Under The Law
It has been said that the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed, and that the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed. The meaning and purpose of the Law was to make sin known in order that we might know what is that good and acceptable Will of God revealed in the life of the Lamb without blemish.
Romans 12:2: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” That you may prove what is that good and acceptable perfect will of God! Think of the ‘proving’ it in a sense of ‘rising’ bread dough. In baking bread, the “proofing” of the dough is allowing it to rise as the leaven works upon the dough. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump! We begin with the first conviction of our sin, and “rise” to the perfection in Christ as we grow as a Christian.
Gal 5:7-9: “Ye were running well; who hindered you that ye should not obey the truth? This persuasion came not of him that calleth you. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” The meaning and the purpose of the Law was concealed to us until Christ fulfilled the Law; but it was to teach us what God wanted us to do and how to do it until we could see it perfected in the life of Christ. What are His statutes? What is His Way? He taught us concerning His Will from Genesis to Malachi and it is culminated in the New Testament and under Christ’s perfection. He is “our portion”. Therefore, now that we know, we serve God from the heart and not by the letter of the law. The purpose was to bring us to the Faith in Christ. r> The covenant under the Law given to Moses was a physical covenant. The sacrifices were physical. The Ten Commandments were physical. The commandments were given to deal with a physical life. It taught the things that God wanted us to know and to do in order to have a good relationship with Him and with our brethren as well. It taught how to stay healthy and happy, and how to deal with all mankind. In essence, it taught us what it meant to be obedient to His Will. It showed us what it would be to serve under conditions that brought sin into our lives. It taught us what sin was! It dealt with the physical because man was physical and that seemed to be all he understood. Neither can we achieve it by simply believing, because even the demons believe, and tremble at God’s Word. Also, it is not anything we can do that gives us the power to achieve salvation, lest we could say “I did it my way! (Ephesians 2: 8,9).It is the precious gift of God, given because He so loved His creation. It is the blood of Christ that continually covers the sins of all those who have been baptized into His death, and that only because of God’s mercy, and it is achieved through the channel of faith under Christ, our High Priest, the mediator of the new covenant by His blood!
When Christ died to sin on the cross, He took sin upon His shoulders, and nailed the old law to the cross because it was fulfilled, releasing God’s obligation in the need for man’s satisfying its fulfillment, and removing the burden of the guilt of sin as being a task of service, and making it a task of the heart!. (Matthew 11:30).
Paul gives the analogy of what it is like as being married, widowed, and then marrying again. Once a spouse dies, then a woman is released from that bond and can marry again. Therefore, we are said to have died to the old Law through the body of Christ, being buried with Him in baptism, and raised to serve Him who was raised from the dead in order to bear fruit to God. We do not bear fruit unto death, as under the Law, but we bear fruit unto life; the life that is in Christ Jesus! The Church is the “Bride of Christ”!
Romans 7:4-13: “Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter. What shall we say then? is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.”
The coupling of His yoke is easier and more gracious, bringing us under the balancing of His scales.
Since God is unchangeable, that did not nullify the principles which were taught in the Old Testament, but left us with the freedom to live as He taught in all its principles by faith, giving Him our love and the first fruits of our hearts, and yielding our lives to Him in obedience, according to His commandment to be buried with Him in Baptism and to rise to walk in a new life.
Colossians 2:8-15: “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision if your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.”
Would God have given the “Law” if He did not mean that His principles were to be understood? Would Jesus have had to fulfill the Law if its precepts were not important? We learn what God wants and what He expects of us, seeing how it is revealed in the New Testament as being written on the heart.
Hebrews 10:16: “This is the covenant that I will make with them After those days, saith the Lord: I will put my laws on their heart, And upon their mind also will I write them” For our understanding, the New Testament clearly shows the sins by listing the works of the flesh, and listing the fruit of the Spirit which reveals our faith, by the visible manifestation in the characteristics that imitate Christ.
Works of the flesh: Romans 1:18-30; Galatians 5:19: 21; Fruit of the Spirit: Galatians 5: 22-2: Ephesians 5:2-9 lists both.
So; we understand what principles the Old Testament taught. The two parts show us God’s grace in redeeming His people. The Old Testament shows the need for forgiveness. The New Testament shows why He forgives (John 3:16). The Old Testament shows God’s grace in what He has forgiven, and the New Testament shows God’s grace in how He has forgiven (Acts 2:38). The old part makes us understand what sin is and holds us accountable. The new part gives us the opportunity to be forgiven by God’s grace through Christ, removing the guilt of sin from us under Christ’s blood, if we follow those principles because we understand what “sin” is: and we do not “sin” that grace may abound! In this way, we establish the law (Romans 3:31). It is the proof of our love toward God. It is the proof of our faith and trust in His promises. We do not obey the gospel and follow Christ’s commandments because we fear what will happen to us if we don’t, but we take hold of the joy of salvation proffered to us because of God’s love, and because we want to return that love; and perfect love casts out fear.
I John 4:18: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 19 We love Him because He first loved us.”
And we have received the Spirit of Adoption:
Romans 8:15-19: “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; (note: as receiving another slavery that puts us to fear), but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness, (note: corroborates by evidence, and by inference that if our “spirit” bears witness, and shows evidence that it bears witness with the Spirit itself [the Word]) then we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
But thanks be to God, when we are washed in His blood, (i.e. entering into His Body/ the Kingdom/ the Covenant, through baptism-John 3:5,6) it continually cleanses us. We are covered by His blood! Yet, what we do and what we say must be according to the scriptures and His Word, or we are not His children. Christ was an obedient son, diligently doing God’s will even though He could have done anything He wanted; but because of Who He was, and what His mission was, He could only do the will of the Father. We cannot do what we please and be what we please because it “makes us feel good (sensually) or makes us feel good about ourselves”. But we hold fast to His precepts, understanding ourselves and knowing who we are, understanding what and why we believe, and then continually walking with Him. We seek the goodness of God and not the desires of men. We seek the praise of God and not the acceptance of men.
God brought about the plan for Christ to be our propitiation by offering Himself as the perfect Lamb sacrifice according to the physical requirements under the Law. Christ’s life was perfect and He therefore fulfilled “the Law”, becoming the Lamb without blemish. And the emphasis has always been upon “the sacrifice without blemish”! And when we obey and are baptized into His death, we become the righteousness of God in Christ.
Romans 1:17: “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith(Abraham) to faith (Christ): as it is written, The just shall live by faith. “
Romans 2:5: “But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.” Romans 3:5-8: “But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance?”
Romans 3:21-26: “But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
James 1:19-22: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”