request by giving them a set of laws that they must keep if they wanted to prove their love. Remember this was in response to their request; it was God’s desire to simply have a deep relationship with them. He had hoped they would want to come unto Him, and, in his great love, He would provide a means by which He would atone for their great disobedience, their sin. But they rejected His love and His provision and, instead, chose to use their own strength and their own will to “prove” they deserved God’s forgiveness, acceptance, and love. They would do this by keeping His rules. “Give us rules, we can do it. No matter how hard.” Well, they never were able to keep the laws, ever. No great surprise. But instead of acknowledging their weakness and turning to God for His love and strength, they expanded the laws and requirements…more religion. They would rather be under the burden of law and fail then accept His provision of love and grace. Yeah, go figure!
Obviously this silly plan led to more and more failure and through law and religion, greater insulation from truth. Ultimately, to bring hope and an end to all this religion and bondage, Christ came. Jesus did keep the whole law, perfectly, because He was perfectly without sin. He died to take away the sin and cancel the requirements of the Law. Now, we can all come to Him without all the religion and laws and rules and fear. We can run right into His loving embrace. Sin had entered the world, by one man, and had corrupted us all. Now by the blood of this one man, sin had been erased, past present and future for anyone who would simply turn to Him and ask. His blood takes away all of our sin, restores us to perfect wholeness and intimacy with God, in Christ. And now, we can enjoy God just like Adam and Eve did at the beginning. But it gets even better!
Now we have the Holy Spirit living in us and we have Jesus Christ seated at the right hand of the Father interceding for us and pleading our case day and night as our own personal advocate. Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. We will never be able to make the same mistake that Adam and Eve made. Under the blood, under the Gospel of Grace, we are innocent, not guilty, accepted and secure in our relationship with the Father, forever. That can never be broken, taken, or revoked. It is permanent and forever because Christ, our great high priest, lives forever. Rejoice! You are free. Now go play!
Wow! That is good news. But, what about my question…are we free to just sin like crazy? The truth is, yes. You are free. Live however you’d like. You are not under any obligation to do this or that. However, in Christ, as a Christian, you have been given a new heart. This new heart loves God, loves righteousness and loves holiness. Sin is not our nature and it is as foreign and uncomfortable as a bad rash. It is not something a true believer desires and if you do get it, it itches like crazy. You won’t want to be doing that again. It’s not your nature and it grieves you (the Holy Spirit in you). So, sure, do whatever you want…you are not under the Law. You are a New Creation and you are under Grace! You are free. Remember who you are and live according to your new nature. You are loved, accepted, significant, holy, pleasing and acceptable. You are blessed and you are a blessing to others. Now go play!