For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending is own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might by fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.
When we set up rules to govern our Christian life, without knowing the reason behind those rules, we are ultimately setting ourselves up for failure. All too often, Christianity is defined by the rules we make: don’t do this, don’t do that, don’t drink, don’t have sex, don’t lie or cheat or steal. All of that sounds very Law-based. And therein lies the problem. Christ died to free us from the Law. And not only that, Paul tell us in Romans 7 that the Law can never move us to righteousness. Not only that, Paul explains, but our own sinful nature has corrupted the Law to the point that the Law creates in us the desire to sin. “I would not have known what it was to covet,” Paul said, “if the law had not said, ‘Do not covet.’ But sin, seizing the opportunity…produced in me every kind of covetous desire.”
So we see that basing our life on rules not only won’t help us to live a better life, but will actually find us struggling with sin all the more. What, then, is the solution? The solution is not to build your life on making yourself pure through avoiding all these things, but rather, base your life on grace. You already are pure through the blood of Jesus- now live like it. Jesus gave His life for you- and you should be willing to give your life to Him. Recognize the immeasurable love of God, and realize that that fundamental truth- that God loves us- is enough reason to live holy lives. “For Christ’s love compels us.” So set rules and boundaries- but not out of obligation or a desire for righteousness, but as a response to the amazing grace that God has shown you.
Thank you, God, for freeing me from the power of the Law and of sin and making me alive to the work of Your Holy Spirit in my life. Move me with Your love to do what is right in Your sight; that is all the reason I need. Remove from me all pretensions of self-righteousness, for it is that self-righteousness that pulls me away from You. I want to serve you, Lord, because I love You. I want my life to be a living ‘thank you.’
“Those who neglect theology may live a shallow, insipid form of Christianity that, in the end, neither affects life nor endures the test of time.” ~George Guthrie
This post is written by Brendan Beale, author of Cross Connections