Dead to the Law

Dead to the Law

“…and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead…”(Revelation 1:5)

It is completely unnecessary to try and argue whether or not the Law has been abolished.
This is a popular issue that is worthy of debate, but it is not the real issue.

The question is not about what change has the Law undergone, but what change have WE undergone?

The structure of the Law was designed as a mediation that encompassed every aspect of a person’s outward life, because there was no inward mediation to subdue the inward life. Under the Law, a person’s inward nature had to be governed and subdued by something external. In Christ, the inward man is governed and subdued internally, not externally.
If the sacrifice of Jesus only forgave our sins and removed the penalties of the Law, then we would still require an external mediation to govern our inward life.

The gospel is not simply about the penalties being paid, and Christ dying in our place, its about us dying with Him.
The Law hasn’t changed, but we have changed, therefore the Law has no hold on us. The inward life of sin has died, and the need for external governing has been altered.

Scripture is not lacking in this regard so let’s look at the what the Bible says about how the gospel changes us:

“…How shall WE WHO DIED TO SIN live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many as were baptized into Christ
Jesus WERE BAPTIZED INTO HIS DEATH?…

…Therefore WE WERE BURIED WITH HIM through baptism INTO DEATH, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we should walk in the NEWNESS OF LIFE…

…For if WE HAVE BEEN UNITED TOGETHER IN THE LIKENESS OF HIS DEATH, certainly we also shall be IN THE LIKENESS OF HIS RESURRECTION…

…Knowing this that OUR OLD MAN WAS CRUCIFIED WITH HIM that the body of sin might be done away with that we should no longer be slaves to sin. For HE WHO HAS DIED has been FREED from sin. (Romans 6:2-8)

“For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But IF THE HUSBAND DIES, SHE IS RELEASED FROM THE LAW of her husband…

…Therefore, my brethren, YOU ALSO HAVE BECOME DEAD TO THE LAW through the body of Christ, THAT YOU MAY BE MARRIED TO ANOTHER-TO HIM who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God…

…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.”
(Romans 7:2-6)

“For I THROUGH THE LAW, DIED TO THE LAW that I might live unto God. I HAVE BEEN CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST; it is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:19-20)

“And those who are Christ’s have CRUCIFIED THE FLESH with its passions and desires.” (Galatians 5:24)

“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…?” (Colossians 2:20)

“For YOU DIED, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
(Colossians 3:3)

“For the law of the Spirit has MADE ME FREE from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:2)

“For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to DEATH the deeds of the body you will live.” (Romans 8:13)

These verses address the practical and effective working of the Cross. Paul’s rejection of the Law is not based on what motive a person may have in keeping it, but because that type of life denies what has been made available through the Cross. We have died to the life that required the restraints of the Law. If we need the restraints of the Law it is because we only view the aspect of forgiveness through the Cross, not the crucifixion of ourselves.

The crucifixion of our old man with Him covers both the legal and spiritual aspects of our life.

Legally speaking; we are freed from the Law because the claims of justice have been settled concerning the transgression of Adam and the offense of our sinful nature.
Spiritually speaking; we are freed from the Law because we have been raised in the likeness of His resurrection and the crucifixion of our old man allows for a new nature and disposition that does not require the external governance. This is why the Bible says:

“But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.” (Gal. 5:18)

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”(Rom. 8:1)

It becomes duplicitous to claim salvation by faith, but avoid this practical aspect of the gospel that deals with the legal and spiritual.
Forgiveness of sins is easy because God did that through Christ 2000 years ago. The crucifixion of the flesh is what the Holy Spirit does, right here, right now. It is the practical working of the Cross, but who wants to die? Who wants to relinquish their consideration for themselves as Christ did? Who wants to give their will over to the will of God? Who wants to cast their nets on the other side of the boat when they have fished all night like Peter?

I won’t try to assume the motives of those who believe we are under the Law, but if our old man is crucified by faith, what do the constraints of the Law offer in regards to this redemptive and spiritual work? Does keeping the Law as a covenant crucify the flesh?
The Law restrains the flesh, that’s what it’s supposed to do, but this does not equal the crucifixion of it. A person may very well have a pure and non-legalistic motive for keeping the Law, but Paul claims that the Law cannot crucify the flesh, and that we bear fruit unto God through this redeeming process of death. Let’s look at the same verses which talk about this death and how it is related to living for God:

“For WHAT THE LAW COULD NOT DO in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh…(Rom. 8:3)

“…you also have become dead to the law…that you may be married to another…that WE SHOULD BEAR FRUIT TO GOD.” (Rom.7:4)

“But now we have been delivered from the law…THAT WE SHOULD SERVE IN THE NEWNESS OF THE SPIRIT…” (Rom.7:6)

“For SIN SHALL NOT HAVE DOMINION over you for you are not under law but under grace.” (Rom.6:14)

“For I through the law died to the law THAT I MIGHT LIVE TO GOD.” (Gal. 2:19)

PAY CLOSE ATTENTION–

I am beginning to think that there is a movement to dismiss the idea that Jesus paid for the transgression of Adam. Coincidentally, as I began writing this article I have noticed an increasing amount of comments from the HRM that narrow the gospel down to only include the forgiveness of sins.

To believe we are under the Law as a covenant, a person has to believe that nothing has taken place significant enough to alter our need and dependence on the Law. If the gospel is reduced to nothing more than the forgiveness of sins or “clean slate”, then it would make perfect sense to still be dependent on the Law.

If Jesus did not pay for the transgression and nature of Adam,
-It is impossible for us to be born again.
-It is impossible to have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
-It is impossible for the temple veil to have been torn in two.
-It would be impossible to be new creatures in Christ Jesus.
-It would be impossible to walk in the Spirit.

In turn, all this would make us DEPENDENT on the Law; nevermind the obligation to it. This is precisely why there seems to be a dismissal of the idea of Jesus paying for the transgression of Adam revealed by the purpose of the Law. It is the only way the HRM can obligate someone to the Law as a covenant.

The HRM will fully agree that our obedience to God is not to be done on the basis of gaining salvation, or because of the legal considerations of the Law, but the only way for us to to operate from any standpoint other than the legal aspects of the Law would be due to the fact that a change has taken place. So if the HRM will agree that a change has occurred whereby we operate with different motives and considerations, then I ask:

What is this change?

It is described for us in the scriptures listed above. There is no getting around this. We do not operate simply on the basis that the penalties have been paid. We operate on the basis that our nature and disposition has changed. The whole entire curse of Adam has been nullified in the Cross. The curse of sin still resides in the body, and also in the world, but we are given the chance to walk apart from those things. It’s called the New Man (Eph. 4:24, Col. 3:10)
Our old one has been crucified.

-We are crucified with Christ.
-We are born again of the Spirit, not the flesh.
-We have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
-We are new creatures in Christ Jesus.
-The temple veil has been torn in two.

And once again:

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”

8 thoughts on “Dead to the Law

  1. B,

    Where does repentance come into play? I read your article and didn’t remember reading that concept once. I skimmed it again and still didn’t see it. Perhaps I missed it.

    There is only one thing that mankind can do to attain salvation. It is not obeying any or all of God’s Law. Once you have sinned (broken God’s Law – 1 Jn 3:4), a writ of death is issued. [Eze 18:20a The soul that sinneth, it shall die.] No amount of obeying God’s Law will get you out from under that death sentence.

    So what is it? Faith? No, at least not at the first. One can believe (have faith) that Jesus is the Christ and reject that knowledge.

    So what is the one thing that man can and must do to obtain that “get out of jail [death] free” card, i.e. Jesus, that is offered to mankind?

    It is repent.

    Eze 18:21-22 But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. (22) All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live.

    But what is it that we must repent of? It says it in the above. Sin is the transgression of God’s Law. (1 Jn 3:4) Which Law? Part of it? All of it? Ezekiel says above to “turn from ALL” your sins. He then says to “keep all my (God’s) statutes, and do that which is lawful and right.”

    Once we know that we have broken God’s Law and it is now going to break us, we have a choice to make. We can continue living our sinful lifestyle and die OR we can turn away from our lawless attitudes and behaviors. It is God’s Law that is the standard of righteousness.

    So now we recognize that we have sinned. We hang our head in shame and say I’m sorry, please forgive me, I need Jesus. Then we can enter into the watery grave of baptism and die to our old man and sins. We come up out of that water a new man with no sin, because those sins have been remitted. We can now be given God’s holy spirit.

    Once we have done all of this, we are being judged on our faithfulness.
    Heb 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

    Once we die in baptism, we enter into our eternal judgment. Our works from that point on are but filthy rags and they do not save us. Salvation is by grace. Grace is applied by The Father by His mercy. Once we have attained that grace, we must live by faith, because the just (-ified) can only attain salvation by our faith in the promised seed. The promise of the Spirit cannot be earned. It cannot be bought. One cannot inherit God’s promises by being circumcised in the flesh and obey all of God’s Law. The promise of the Spirit is given to all those who accept the promised Seed, Christ. But we must first repent.

    Obeying God’s Law is our acknowledgment to God that we love Him. This shows Him our faith. (James 2)

    Once we have done all of this, i.e. repent, baptized, receive God’s holy spirit, we now have Jesus Christ coming into our flesh and living His life over in us.

    Can anyone really say that God’s Law is no longer valid? If Jesus, the sinless One, is going to live inside us, can we live an unclean and unholy existence? If we commit adultery, is that Jesus doing that? Or is that our flesh man rearing his dead head? How about murder? Can we kill someone and say that is Jesus in us? How about bowing to idols? Having another God before the true God? What about Sabbath breaking?

    Are any of the attributes the way Jesus lived? Is He going to live in us and do these things? Or are we going to have it our own way and sin with willfully?

    Heb 10:26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

    I don’t know much about the Hebrew Roots folks. I’m not one and will never be one. What I am is a blood bought servant of the Living God and it my intention to be in the 1st Resurrection.

    B, love your website. Can’t say I will agree with you on everything, but it is pretty neat. Think I might have to get one of these for myself.

    Proclaimer

    1. Proclaimer-
      These blogs are free so you can set one up by simply by search-typing “WordPress get a free blog”. First of all, I agree with you on repentance. Each article is exclusive to itself and pertains to one single topic, but maybe in the future I will add an article that focuses primarily on the issue of repentance. When it comes to what we do for God after salvation, I would refer you to my article”Keep My Commandments”. What we are to do, is done by abiding in Christ. In doing this Jesus says we will bear fruit, because without Him we can do nothing. We shouldn’t look at what we do as something that is apart from our relationship to God in Christ. Our obedience will flow from being in the vine which is Christ. John 15 covers this issue. My objective is to get people to abide in Him, so that He can tell them what to do and what is imperative for their walk with God.

  2. You know, I never picked up on their dismissing of payment for Adamic sin. I always thought they were just similar to those beguiled in Galatians to finish in the flesh what was begun in the spirit. God is obviously granting you discernment on these finer point. Keep the articles coming. 🙂

    1. Hal-
      Yeah, I plan on addressing that issue more in an article entitled Adam and Eve. Ive got a few more articles in the works but I still can’t get the RSS feed up and going, but if you are signed up for email notifications through the comment system, I will let you know that way. I just completed the article “The Fruits of the Kingdom” should you be interested. Due to time constraints and full time work, its difficult to post anything more than once a week but I hope to post at that rate. The next one should come out May 24. Sorry for the inefficiency of my blog.

  3. Regarding how the Mosaic covenant was described as “eternal”, there is another way to view this beyond it being a “conditional” eternal. It is possible for the old and new to exist simultaneously in the sense that the Law is still available if someone wants to follow it. The problem is that no one has ever been able to obey to God’s standard, which is 100%, so eventually it will fail through disobedience. Interestingly enough, this dichotomy is a parallel to how the work of the Spirit was described in John: He will convict the world of sin, but will lead His people into all truth.

    A common construct that attempts to mix the old and new is that the grace provided by the Lord Jesus makes up or covers however we fall short of perfect obedience, but that obedience to the Law is still required. The problem with this is that such a person needs less-and-less of His mercy as time goes by.

    The other problem is that instead of reducing or restraining sin, trying to obey actually increases sin, as Paul taught in Romans (obviously not a popular topic for the HRM).

    1. I agree. Concerning your last paragraph, this is the real problem with picking and choosing only a few commandments because it does not take into consideration what it means to keep the whole law. If the HRM would try and keep the whole law without fail they would realize what the purpose of the law is which is to reveal that man can’t keep it and he won’t keep it, and that is why we need Christ. That is why John says that grace came through Jesus Christ. Jesus makes the considerations for humanity that the Law could not do. The Law is unbending and unyielding despite someone’s deficiencies but Christ is different. Keeping a few commandments really makes us feel good about ourselves but trying to keep it all increases all kinds of sins. It makes people start twisting it, and worrying about other people and their sins, and personal performance and at the end of it all, it becomes so twisted that there is no concept of God and no need for Christ. The HRM thinks they’re safe by rejecting Judaism’s version of the Law, but if they would try and keep the whole Law they would soon become no different than Judaism.

      It has taken longer than I thought it would but I am working another article that really elaborates and breaks down some of the things in this “Dead to the Law” article. It really addresses the issue of whether we have only been forgiven yet still under the Law, or whether something totally knew has happened because of Christ. It really confronts how the HRM tries to dismiss what has happened because of Christ. I apologize for the delay in my articles but I’ve been pretty busy with my job and time is limited but I have about 5 more articles that Im trying to finish also.

  4. It is quite interesting that you included the temple veil in your list; I have seen an HRM proponent vehemently deny the eyewitness accounts in the gospels that the veil blocking the Holy of Holies was torn in half when Jesus died, this is completely unacceptable to them. This person did some handwaving (obviously repeated from someone else) and claimed that it was instead a stone wall covering a gate that collapsed in the earthquake, according to “Josephus”.

    This symptom is a natural result of their fundamental axiom that there is no “new covenant”, only a renewal of the Mosaic covenant. It leads them to deny all five of the items in your list, and ultimately the validity of the Greek New Testament.

    While propagating falsehoods such as this, they also claim they are obeying (or “observing”) the ten commandments.

    1. Hey man, good to hear from you! It’s been a while and coincidentally I was looking at WND last night. All the covenant promises in the OT pointed to a “dwelling” and abiding of God with His people and/or an inward context such as Ezekiel 36, Ezekiel 37, Jeremiah 31, and Zechariah 2:10-11. The tearing of the temple veil fulfilled these and while there may be an outward aspect yet to be fulfilled when Christ returns physically, the fact is that He already came once and dwelt among His people but the “Hebrew perspective” doesn’t seem to appreciate Christ then, and Christ now-through the Holy Spirit as a fulfilment to OT prophesies. But, the veil will probably be put up again, and God will tear it down again as well.

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