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The Need for Law
In the July 2009, issue of THINK magazine Lindell Mitchell writes an article, THE NEED FOR LAW. In this article he argues for the necessity of law in the Christian experience.
Are children of God under law?
For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! (Romans 6: 14, 15)
But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. (Galatians 5: 18)
If we accept the Scriptures at face value, we can only conclude that children of God are not under law. In neither the Romans nor the Galatians epistle does Paul resort to making a distinction between the civil, ceremonial and moral aspect of the law to argue that indeed the civil and ceremonial aspect has ended but the moral law is still obligatory. Paul seems to be saying that we are not under the principle of law; we are not justified by obedience to law.
But doesn’t Paul say that we are under law to Christ?
Bear one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6: 2)
To those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ that I might win those who are without the law. (1 Corinthians 9: 21)
Yes he does, but we must remember that there are two different kinds of principles or laws, one is a law of faith and the other is a law of works. The law of Christ is a law of faith whereas the Law of Moses is a law of works. These are radically different.
How did the Galatians pervert the gospel of Christ?
They were attempting to make the gospel of Christ into a gospel of works by bringing in circumcision as a work necessary to salvation.
Well if we are not under law (of works), how should the New Testament be viewed?
The purpose of the New Testament is two-fold.
(1) One must be born again. (John 3: 3
((2) One must be born of water and the Spirit
(3) Unless one eats his flesh and drinks His blood he has no life in him. (John 6: 53)
(4) Do the will of the Father to enter the kingdom of heaven
(5) Be converted and become like little children to enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18: 3)
(6) Confess the name of Jesus. (Matthew 10: 32, 33)
(7) (Believe that Jesus is He. (John 8: 24)
(8) Repent. (Luke 13: 3)
(9) Deny self. (Matthew 16: 24)
But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 1 Timothy 1: 5
And this is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he commanded us. (1 John 3: 23)
But just as you abound in every thing, in faith and utterance and in knowledge and in all earnestness and in the love we inspired in you, see that you abound in this gracious work also. (2 Corinthians 8: 7)
Remember our relationship to God is based on faith in God, but faith without love is nothing and faith without obedience is dead and ineffective. The just shall live by faith and faith is reckoned for righteousness. When faith is combined with love, faith will produce the obedience of faith.
Does Romans 3: 31 establish the necessity of law in the Christian experience?
Do we nullify the law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary we establish the Law. (Romans 3: 31)
No, that cannot be the meaning of this verse because Paul states that we are not under law. The question is, “Does faith nullify the righteousness of the Law?” Faith in God establishes the Law as holy, righteous and good. (Romans 6: 14; 7: 12)
Why, according to Brother Mitchell, does the Christian need law?
Brother Mitchell is correct, I believe, in his statement that God desires obedience from His children; obedience is a necessary quality. But Brother Mitchell is mistaken in thinking obedience requires law. The truth is that Paul received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith. Faith, love and obedience are necessarily intertwined in God’s scheme of redemption. Faith is reckoned for righteousness; love activates and motivates faith to produce the obedience of faith, wherein faith is perfected. (Galatians 5: 5; 1 Corinthians 13: 13: John 14: 15; James 2: 22: Romans 1: 5; 4: 3)
For what type of individual was the law designed?
The law was made for the rebellious, lawless and ungodly individual. (1 Timothy 1: 9)
Why then, did David delight in the Law?
The law is a valid expression of the righteousness of God. The Law is holy, righteous, spiritual and good. The Law is not the problem but rather the keeping the law is the problem because of the weakness of the flesh.
What is the curse of the law?
If justification is sought through the keeping of the Law, it must be kept in totality. If one keeps the whole law, but stumbles in one point, he is guilty of all. (Galatians 3: 10; James 2: 10)
How has the curse of the law been removed?
Christ was made a curse for us when He has hung on a tree. (Galatians 3: 13)
Did Jesus come to destroy the Law?
Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but fulfill. For truly I say unto you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law, until all be accomplished. (Matthew 5: 17, 18)
Does this mean that murder, or stealing or adultery is acceptable?
Of course not! The Law rests upon the righteousness of God; the righteousness of God does not rest upon the Law, even though the Law was a valid expression of His righteousness.
What was the purpose of the law?
Bring us to Christ, Faith
Why must we have Christ before God can save by faith?
Christ is the propitiation for sins. The sin problem must be dealt with before God can justly offer to save by faith.
Why was the law added to the promise made to the seed of Abraham?
Transgressions (Galatians 3: 19)
What law was transgressed?
The law of love was from the beginning. (1 John 3: 11)
How does God express His righteous will to us if not through law?
The just shall live by faith; Biblical faith encompasses both love and obedience
Is righteousness based on grace/faith or law/works?
By the grace of God faith is reckoned for righteousness. (Galatians 3: 18, 21; Philippians 3: 9; Hebrews 11: 7)
Is the inheritance through promise or law?
The inheritance is by promise not law. (Galatians 3: 18)
How does not being under law contribute to the unity of the body?
The Restoration Movement has probably split and divided as much as any other movement. Plain Talk holds that this is due to a large segment being legalistic. In seeking to be justified by law, the entire law must be kept totally. Every issue is a salvation issue because it must be kept perfectly. Consequently when one does not submit to the orthodoxy of others, he is considered a sinner and is removed from the flock unless he contaminates others.
Those who are under grace and not law have been freed from the necessity of total compliance. Differences can be attributed to differences in spiritual growth and maturity rather than as sin. (Ephesians 4: 3, 13; 1 Peter 3: 8; Romans 14)
How can we fulfill the law?
Christ fulfilled the Law by observing the law without sin and completing all the prophecies that were spoken about the messiah. We fulfill the spirit and intent of the law in one word, love. (Galatians 5: 14; Romans 13: 10)
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