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, for the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. (Rom. 8:1-2)
Fact One: There is an Old Covenant law and there is a New Covenant law which supersedes the Old Covenant law (Hebrews 8:7-13). The Law of the Spirit is administered in regenerated humankind by the working of the Holy Spirit, not through a human priestly system as the written law was.
Fact Two: The old covenant law, the written law, came through the mediation of Moses, written by the Holy Spirit Finger of God on stone tablets, and given to the nation of Israel gathered at Mt. Sinai. The stone tablets were called “tablets of testimony” or “witness” because they bore witness to the written law (Exodus 31:18)
Fact Three: The new covenant law, the law of the Spirit, was delivered by the Holy Spirit Breath of God, by wind and fire, through the mediation of Jesus Christ, to the church gathered in Jerusalem. The church, called “living stones”, became the living tablets of witness to the new covenant (Acts 5:32, 1 Peter 2:5).
Fact Four: New covenant law is life IN Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:1-2). This is the law that is being written on the hearts and minds of Christ-followers by the Spirit of God. (Heb. 10:16)
Fact Five: The written Old Covenant law was given by God to the nation of Israel. Therefore unless we are of Jewish heritage, the Old Covenant law was never even given to us. And if we are of Jewish heritage and have come to Christ, then Christ has become the end of the law for us also (Romans 10:4).
Fact Six: The Old Covenant law was given by God to reveal to man the difference between His holiness and man’s sin. Without the law man could not know what sin is or that sin leads to death (Romans 7:7)
Fact Seven: The Old Covenant law was fulfilled by Christ for us (Matt. 5:17, Heb. 7:16, Heb. 7:28, Heb. 9:13, 14)
Fact Eight: The New Covenant law is kept by Christ in us. It is that which Paul articulated when he wrote “for me to live is Christ.” (Heb. 3:14, Rom. 8:3,4)
Fact Nine: The written law was necessary to reveal ‘sin in the flesh’, i.e. the sin nature of man inherited from the first Adam (Romans 7:5,6)
Fact Ten: Through the finished work of the Cross, ‘sin in the flesh’ has been condemned, through Christ the last Adam, for those who live by the Spirit of God (1 Cor. 15:45, Romans 8:3). Sin in the flesh cannot reign in those who live by the Spirit of God.
These scriptural facts raise some interesting questions:
*Why do so many Christians measure their spiritual lives on how well they keep the Ten Commandments?
*Why do so many Christians bind themselves to Old Covenant laws such as tithing and sabbath keeping?
*Why do so many Christians subject themselves to false doctrines such as the need to be ‘covered’ by someone supposedly more spiritual or higher up on some imaginary hierarchical priestly scale?
©Cheryl McGrath, Bread for the Bride, 2012
Related Article: Shedding the Older Brother
7 thoughts on “Law and Spirit”
I love this breakdown of law vs. Spirit. Such vital distinctions for the body of Christ. Thanks for the bread 😉
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Further thoughts… The problem is not the law… It’s me… I need every part of His word, but it boils down to Jesus Christ and Him crucified on my behalf, like you said! The law is not a source of spiritual pride for me, it’s guidance… Good guidance at that… I love the word of God… I trust the word of God… I have never been harmed following the whole counsel…
Hi again Cathy, “The problem is not the law….it’s me…” Absolutely. Paul said the same thing in Romans 7:14-16 “For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree wiht the law that it is good.” Elsewhere He says the law is like a tutor, a school teacher, to guide us until we come into the full knowledge of Christ in us. If we try to keep the law we come under legalism and we are not living by the grace of Christ through the Spirit of God. It is good to respect the Old Covenant, but we cannot live by it without failing. That’s why God instituted a New Covenant for us. And the New Covenant brought by Jesus Christ will not violate the Old Covenant law, but has added Christ’s grace to us, which was not possible under the Old Covenant law. What I am saying is not a licence to sin, it is pointing out that we now keep the law by the ongoing sanctification and counsel of the Holy Spirit in us, not by adhering to a strict set of rules. I hope this helps the conversation.
I feel the 10 commandments are very helpful to me. The Holy Spirit has pointed out behaviors that were wrong for me… Like I use to pass on gossip until I saw that that is character assassination of another… The Lord sees that as murder… I fantasizes about a man I worked with who was not my husband, I Holy Spirit told me it was “spiritual adultery”… Similar lessons about taking things like pens… And coveting stuff… I have the highest respect for the law and try to keep… Thank you Lord for your gracious Holy Spirit and covering!
Hi Cathy, Thanks so much for your response. Your statement “the Holy Spirit has pointed out behaviors that were wrong for me…” proves the point of my article exactly. I also have the highest respect for the law. The Bible tells us the law is good and holy, but that we have been delivered from the law, which includes the ten commandments (Romans 7:6). You say you try to keep the law, as many do, but the truth is no-one ever kept the whole law except Jesus Christ. If we choose to try and live by the law, the whole law must be kept, or we have failed (Gal. 5:3) It’s the Holy Spirit who is showing you wrong behaviours and enabling you to change them, this is the Law of the Spirit, life in Christ Jesus. You no longer need to follow the letter of Old Covenant law as the New Covenant of life in Christ Jesus has replaced the old covenant.